Lee Child Books In Order: Complete Guide To All 27 Jack Reacher Books

Lee Child is responsible for the thrilling series of Jack Reacher novels, one of the most popular crime novel sagas of the last 25 years.

Telling the adventures of Jack Reacher, a former military police officer with a cunning mind and a ruthless set of skills, each book sees Reacher solving a new mystery somewhere across the United States.

Lee Child Books In Order Complete Guide To All 27 Jack Reacher Books

The author himself worked in television before he became the famous novelist he is today, working on various crime TV shows that doubtlessly influenced his writing.

Though he is English, he moved to the United States after the publication of the first Jack Reacher novel in 1997, allowing him to create an even more authentic portrayal of America and its people in subsequent novels.

The Jack Reacher series has become enormously popular, with 27 books and counting.

It’s been adapted into two exciting movies starring Tom Cruise, and even an acclaimed TV series.

With so many books in the series, it can be difficult finding the best order to read them all.

Thankfully, our handy guide to all 27 Lee Child books in order will help, allowing you to experience the Jack Reacher series in the best way!

About Jack Reacher

Jack Reacher is, essentially, a problem solver.

Once a major for the military police of the US Army, Reacher left the position at 36 and has spent the time since wandering the United States, picking up odd jobs and investigating suspicious situations.

With his military skills and sharp instincts, Reacher is an effective vigilante. He’s especially distinctive for his 1.96m height and 250-pound bulkiness.

As you can imagine, his size makes him an imposing threat and gives him the upper hand in combat.

Reacher also lives a very minimalist life. He wears cheap clothes and wanders the United States from place to place, never settling down.

Jack Reacher Books In Order

Killing Floor (1997)

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher)

This is the debut novel in the Jack Reacher series, where readers are explosively introduced to this force of nature’s character.

The plot begins with Jack Reacher arriving in Margave, Georgia, a fictional town.

He gets off the bus here because he recalls that his brother mentioned a specific blue musician dying here.

However, no sooner has he arrived, Reacher is arrested in a diner on a murder charge.

Why has he been framed? And who has framed him?

Alone in a strange place, Jack Reacher is forced to put all his skills to the test and clear his name, proving his innocence to a town of people who show no kindness.


  • This is the first Jack Reacher novel!


  • The plot has some inconsistencies

Die Trying (1998)

Die Trying (Jack Reacher)

In the next novel, we find Jack Reacher kindly helping a woman with her crutches in Chicago.

However, he and the woman, Holly Johnson, are soon held at gunpoint and kidnapped.

Thrown into a mysterious van, and then driven thousands of miles across America, the pair of strangers are forced together in an increasingly mysterious, increasingly dangerous situation.

In the end, the pair find themselves in an apparently remote location, without a clue as to the reason for their kidnapping.

Who took them? Why? Worse still, the kidnappers have demanded an impossible ransom.

Trapped far from home, Jack Reacher must fight to save not only his life but the life of the woman he’s been thrown together with.


  • The book has exhilarating pacing


  • There are some factually incorrect details in the story

Tripwire (1999)

Tripwire (Jack Reacher)

Jack Reacher is living a peaceful, anonymous life in Key West, completing odd jobs by day and night.

However, the anonymity is not to last, because Reacher soon finds the body of an investigator from New York – an investigator who had been sent to find him.

Reacher finds that the man was hired by the daughter of his mentor from the Army.

Sadly, his mentor has died, but the daughter wants Reacher’s help investigating the last project that her father had undertaken.

Working with the daughter, Reacher is thrust back into a chaotic life, hunted by shadowy characters as they fight to find the truth.


  • It’s filled with suspense


  • It has slow spots

Running Blind (2000)

Running Blind (Jack Reacher)

Also published as “The Visitor”, the fourth Jack Reacher novel sees a nasty wave of murders happening across the United States.

In each instance, it’s women who have been killed, but the bodies are always left without wounds, traces, or evidence.

