Monday, May 22, 2017

One For the Reacher Creatures

No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories – Lee Child (Dell)

One of the oldest of pieces of advice for writers is “write what you know.” While I am a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, I can’t say I am all that familiar with his Reacher short stories. So as I cracked open Child’s new, collection of Reacher short stories, No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories, I was pleasantly surprised to run through one that features a soon-to-be seventeen year old Reacher, not surprising on the road, traveling to meet his older brother at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Reacher is passing through New York City when he confronts a man who slapped a women in Central Park. The guy just happens to be a “made man” and promises to bring a world of hurt to Reacher. Much like the man he will later become in the series, teenage Reacher only sweats, because the Big Apple is in the midst of a heat wave. The story offers great insight into Child’s development of the Reacher character.

Clearly someone as complex and fully realized as Jack Reacher didn’t just happen, or evolve along the way; Child put serious thought into the background and the story arc for this character. Child clearly writes about what he knows. While fans hoping for a new full length Reacher outing, may be disappointed with this collection, I think it’s perfect that these stories have been collected under one cover.

The set does include one new piece, Too Much Time, which is Reacher on very familiar ground and putting his keen observational skills to good use, not mention his power of persuasion to convince a small town Maine cop to see things his way. Great story with a killer twist that will have long time Reacher creatures thinking they should have saw that coming.

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