Authors Like Lee Child (13 Thriller Recommendations)

Lee Child is a British author best known for his Jack Reacher novels. The thriller series was adapted to film in 2012, with Hollywood star Tom Cruise taking the learning role.

Authors Like Lee Child (13 Thriller Recommendations)

Child’s real name is James Dover Grant CBE. He was appointed the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2019 during the Queen’s Birthday Honors Lists for his continuous services to literature.

Child has written 27 novels, all part of the Jack Reacher series. His newest is No Plan B released in 2022. But his talents don’t stop there!

Child has written countless short stories and has a single non-fiction book called The Hero, which discusses the intrigue of heroes in myths and legends.

Because James Grant studied law at university, his knowledge of the legal system and criminal minds makes his novels believable and layered in facts.

If you enjoyed Lee Child’s thriller collection, then you’ll love the exciting plots by David Baldacci, John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, and Karin Slaughter. Each weaves thought-provoking tales of suspense and action. Read here to learn which author to start next.

Books By Lee Child

All of Lee Child’s novels are connected to the Jack Reacher series. The first is Killing Floor, where we meet the military-trained police officer who has been wrongly arrested for murder.

This innocent man is Jack Reacher, and through thrilling action and heart-pumping suspense, we watch as Reacher uncovers the mystery of the murder. The second in the series is Die Trying, which follows the same premise.

In this novel, a dentist is forced into the back of a trunk after 3 men shake him down. Around the same time, Reacher and a mysterious woman are captured too. Reacher and his new ally get away, leaving the dentist gagged and alone.

The FBI get involved as they hunt down the kidnappers and the missing dentist, but the blame gets thrown onto Reacher.

In all of Lee Child’s novels, you will witness a tense storyline of wrongful blame, betrayal of trust, and unlikely allyship. Despite using similar techniques, his stories never feel repetitive.

Lee Child is a master of recreating the storylines we love to read. But once you’ve read all of his novels, where do you go next? Start looking at the writers below.

Authors Like Lee Child

David Baldacci

Absolute Power

Balacci is a mystery writer who creates thrilling tales about crime. His first-ever book was Absolute Power, published in 1995. The story starts with instant drama.

A cat burglar aims to steal from one of the wealthiest families in the world, but the job doesn’t end as he predicted. Through a one-way mirror, the thief watches a Secret Service Agent murder the billionaire’s wife.

He runs for his life, knowing he cannot survive a shooting. Our main character, Jack Graham, becomes interested in this case when he realizes the cat burger is none other than his ex’s father.

This story contains suspense, wrongful blame, murder, and romance. The only thing missing is a long and winding series.

Baldacci’s series are often 4 books long, but he has 11 to choose from. Most are based around crime, but some are aimed at children or the dystopian young adult genre.


  • 11 Series
  • Detailed Stories
  • Unpredictable Twists


  • Short Series

Themes: Crime, Thriller, Wrongful Blame, Romance, Mystery

John Sandford

Rules of Prey (The Prey Series Book 1)

John Sandford’s longest series surrounds police detective Lucas Davenport. It starts with Rules of Prey, and the most recent book is Righteous Prey, published in 2022. The series contains 33 books so far and is showing no signs of stopping.

As the stories progress, a new group of wrongdoers becomes Lucas Davenport’s main enemy. He has to keep his mind vigilant, as he goes up against vigilantes.

These self-proclaimed “moral killers” take down the worst of society from murderers to rapists. They are smart and careful, and Davenport has to fight a moral battle to take them down.

As a detective, Davenport takes on new murder cases all the time, bringing the reader into the horrors of Minneapolis – along familiar streets and realistic criminals.

You could pick any of his stories from this series and read a fulfilling plot, but I suggest starting from the beginning. That way you can truly understand the character development and recurring themes.


  • Long Series
  • New Mysteries In Every Novel
  • Moral Dilemmas


  • No Long Or Ongoing Storylines

Themes: Crime, Thriller, Detective, Adult

Michael Connelly

The Black Echo (A Harry Bosch Novel, 1)

Connelly also creates long and detailed series, with his collection of Harry Bosch novels. They start with The Black Echo, and the most recent is number 36 in the series – Desert Star.

