13 top page turners, as picked by Lee Child

13 top page turners, as picked by Lee Child

Lee Child, master thriller writer and author of the bestselling Jack Reacher series, shares the crime, thriller and mystery reads he’s been recommending recently. How many have you read?

lee child favourite booksThe Child by Fiona Barton

‘Tense, tantalising and ultimately very satisfying… definitely one of the year’s must-reads’

When a story in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore. For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her. For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered. And for the third, journalist Kate Waters, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

lee child favourite booksYou Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

‘A daring concept executed to perfection’

A young man is accused of murder. All the evidence points to him – and the police are convinced it’s an open and shut case. But at the trial, just before the closing speeches, the defendant sacks his lawyer and presents his own version of events, picking apart each piece of damning evidence against him. As the truth becomes harder to see, only one thing matters: did he do it?

lee child lee child favourite booksThe President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

‘The dream team delivers big time… Clinton’s insider secrets and Patterson’s storytelling genius make this the political thriller of the decade.’

The President is missing. The world is in shock. But the reason he’s missing is much worse than anyone can imagine. With details only a President could know, and the kind of suspense only James Patterson can deliver.

lee child favourite booksNeed to Know by Karen Cleveland


You get to work. Make a coffee. Turn on your computer. Your task: to break into a Russian criminal’s laptop and find proof that he’s concealing five deep-cover agents– seemingly normal people living in plain sight. You’re in. Five faces stare back at you. One of them is your husband.

lee child favourite booksThe Chalk Man by C J Tudor

‘Wonderfully creepy – like a cold blade on the back of your neck’

Looking back, it all started on the day of the fair and the terrible accident. When twelve-year-old Eddie first met the Chalk Man. It was the Chalk Man who gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages between his group of friends. And it was fun, to start with, until the figures led them to the body of a young girl. That was thirty years ago and Ed thought the past was behind him. Then he receives a letter containing just two things: a piece of chalk, and a drawing of a stick figure. As history begins to repeat itself, Ed realises the game was never over.

lee child favourite booksStar of the North by D B John

‘Extraordinary… smart, sophisticated, suspenseful – and important. If you try one new thing this year, make it Star of the North.’

A young American woman disappears without trace from a South Korean island. The CIA recruits her twin sister to uncover the truth. Now, she must go undercover in the world’s most deadly state. Only by infiltrating the dark heart of the terrifying regime will she be able to save her sister… and herself.

lee child favourite booksThe House Swap by Rebecca Fleet

‘A fantastic thriller – dead-on domestic noir, full of tension and surprises. I loved it.’

When Caroline and Francis receive an offer to house swap, they jump at the chance for a week away from home. But once inside the house, Caroline begins to uncover signs of her own life. It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know… someone she’s desperate to leave in her past. But that person is now in her home – and they want to make sure she’ll never forget…

lee child favourite booksPanic Room by Robert Goddard

‘Is this his best yet?… Full of sinister menace and propulsive pace with twisty plotting’

High on a Cornish cliff sits a vast uninhabited mansion. Uninhabited except for Blake, a young woman of dubious background, secretive and alone, currently acting as housesitter. The house has a panic room. Cunningly concealed, steel lined, impregnable – and apparently closed from within. Even Blake doesn’t know it’s there. She’s too busy being on the run from life, from a story she thinks she’s escaped.

lee child favourite booksThe Deep Blue Goodbye by John D Macdonald

‘MacDonald had a huge influence on me… Reacher is like a fully detached version of Travis McGee’

Travis McGee isn’t particularly strapped for cash, but how can anyone say no to Cathy, a sweet girl who’s been tortured repeatedly by her manipulative ex-boyfriend Junior Allen? What Travis isn’t anticipating is just how many women Junior has torn apart and left in his wake. As Travis hunts for the ruthless man who steals women’s sensibilities and livelihoods, he can’t guess how violent his quest is soon to become.

lee child favourite booksGirl On Fire by Tony Parsons

‘Spectacular! Tense and human, fast and authentic’

When terrorists use a drone to bring down a plane on one of London’s busiest shopping centres, it ignites a chain of events that will draw in the innocent and guilty alike. DC Max Wolfe finds himself caught in the crossfire in a city that seems increasingly dangerous and hostile. But does the danger come from the murderous criminals that Max is tracking down? Or the people he’s trying to protect?

lee child favourite booksLast to Die by Tess Gerritsen

‘Suspense doesn’t get much smarter than this’

Three children, strangers to each other, are brought together by seemingly motiveless and extreme acts of violence. Orphaned and alone, they are taken in as students at Evensong, a boarding school for emotionally traumatized children in the remote Maine wilderness.

lee child favourite booksOrphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

‘Outstanding in every way’

It was always the first question he asked. They called him when they had nowhere else to turn. As a boy he was taken from an orphanage, then raised and trained. As part of a top-secret programme, he was sent out to do the things his government denied any knowledge of. Then he broke with the programme, using everything he’d learned to disappear.

lee child favourite booksA Treachery of Spies by Manda Scott

‘This is a rich vein for fiction, and Scott does it more than justice, with this beautifully imagined, beautifully written, smart, sophisticated – but fiercely suspenseful – thriller.’

An elderly woman of striking beauty is found murdered in Orleans, France. Her identity has been cleverly erased but the method of her death is very specific: she has been killed in the manner of traitors to the Resistance in World War Two. Tracking down her murderer leads police inspector Inès Picaut back to 1940s France where the men and women of the Resistance were engaged in a desperate fight for survival against the Nazi invaders.

There you have it – Lee Child’s top crime reads. How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…

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  1. Lorraine Wright says

    I have read 9 on his list, enjoyed all except one, so a good list. A few better ones out there though.

  2. Juliann Adams says

    I read 3 off the list. I also enjoyed Miracle Creek by Angie Kim, The A List by JA Jance, Run Away by Harlan Coben, Saving Meghan by DJ Palmer , Judgment by Joseph Finder.

  3. Mark Love says

    I always enjoyed MacDonald’s Travis McGee series, so much so that I named my first son Travis. I can definitely see the correlation between McGee and Reacher.