The Definitive Guide To Reading The Court Gentry Gray Man Books In Order

Within the world of the modern thriller novel, it is true that Mark Greaney’s Gray Man series really stands ahead of the pack – known for its gripping action, devilish deceptions, and a great roster of characters.

The Gray Man Series: The Definitive Reading Order

At present, there are 12 books within the Gray Man series, with the 12th book receiving publication in 2023.

The first novel has also been the inspiration for a Netflix movie of the same name – starring Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana De Armas in leading roles.

What Is The Gray Man Series About?

Gray Man

Following the exploits of freelance assassin and former CIA operative Court Gentry, The Gray Man sees the character traversing the globe, combating assassins and operatives from opposing organizations and shady corporations, and trying to avoid the repercussions of his own troubled past.

What Is The Definitive Reading Order?

For those seeking to read the books in order, there is only really one way to go about it.

Luckily, we have compiled a list of the Gray Man series in order of publication to allow you to engage with them in the best way possible.

The Gray Man (2009)

The Gray Man (Netflix Movie Tie-In)

The first novel in the series, The Gray Man tells the story of Court Gentry – a living legend within the world of espionage and covert operations, and a man feared by both his contemporaries and enemies alike.

However, when powerful people with money decide they want him dead, Gentry discovers that there are more dangerous threats in the world than men with guns.


  • Suspenseful and tense
  • Action-packed
  • Good characterization
  • Good thriller
  • Well researched


  • Predictable at times

Themes: Betrayal, death, corruption, adventure, moral ambiguity

On Target (2010)

On Target (A Gray Man Novel) [Mass Market Paperback]

The second book in the series, On Target sees Court Gentry haunted by an old comrade he believed to be dead.

As more revelations come to light, it soon becomes apparent that it is Court who is the one in danger.

Working too closely with the CIA for his liking, Court is forced to take on a new job – a high-risk kidnapping that could change the course of his life.


  • Suspenseful and tense
  • Action-packed and exciting
  • Good character development
  • Thrilling story


  • Somewhat formulaic

Themes: Deceit, lies, betrayal, violence, mystery

Ballistic (2011)

Ballistic (Gray Man)

The third novel in the series, Ballistic sees Gentry betrayed once more by his former allies – forced to take a suicidal mission for the very CIA unit that betrayed him years ago.

After a time seeking refuge in the remote wilderness of the Amazon rainforest, Court soon learns that the past can always catch up with you when a Russian crime lord comes looking for blood, and an old friend is murdered by power-hungry Mexican drug cartels.


  • Tense and thrilling
  • Suspenseful throughout
  • Action-packed and exciting
  • Gripping narrative
  • Likable characters


  • Too much going on

Themes: The past, regret, betrayal, friendship, loss, violence, lies

Dead Eye (2013)

Dead Eye (Gray Man)

The fourth book in the series, Dead Eye sees Court Gentry exposed and without anywhere left to run when his CIA replacement turned bloodthirsty rogue agent comes looking to settle a score.

Isolated and out of options, Court is forced to break his own training, code, and instincts – coming out of the shadows and tackling the deadly agent head-on.


  • Suspenseful
  • Action-packed and exciting
  • Edge of your seat reading
  • Good narrative
  • Tense throughout


  • Not as deep as previous installments

Themes: Violence, danger, corruption, deceit

Back Blast (2016)

Back Blast (Gray Man)

Following his expulsion from the CIA, and the series of assassination attempts made against him, Court Gentry seeks to track down the former CIA handlers who betrayed him – looking for revenge, answers, and freedom from the blood debt he has hanging over his head.

Revisiting his last mission, Operation: Back Blast, Court finds himself stumbling onto puzzling and dangerous secrets within the American intelligence community – secrets that could cost him his life if he’s not careful.


  • Mysterious
  • Tense
  • Suspenseful
  • Action-packed
  • Great character development


  • Heavy at times

Themes: Betrayal, deceit, corruption, murder, violence

Gunmetal Gray (2017)

Gunmetal Gray (Gray Man)

The sixth novel in the Gray Man series, Gunmetal Gray sees Court Gentry back within the halls of the CIA following five years on the run.

However, when covert Chinese agents try to take him down in Hong Kong, and a series of discoveries pertaining to stolen US intelligence come to light, Gentry finds himself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse between the Chinese government, covert hitmen, and old colleagues caught in the crossfire.