The series begins with LAPD detective Harry Bosch and a new case. Although he has uncovered murders before, this one is different as the vitamin is an old friend. They had both battled in Vietnam.

Bosch had become docile in his work before this case, and now a new rage fuels him. Can Bosch contain his fury, or will the fight for justice turn into vengeance?

In these stories, we watch as Bosch picks apart plotlines and unveils dangerous connections all while battling the mental struggles of a battle-scarred veteran.


  • Long Series
  • Mental Health StoryLine
  • War


  • Not Really A Detective Story

Themes: Mystery, Suspense, Vietnam War, Crime, Thriller

Robert Crais

The Monkey's Raincoat: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel

Robert Crais’ stories take a different turn. They are still detective thrillers, but instead of working through crime alleyways or dirty dealings, the main character Elvis Cole is a hired detective in Hollywood.

The first novel in the series is The Monkey’s Raincoat. The story follows Cole on his mission to find the missing husband and son of Ellen Lang. On his search, he ends up on the raunchy side of Hollywood and meets a trashy movie producer.

Confusion ensues when Ellen disappears too. Nothing is what it seems as the sleaze of Hollywood turns murderous. Through most of the Elvis Cole books, our main character teams up with Joe Pike, an ex-marine and weapon shop owner.

Some books focus more on Pike, others on Cole. This unusual dynamic allows us to view their work through different lenses. The first Joe Pike-only book is The First Rule, the 13th in the Elvis Cole series.

Pike heads out on his own to clear his friend’s name after a wrongful judgment leaves his friend dead. Although these stories follow the detective genre, they are by no means police books. These private investigators work on their own terms.


  • Two Character Perspectives
  • Sizeable Series
  • Private Detectives


  • Confusing Series List

Themes: Mystery, Multiple Perspectives, Lawlessness, Family Drama

Karin Slaughter

Triptych: A Novel (Will Trent Book 1)

Slaughter’s longest series is the Will Trent collection. It starts with Triptych. In this novel, women are dying in the city of Atlanta. A killer is on the loose and his signature calling card is a single slice of mutilation.

He kills women of all types, rich, poor, White, and Hispanic. To understand who this killer is, detective Michael Ormewood has to cross these boundaries too – understanding the cultural differences in all citizens in Atlanta.

The Will Trent series is so gripping due to the realism around people. Their confusion, misjudgment, and proud mistakes lead to further chaos.


  • Great Display of Social Struggles
  • Invoking Story Lines
  • Great Characters


  • Predictable In Places

Themes: Social Disruption, Thriller, Crime, Detective

Final Thoughts

Lee Child is loved for his long stories with the same characters. Despite the unending tales, none of them feel the same as the last, and his worlds keep growing with every story.

The 5 authors above create the same structures – each with relatable main characters who are either constantly thrown into the deep end or work to remove the evils of our world.

These contemporary stories are all based in real places, committing crimes that could genuinely occur. It’s the people and their unique methods which make each story intriguing.

Choose Karin Slaughter if you prefer the social aspects of a detective thriller. Choose Robert Caris if you like more freedom in your main characters, and the chance to change views within the same story.

Michael Connelly connects war to his detective missions, and battles with mental health struggles, while John Sandford takes on moral dilemmas. Finally, David Baldacci is the most similar to Lee Child, but his series are short.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Did Lee Child Quiet Writing?

Child will continue writing, but he will no longer continue his Jack Reacher novels. Over 60 years old, Child cannot keep up with the year-on-year demand for more stories.

Why Is Jack Reacher Called Reacher?

Reacher is Jack’s last name. Josephine Reacher referred to her son as “Reacher” since he was a boy, so considers his last name more accurate than “Jack”.

Why Did Reacher Leave The Army?

He left after getting too deep in military corruption. When a general died, Reacher no longer found the job enchanting and strived for something new.

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Noah Burton