Standing six foot five and weighing around 230 pounds, Jack Reacher is a man people notice. He is a man of few words and the total number of his worldly possessions can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Besides his clothes, he owns a folding toothbrush. Appearing a drifter, people, especially the bad guys, tend to underestimate him, which is definitely a mistake with Reacher. He has one rule. If people leave him alone, he leaves them alone. If they don’t, he doesn’t. In this article, we’ll show you how to read the Jack Reacher books in order.
Jack Reacher Reading Order
- The Enemy (2004)
- Night School (2016)
- The Affair (2011)
- Killing Floor (1997)
- Die Trying (1998)
- Tripwire (1999)
- Running Blind / The Visitor (2000)
- Echo Burning (2001)
- Without Fail (2002)
- Persuader (2003)
- One Shot (2005)
- The Hard Way (2006)
- Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
- Nothing to Lose (2008)
- Gone Tomorrow (2009)
- 61 Hours (2010)
- Worth Dying For (2010)
- A Wanted Man (2012)
- Never Go Back (2013)
- Personal (2014)
- Make Me (2015)
- The Midnight Line (2017)
- Past Tense (2018)
- Blue Moon (2019)
- The Sentinel (2020)
- Better Off Dead (2021)
Jack Reacher Book Order by Publication Date
Lee Child published the first Jack Reacher book, Killing Floor, in 1997, but there were three novels that were written later but have plots that take place before Killing Floor. Below are the books in order by publication date.
|Running Blind / The Visitor||2000||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|The Hard Way||2006||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|Bad Luck and Trouble||2007||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|Nothing to Lose||2008||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|Worth Dying For||2010||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|A Wanted Man||2012||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|Never Go Back||2013||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|The Midnight Line||2017||Buy||Buy||Buy|
Jack Reacher Short Stories in Order
In addition to the 26 novels, Jack Reacher appears in a number of short stories and novellas.
|2014||Not a Drill||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|2014||Good and Valuable Consideration: Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|2017||The Christmas Scorpion||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|2019||Cleaning the Gold||Buy||Buy||Buy|
|2019||The Fourth Man||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
The Fourth Man was published as bonus material in Australia’s Past Tense hardcovers, and is now a digital single in the UK.
Jack Reacher Short Story Collections
This complete collection includes a thrilling new novella and eleven previously published stories including “Too Much Time”.
Who Is Jack Reacher?
Reacher’s background is dragged out of the stories bit by bit. His father was a Marine officer, his mother was French, a Resistance fighter during World War II. Both of his parents were capable of killing. Reacher was closest to his older brother, Joe, whom he idolized.
Like his father, Reacher went into the military. Rather than the marines, he chose the army, where he became an MP. He attained the rank of major and was head of the crack 110th Special Investigations Unit. Why he left the army is answered in the 16th novel in the series, The Affair. His 110th team calls on him now and again after he leaves.
With his toothbrush in his pocket, Jack Reacher gets on a bus, not particularly caring what its destination is. He gets off in a town because he likes the name or the scenery or he sees something that needs to be fixed. Reacher is a fixer of situations although he does tend to break some things and some people in the process, however. If he sees injustice, people being abused and wronged, Jack Reacher just cannot stand by and let the bad guys win. Whether the villains are thieves, assassins, or bad cops, he will champion the victims (along with the beautiful woman who has been trying to defend them). At some point in the story, the thugs end up scattered unconscious around a parking lot after six or seven of them try to take Jack on. Lee Child is a master of the action scene.
But Reacher isn’t just a big brute. He’s incredibly smart and something of a human calculator, solving difficult computations in his head. Like Sherlock Holmes, Reacher observes everything around him. And he notices minor discrepancies that sometimes lead him to conclusions no one else has recognized. His apparent lack of emotion and his computational skills are reminiscent of an android, although he does have his foibles. His intake of coffee would drown the ordinary person.
Reacher’s creator is Lee Child, whose real name is James Dover Grant CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). He received that honor in 2019. Reacher probably would not be dazzled, but Child was. It’s been a long hard road for Child. Born in England, he got a job with a British broadcasting company as a technician in 1977. He worked his way up to television director and was doing well when the company had to downsize in the 90s. Child decided that this was the time to write his book. His wife and teenage daughter got jobs to help support him. They were on the verge of having to sell their home when he landed a contract for the book, Killing Floor.
When someone asked him why he, being British, writes about an American hero in America, Child explained that Britain is small. America is big. Lots more can happen. Child has moved from Britain to New York City, which he prefers never to leave.
There are 26 books in the series at this point with two ways to approach them. You can read them in chronological order as they were printed. Or you can read the story of Reacher from kid to adult, starting with the novel, Second Son. However you tackle the series, you’ll find yourself entranced by Child’s writing. While the violence is graphic, the author choreographs it into the story so well that you don’t mind. The suspense is always gripping as you watch Reacher come to conclusions no one else has achieved.
You would think Jack would be a rather flat character, but he isn’t. With the narrator we sometimes get into his head and discover that he is a complex, interesting person. Lee Child created a hero that millions of people have related at. And we never want him to change.
In addition to the books, two movies have been created around Jack Reacher’s character.
Jack Reacher (2012)
The first Jack Reacher film was released on December 21, 2012 and featured Tom Cruise as the title character. The movie is based on the 2005 novel One Shot.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
The sequel to Jack Reacher, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, was released on October 20, 2015 and is based on the 2013 novel Never Go Back.