However, there is one thing that connects all the women: they all knew Jack Reacher.

Naturally, this positions Jack Reacher as the prime suspect, and he’s also arrested because he fits the criminal profile that the FBI has prepared for the case.

However, another victim is taken while Reacher is under surveillance, proving his innocence.

Though he is released, he must now help with the investigation and must dig deep to find the killer before they strike again.


  • Packed with twists


  • Some readers figured out the killer very early

Echo Burning (2001)

Echo Burning (Jack Reacher)

The next novel in Lee Child’s supremely successful series begins with Jack Reacher hitching rides across the enormous Texas desert.

He has nowhere to go, and plenty of time to get there.

However, when a woman named Carmen Greer picks him up for a ride, it opens up a whole mystery for Reacher – whether he wants it or not.

Carmer is in an abusive marriage, and she wants Reacher’s help in dealing with it. Reacher is reluctant but soon gives in.

However, things get worse at the woman’s remote ranch home when Carmen is arrested for her husband’s murder.

What was really going on? Did she deliberately pick up Reacher? Reacher finds himself in a world of questions, and he must fight to find their answers.


  • Plenty of interesting characters


  • Some descriptions add little to the story

Without Fail (2002)

Without Fail (Jack Reacher)

The events of the next book take on a distinctly higher level of stakes: the life of the United States Vice President.

Upon arriving in New Jersey, Reacher is intercepted by a female Secret Service agent.

She has a peculiar request, asking Reacher how he would go about killing the Vice President if he were an assassin.

The reason for her question is so that she can find the flaws in her own protection system, showcasing all the assassination methods that the Secret Service have missed, and allowing them to tighten the VP’s security.

Why now? Well, the VP has been receiving threatening letters, suggesting that the politician’s life is in very real danger anyway.

Reacher, with the help of an old colleague, must now hurry to find the potential killers.


  • Well-developed characters


  • Some suspension of disbelief needed

Persuader (2003)

Persuader (Jack Reacher)

When Jack Reacher sees a ghost from his past, a man who was responsible for the killing of two of the vigilante’s colleagues a decade ago, he wants to get even.

Working with the DEA, Reacher finds himself thrust into a massive criminal organization in an effort to get his revenge. However, he’s also doing it to rescue an at-risk agent.

Finding himself in consistently high-stakes situations, involving a powerful enterprise and a villainous crime lord, Reacher must use all his wits and skills to save the day.


  • Great detail


  • Some disturbing elements

The Enemy (2004)

The Enemy (Jack Reacher)

Though the eighth novel in the Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, this is actually the first in terms of chronology, taking place all the way back on New Year’s Day of 1990.

On this fateful day, an Army general is found dead in a North Carolina motel.

The cause of death is suspected to be a heart attack, brought about by the “special company” he was enjoying.

To contain news of the situation from slipping out and making the Army look bad, Jack Reacher is called in.

However, Reacher soon finds that all is not as it seems. For one thing, the general’s important briefcase of crucial documents has disappeared.

Secondly, another body soon turns up – one linked to the general. Reacher must dive deep into a rapidly-emerging conspiracy, fighting against time to find the truth.


  • It’s fascinating to see Reacher’s past


  • Some overlong scene descriptions

One Shot (2005)

One Shot (Jack Reacher, No. 9)

In the ninth novel, which was later adapted into the first of the Tom Cruise Jack Reacher movies, five murders have been committed by a professional sniper.

All of the attacks have taken place in public, and all the victims appear randomly chosen.

The police quickly build a case and arrest James Barr on suspicion of the killings.

However, Barr has only one thing to say: “Get Jack Reacher”.

Reacher has already arrived in the city, having seen the attack on the news. He finds out about the suspect’s request, but believes with all his heart that Barr is guilty.

However, as he digs deeper and finds that there’s more to this case than he first thought, Reacher finds himself in the middle of a threatening, dangerous mystery.