  • Truly exciting storyline
  • Tense and suspenseful
  • Action-packed
  • Great character development


  • A slow burn

Themes: Betrayal, espionage, deceit, violence, politics

Agent In Place (2018)

Agent in Place (Gray Man)

The seventh book in the series, Agent In Place sees Court Gentry tasked with kidnapping the mistress of a Syrian dictator, whose evidence against the corrupt regime could bring the whole house of cards toppling down for good.

However, after discovering she has a young son – the air to the Syrian regime – Court must get them both out of Syria alive if they are to avoid a continuation of the cruel and brutal regime.


  • Good change of pace
  • Emotive and complex
  • Action-packed
  • Tense
  • Thrilling


  • Storyline less realistic

Themes: Power, violence, freedom, war, peace, family

Mission Critical (2019)

Mission Critical (Gray Man)

The eighth book in the series, Mission Critical, sees Court Gentry and a plane of CIA handlers set upon by a mysterious criminal with a hood over his head – one whose connection to a shady and deadly joint operation between the CIA and MI6 seems destined to cause international devastation.


  • Interesting concept
  • A different change of pace
  • Strong character progression
  • Plenty of action


  • Limited, stripped-back story

Themes: Violence, betrayal, secrecy, lies, deceit

One Minute Out (2020)

One Minute Out (Gray Man)

The ninth book in the series, One Minute Out sees Court Gentry uncover a human trafficking operation while on a mission in Croatia.

Leading from the Balkans all the way to the upper echelons of Hollywood, Gentry is set to bring the whole thing crashing down.

However, his handlers have other ideas, when it turns out that the ringleader in the operation has vital information that could give them leads on proposed terrorist attacks on US soil.


  • Suspenseful
  • Mysterious storyline
  • Intrigue and action
  • Great cast of characters


  • A little too busy

Themes: Corruption, crime, betrayal, abuse, violence, exploitation

Relentless (2021)

Relentless (Gray Man)

The tenth book in the series, Relentless sees Court Gentry tasked with locating missing intelligence agents after the third one reappears in Venezuela.

Teaming with Berlin-based intelligence agent Zoya Zakharova, the duo find themselves in possession of a dangerous piece of intel that could make both of them enemies of a lot of people.

Realizing that their time might just be numbered, the pair must race to find answers before the clock runs out.


  • Exciting and fast-paced
  • Tense at times
  • Good chemistry between protagonists
  • Sense of danger and threat


  • Basic storyline

Themes: Romance, war, peace, corruption, mystery

Sierra Six (2022)

Sierra Six (Gray Man)

In the eleventh book in the series, Sierra Six sees Court Gentry reunited with his old CIA training team, when a previously thought dead terrorist returns seemingly intent on shining a light on the corrupt past of the CIA.

Finding himself chasing ghosts and wrestling with memories from the past, Court races against the clock to stop the dangerous figure, and sever the hold that the past has on his life.


  • Good ensemble piece
  • Good character interactions
  • Solid thriller storyline
  • Plenty of tension


  • Somewhat reminiscent of other books in the series

Themes: Brotherhood, loyalty, betrayal, violence, corruption, regret

Burner (2023)

Burner (Gray Man Book 12)

In the twelfth book in the series, Burner sees Court Gentry and his lover Zoya on different sides of a deadly race to track down Alex Velesky – an employee of a Swiss bank who has stolen dangerous, damning information that could cause international damage.

With Russian mobsters, killers, and even the CIA on his tail, the pair must get to him first and put an end to what could be one hell of a mess.


  • Well written dialogue
  • Good character interactions
  • Tension throughout
  • Action-packed and exciting


  • Formulaic

Themes: Love, betrayal, conspiracies, violence

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about The Gray Man series, and the definitive order by which to read them.

It’s true that The Gray Man series has become immensely popular – even being the subject of a Netflix film starring Ryan Gosling.

However, for those wanting to read the books from the beginning, there is only really one true way to approach them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Series Suitable For Younger Readers?

No, the Gray Man series of books are designed for adults and contain adult themes like violence, suspense, and romance.

How Many Gray Man Books Are There?

At present, there are 12 books within Mark Greaney’s Gray Man series.

YouTube video
Anna Davis