A few thoughts on No Middle Name, by Lee Child
I’m very likely to read the next Jack Reacher book after No Middle Name, just as I’ve read everything of Lee Child’s work over the years. Let it be said, however, that if Child decides to give up on the series right now, No Middle Name would be the perfect coda.
No Middle Name is a collection of the short stories and novellas featuring Reacher, that have shown up in multiple publications over the years. I’m pretty sure this is not an exhaustive collection - there’s at least one more story (from Face-Off, an anthology featuring team-ups of thriller characters), that isn’t in this book. Notwithstanding that, the present volume gives you a really good overview of Reacher over the years. There are stories from his youth (High Heat and Second Son), from his Army days and from his wandering years thereafter. Most fans would have read some of these stories before, but it’s good fun to read them all together. Think of it as a montage of moments.
The best work here in my opinion is still High Heat, which has all the typical elements of a Reacher novel - violence, sex, leaps of deduction, and “unofficial” truth behind the official story. But other short works, such as (the subway+ CIA one) showcase the character of Reacher as well. An equivalent example I could think of is The Living Daylights, the James Bond short story that encapsulated Bond like nothing else, even if the movie by the same name used nothing but that name.
No Middle Name is an excellent read for the not-quite-beginner - someone who’s read a novel or two featuring Reacher, but is not dedicated enough to read all 20+ books. It’s also great for the loyal follower such as myself ( :) ).