  • Sharp narration


  • Inconsistencies in the plot

The Hard Way (2006)

The Hard Way (Jack Reacher)

Reacher is enjoying some downtime in New York City when he sees a man get into a parked Mercedes and drive away.

However, he soon finds out that the parked car contained one million dollars, and that this massive sum was a random payment.

Who paid for it? Edward Lane, the director of an illegal private military company.

Why did he pay for it? His wife and child have been kidnapped.

Naturally, Lane hires Reacher to help find his family.

However, as Reacher follows the trail of the kidnappers, he finds that there is a lot more to this case than previously thought.

For one, his employer has a particularly shady past, and may not be telling Reacher everything. In too deep, Reacher must find out what’s really going on, and get out alive to tell the tale.


  • Non-stop action


  • Some plot holes

Bad Luck And Trouble (2007)

Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher)

The next novel in the Jack Reacher series sees things take an especially personal turn, as Reacher is thrown into a mystery involving the members of his old elite team.

After receiving a mysterious deposit in his personal account, Reacher realizes that it’s actually a secret code from his old military days.

The thing is, only eight people in the world know that code.

A woman from the team then contacts Reacher and tells him about the horrifying death of one of their comrades.

Reacher must reunite with the remaining members of the team, investigating who might be picking off their unit one by one.

With the threat very real, and very real personal, Reacher and these people from his past are in a race to find the truth.


  • Personal Reacher tales are extra-gripping


  • Some inconsistencies with the character

Nothing To Lose (2008)

Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher)

The next book finds Reacher walking the desolate twelve-mile empty road between two towns: Hope and Despair.

These towns are in the middle of nowhere, and clearly have their own private communities distrusting of outsiders, because Reacher is soon charged with vagrancy at Despair.

Ordered to move on, Reacher is reluctant, wondering what this small town has to hide.

He and a female cop from the other town, Hope, must team up against what appears to be all of Despair.

Digging deeper into the town’s mysteries, the pair find that there’s a rich man pulling its strings. What does he want?


  • Rapid pace


  • A little formulaic

Gone Tomorrow (2009)

Gone Tomorrow (Jack Reacher)

Jack Reacher is riding the New York City subway at 2 a.m. The subway car is pretty empty, just Reacher and five other passengers.

However, Reacher feels there is something off about the fifth passenger, a woman named Susan Mark.

He suspects that she’s a secret bomber, but a tense stand-off soon proves him wrong and finishes with the woman shooting herself.

Why did she do it? What was really going on?

In the City That Never Sleeps, Reacher is thrust into a crazed conspiracy, with threats from all sides.

Using all his skills, Reacher must find the truth before it’s too late.


  • A very tight plot


  • A little predictable

61 Hours (2010)

61 Hours (Jack Reacher)

The fourteenth entry in the Jack Reacher series begins with Jack Reacher intervening in strange events at a bar in Nebraska.

However, there is plenty more to the case than he thought because he’s soon caught up in a larger conspiracy.

At the same time, a brave woman is fighting for justice against the villainous forces that threaten a small town.

All she needs to do is testify, but that’s not going to be so easy, because a professional killer is on his way to prevent her from doing just that.

Reacher must ensure the woman makes it through the next 61 hours, entrenched in a deep conspiracy of secrets and threats.


  • Terrific characters


  • Some unnecessary descriptions

Worth Dying For (2010)

Worth Dying For (Jack Reacher)

Jack Reacher is in the wrong place at the wrong time, once again.

Finding himself in a Nebraskan county, Reacher finds himself threatened by the clan that runs the place on terror – the Duncans.

They want Reacher gone, but they’re also anxiously awaiting a mysterious shipment for their powerful clients.

You see, though the Duncans might run this county, they’re just the bottom of a criminal chain that goes halfway around the world.

However, Reacher is intrigued not only by them but also by a decades-old case of a missing child.

Determined to get to the bottom of both cases, Reacher employs all the well-honed skills readers know and love.


