Looking for Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books in order? Never fear – we’re here to help!
A series of books can be a daunting prospect. Do you have to begin at the beginning? Which book is the first one? Which book is the best one? Are there sub-plots or sub-series to tap into first? The questions are many and the answers are not always straightforward, but we’re here to help bring some clarity to this confusion.
There are 24 books in Lee Child’s highly successful Jack Reacher series, with another heading our way this autumn – plus one short story collection. In the first thriller we’re introduced to Jack Reacher, a dangerous and unattainable lone ranger who used to be in the military. The series follows his exploits all across America and occasionally into other countries.
There are four books that form a sub-series starting off with 61 Hours then continuing in Worth Dying For, A Wanted Man and finally Never Go Back. They follow Reacher as he’s trying to get to Virginia to return to his old base and a woman’s voice.
The first book in Lee Child’s series, Killing Floor, is so good it seems a shame not to start there, but this is a series you can dip into at different stages because there’s always one constant – our hero himself. Here are the Jack Reacher books in order.
Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books in order:
Jack Reacher jumps off a bus and walks fourteen miles down a country road into Margrave, Georgia. An arbitrary decision he’s about to regret.
Reacher is the only stranger in town on the day they have had their first homicide in thirty years.The cops arrest Reacher and the police chief turns eyewitness to place him at the scene. As nasty secrets leak out, and the body count mounts, one thing is for sure: they picked the wrong guy to take the fall.
2. Die Trying
Jack Reacher, alone, strolling nowhere. A Chicago street in bright sunshine. A young woman, struggling on crutches. He offers her a steadying arm. And turns to see a handgun aimed at his stomach.
Chained in a dark van racing across America, Reacher doesn’t know why they’ve been kidnapped. The woman claims to be FBI. She’s certainly tough enough. But at their remote destination, will raw courage be enough to overcome the hopeless odds?
For Jack Reacher being invisible has become a habit. He spends his days digging swimming pools by hand and his nights as the bouncer in the local strip club in the Florida Keys. He doesn’t want to be found.
But someone has sent a private detective to seek him out. Then Reacher finds the guy beaten to death with his fingertips sliced off. It’s time to head north and work out who is trying to find him and why.
4. The Visitor
Sergeant Amy Callan and Lieutenant Caroline Cooke have a lot in common. Both were army high-flyers. Both were acquainted with Jack Reacher. Both were forced to resign from the service. Now they’re both dead.
Found in their own homes, naked, in a bath full of paint. Apparent victims of an army man. A loner, a smart guy with a score to settle, a ruthless vigilante. A man just like Jack Reacher.
Title changed to Running Blind in the US.
5. Echo Burning
Jack Reacher, adrift in the hellish heat of a Texas summer. Looking for a lift through the vast empty landscape. A woman stops, and offers a ride. She is young, rich and beautiful. But her husband’s in jail. When he comes out, he’s going to kill her.
Her family’s hostile, she can’t trust the cops, and the lawyers won’t help. She is entangled in a web of lies and prejudice, hatred and murder.
Jack Reacher never could resist a lady in distress.
6. Without Fail
Jack Reacher walks alone. No job, no ID, no last known address. But he never turns down a plea for help.
Now a woman tracks him down. A woman serving at the very heart of US power. A woman who needs Reacher’s assistance in her new job – protecting the Vice-President of the United States, who someone wants dead.
Jack Reacher lives for the moment. Without a home. Without commitment. But he has a burning desire to right wrongs – and rewrite his own agonizing past.
When Reacher witnesses a brutal kidnap attempt, he takes the law into his own hands. But a cop dies. Has Reacher lost his sense of right and wrong?
8. The Enemy
New Year’s Day, 1990. A soldier is found dead in a sleazy motel bed. Jack Reacher is the officer on duty. The soldier turns out to be a two-star general. The situation is bad enough, then Reacher finds the general’s wife.
This stomach-churning thriller turns back the clock to a younger Reacher, in dogtags. A Reacher who still believes in the service. A Reacher who imposes army discipline. Even if only in his own pragmatic way…
9. One Shot
This is the novel the first Jack Reacher movie was based on so from a film perspective a valid place to start.
Six shots. Five dead. A heartland city thrown into terror. But within hours the cops have it solved. A slam-dunk case. Apart from one thing. The accused gunman refuses to talk except for a single phrase: Get Jack Reacher for me.
Reacher lives off the grid. He’s not looking for trouble. But sometimes trouble looks for him. What could connect the noble Reacher to this psychopathic killer?
10. The Hard Way
Jack Reacher is alone, the way he likes it. He watches a man cross a New York street and drive away in a Mercedes. The car contains $1 million of ransom money. Reacher’s job is to make sure it all turns out right – money paid, family safely returned.
But Reacher is in the middle of a nasty little war where nothing is simple. What started on a busy New York street explodes three thousand miles away, in the sleepy English countryside.
Reacher’s going to have to do this one the hard way.
You do not mess with Jack Reacher. He is as close to untraceable as a person can get. A loner comfortable in his anonymity and solitude. So when a member of his old Army unit finds a way to contact him, he knows this has to be serious.
You do not mess with the Special Investigators. In the past the elite team always watched each other’s backs. Now one of them has shown up dead in the California desert and six more are missing.
Reacher’s old buddies are in big trouble, and he can’t let that go.
12. Nothing To Lose
Between two small towns in Colorado, nothing but twelve miles of empty road. All Jack Reacher wants is a cup of coffee. What he gets are four redneck deputies, a vagrancy charge and a trip back to the line.
But Reacher is a big man, and he’s in shape. No job, no address, no baggage. Nothing, except bloody-minded curiosity. What are the secrets the locals seem so determined to hide?