  • Fast-moving plot


  • Overly-long descriptions seem like filler

The Affair (2011)

The Affair (Jack Reacher)

Though this is the sixteenth entry in the Jack Reacher series, it’s another one that takes a dive backward in terms of chronology, taking place back in March 1997 – just six months before the events of the first novel, “Killing Floor”.

As a result, Reacher is still in the Army.

When the body of a soldier’s girlfriend is found, killed in a nasty manner, Reacher needs to find out whether the killer is a local – or is instead from the nearby elite Army base, Fort Kelham.

To find the truth, Reacher must go undercover, all while battling the pressure to speak out against the Army’s naturally-warped official investigation.


  • Another dive into Reacher’s past


  • The ending is too abrupt

A Wanted Man (2012)

A Wanted Man (Jack Reacher)

Jack Reacher is on the road again and hitching lifts. Only this time, he’s going to wish he hadn’t hitched a ride.

Trying to get Virginia, Reacher gets a ride from two men and a woman. The men act normal, but the woman in the back seems worried.

Understandably so, since an hour behind their car is a gas station with a fresh body, and the FBI are investigating.

Jack Reacher is getting far more than a ride, because he’s now thrust right into the middle of a conspiracy where nothing is as it seems, and nobody is being honest.


  • Very twisty


  • Not enough action

Never Go Back (2013)

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Movie Tie-in Edition): A Novel

This next novel was adapted into the second of the two Tom Cruise Jack Reacher movies, and the story begins with Reacher traveling to Virginia to the HQ of his old unit.

After speaking on the phone a few times with its current commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, Reacher is visiting to finally meet the woman himself.

However, he arrives to find that Turner has been arrested, a fate which soon follows Reacher too.

Put behind bars on account of two crimes he allegedly enacted when in the army, Reacher must pair up with Turner in an effort to prove their innocence, and find out what’s really going on with this military conspiracy.


  • One of the series’ best


  • Some plot inconsistencies

Personal (2014)

Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel

The stakes are global in the next Jack Reacher novel, when an attempt is made on the French president’s life.

There are very few snipers with the skills to shoot from the distance from which this attempt was made, and one of them is a former United States Army marksman who went bad – John Knott.

Knott has been in prison for years, but now he’s been freed, and just in time for a G* summit full of world leaders.

As a result, Jack Reacher needs to be called in.

Reacher and Knott have fought in the past, and Reacher won, so naturally, he’s the man to take him down this time.

Paired up with a rookie analyst, Reacher must race against time to prevent further assassination attempts.


  • A gripping mystery


  • Characters aren’t as well-developed as usual

Make Me (2015)

Make Me (Jack Reacher)

Reacher is in the middle of nowhere again, finding himself in a tiny town called Mother’s Rest.

It’s a tight-knit community of people with secrets, and they’re all suspicious of outsiders.

However, one of the people is Michelle Chang, a woman who mistakes Reacher for her missing partner from a private investigation.

Curious, Reacher teams up with Chang for real, and the pair find themselves thrust into a large-scale mystery.

They’ll travel all over the United States, from Los Angeles to Phoenix, battling mysterious killers and digging deeper into a wild mystery.


  • Great action


  • A few improbabilities in the plot

Night School (2016)

Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel

Another Jack Reacher novel that takes place in the past, this next book is set in early 1996.

Reacher is still part of the Army, and he’s just been put in a top-secret task force because of his recent success on a mission.

A CIA informant who’s been undercover in a Jihadi sleeper cell has uncovered a strange message about “the Americans” wanting a hundred million dollars.

What is the money for? And which Americans are these?

Reacher must team up with a CIA analyst and an FBI analyst, as well as the best soldier Reacher ever served with, and the group must race against time to find the truth – before a massive act of terrorism occurs.


  • A more fascinating insight into Reacher’s past


  • A little predictable

The Midnight Line (2017)

The Midnight Line: A Jack Reacher Novel

Jack Reacher is wandering a tiny Wisconsin town when he spies a 2005 class ring in a pawn shop.

Noting that a woman’s initials are engraved inside it, he wonders what happened to her and what made her give up the ring.

Reacher decides to find out what happened and embarks on a journey that will put him face to face with all kinds of shady characters: criminals, bikers, cops, investigators, and more.

However, the deeper he goes, the more he finds that this was no ordinary selling of a ring. There’s a secret history here.


  • An exciting read


  • Some think the story is a stretch

Past Tense (2018)

Past Tense: A Jack Reacher Novel

Jack Reacher is thumb-tripping again, aiming to hitch his way across the United States.

However, his plans are waylaid when he sees a road sign in the New England woods: a sign pointing towards the place where his father was born. Intrigued, and never having been there before, he takes a detour to the town.

At the same time, two young Canadians have broken down nearby. On their way to sell treasure in New York, they’re now stranded in a remote motel where the owner is a little too welcoming.

As Reacher finds that his family history here is not all that it seems, and the young Canadians face threats, the two stories may have more connecting them than it seems.


  • A great page-turner


  • A bit overlong

Blue Moon (2019)

Blue Moon: A Jack Reacher Novel

On a Greyhound bus, with Jack Reacher drifting aimlessly as usual, our hero happens upon an old man with troubles.

He and his wife have made some mistakes, and they’re now in the tough position of owing money to dangerous people.

The well-meaning Reacher tries to help but soon finds himself caught in the middle of a gang war between some Albanians and some Ukrainians.


  • An interesting love interest for Reacher


  • Some dialog isn’t great

The Sentinel (2020)

The Sentinel: A Jack Reacher Novel

In the landmark twenty-fifth Jack Reacher novel, the loner vigilante finds himself in a town near Pleasantville, Tennessee.

He spies a mousy, hapless man heading straight into an ambush, so decides to help him.

However, he soon finds that the man, Rusty Rutherford, is a former IT manager.

He was fired recently because of a cyberattack that locked all the town’s secrets and data, and Rutherford is eager to prove his innocence.

Intrigued, Reacher decides to help him and finds a deeper web of conspiracies and cover-ups.


  • Plenty of action


  • The book is co-authored, which makes it read a little differently

Better Off Dead (2021)

Better Off Dead: A Jack Reacher Novel

Wandering the desert wilderness, Jack Reacher happens across a crashed Jeep.

Somehow, it crashed into the only tree for miles, and there was a woman bent over the wheel.

But she isn’t dead. Michaela Fenton, the woman is an FBI agent investigating the disappearance of her twin brother.

Her brother is in with some shady people, including the mysterious Dendoncker, and there’s a deeper mystery to be uncovered here.

Reacher agrees to help Fenton find her brother, but the stakes are incredibly high, with the threat of the powerful Dendoncker working as-ever from the shadows.


  • A fascinating mystery


  • Overlong

No Plan B (2022)

No Plan B: A Jack Reacher Novel

The latest Jack Reacher novel begins with Jack Reacher witnessing a murder that’s been dressed up as a suicide.

Another homicide is soon ruled as an accident, and Reacher knows that this is no coincidence.

Reacher sets out on a mission to bring the killer to justice.

However, nothing is as it seems, because these crimes are part of a much larger conspiracy involving all sorts of disparate, dangerous characters.

Reacher must dig deep and come up with answers – as well as stay alive.


  • Rapidly paced


  • The character seems different from previous books

Final Thoughts

The Jack Reacher series is one of the most popular crimson sagas in fiction, with Lee Child being one of the world’s most famous thriller writers.

Each book offers a new mystery, and the imposing loner character of Reacher is a thrilling hero to root for.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s The Best Jack Reacher Book?

Every Reacher fan has a different answer, but many will agree that the first novel, “Killing Floor”, is the best. It’s a thrilling story, with an involving first-person narration.

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Noah Burton