13. Gone Tomorrow
Suicide bombers are easy to spot. They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs. There are twelve things to look for. No one who has worked in law enforcement will ever forget them.
New York City. The subway, two o’clock in the morning. Jack Reacher studies his fellow passengers. Four are OK. The fifth isn’t.
The train brakes for Grand Central Station. Will Reacher intervene, and save lives? Or is he wrong? Will his intervention cost lives – including his own?
14. 61 Hours
Icy winter in South Dakota. A bus skids and crashes in a gathering storm. On the back seat: Jack Reacher, hitching a ride to nowhere. A life without baggage has many advantages. And disadvantages too, like facing the arctic cold without a coat.
A small town is threatened by sinister forces. One brave woman is standing up for justice. If she’s going to live to testify, she’ll need help from a man like Reacher. Because there’s a killer coming for her.
Has Reacher finally met his match? He doesn’t want to put the world to rights. He just doesn’t like people who put it to wrongs.
15. Worth Dying For
There’s deadly trouble in the wilds of Nebraska – and Reacher walks right into it. He falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it’s the unsolved case of a missing eight-year-old girl that Reacher can’t let go.
Reacher – bruised and battered – should have just kept on going. But for Reacher, that was impossible.
What, in this fearful rural county, would be worth dying for?
16. The Affair
Six months before the events in Killing Floor, Major Jack Reacher of the US Military Police goes undercover in Mississippi, to investigate a murder. A woman has had her throat cut behind a bar in Mississippi. Just down the road is a big army base. Is the murderer a local guy – or is he a soldier?
The county sheriff is a former US Marine – and a stunningly beautiful woman. Her investigation is going nowhere. Is the Pentagon stonewalling her? Or doesn’t she really want to find the killer?
If Reacher does what the army wants, will he be able to live with himself? And if he doesn’t, will the army be able to live with him?
17. A Wanted Man
When you’re as big and rough as Jack Reacher – and you have a badly set, freshly busted nose – it isn’t easy to hitch a ride. At last, he’s picked up by three strangers – two men and a woman.
Within minutes it becomes clear they’re all lying about everything – and there’s a police roadblock ahead. There has been an incident, and the cops are looking for the bad guys…
Will they get through because the three are innocent? Or because the three are now four? Is Reacher just a decoy?
18. Never Go Back
Reacher has finally made it to Virginia. But the woman he’s meeting isn’t where she’s supposed to be and before Reacher knows it, there’s a lot that’s not quite the way it’s supposed to be. This is the book the second Jack Reacher film is based on.
Jack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he’s a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down. Because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president.
Someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president. Only one man could have done it. And Reacher is the one man who can find him.
20. Make Me
A remote railroad stop on the prairie with the curious name of Mother’s Rest seems perfect for an aimless one-day stopover. He expects to find a lonely pioneer tombstone in a sea of nearly-ripe wheat. Instead, there is a woman waiting for a missing colleague, a cryptic note about two hundred deaths, and a small town full of silent, watchful people.
Reacher’s one-day stopover turns into an open-ended quest leading to the most hidden reaches of the internet, and right into the nightmare heart of darkness.
21. Night School
It’s just a voice plucked from the air: ‘The American wants a hundred million dollars’. For what? Who from? It’s 1996, and the Soviets are long gone. But now there’s a new enemy. In an apartment in Hamburg, a group of smartly-dressed young Saudis are planning something big.
Jack Reacher is fresh off a secret mission. The Army pats him on the back and sends him to a school with only three students: Reacher, an FBI agent, and a CIA analyst. Their assignment? To find that American. And what he’s selling. And to whom. There is serious shit going on, signs of a world gone mad.
Reacher sees a West Point class ring in a pawn shop window. It’s tiny. It’s a woman cadet’s graduation present to herself. Why would she give it up? Reacher was a West Pointer too, and he knows what she went through to get it.
All he wants is to find the woman. He’ll have to go through bikers, cops, crooks, and low-life muscle. If she’s ok, he’ll walk away. If she’s not… he’ll stop at nothing. This is a raw and elemental quest for simple justice.
23. Past Tense
A young couple trying to get to New York City are stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. Before long they’re trapped in an ominous game of life and death.
Meanwhile, Jack Reacher sets out on an epic road trip across America. He doesn’t get far. Deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been – the town where his father was born. But when he arrives he is told no one named Reacher ever lived there. Now he wonders: who’s lying?
As the tension ratchets up and these two stories begin to entwine, the stakes have never been higher for Reacher.
24. Blue Moon
Jack Reacher is a former military cop, trained to notice things. He’s on a Greyhound bus, watching an elderly man sleeping in his seat, with a fat envelope of cash hanging out of his pocket. Another passenger is watching too… obviously hoping to get rich quick.
When the mugger finally makes his move, Reacher rides to the rescue. The old man is grateful, yet he turns down Reacher’s offer to help him home. He’s vulnerable, scared, and clearly in big, big trouble.
Elsewhere in the city, two ruthless rival criminal gangs, one Albanian, the other Ukrainian, are competing for control. Do they have a life-and-death hold on the old guy? Will Reacher sit back and let bad things happen? Or can he twist the situation to everyone’s benefit?
25. The Sentinel
Jack Reacher gets off a bus in Nashville, Tennessee, in a quest for food, lodging and some good country music. But when he encounters a band of musicians who have been cheated by an unscrupulous bar owner, he steps in to help…
All Lee Child’s shorter fiction featuring Jack Reacher in one volume. Read together, these twelve stories shed new light on Reacher’s past, illuminating how he grew up and developed into the wandering avenger who has captured the imagination of millions around the world. Read an extract here.
There you have it – the Jack Reacher books in order! How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…