How to read…Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series

Lee Child only writes his Jack Reacher series, so this isn’t that complicated. Well, it could be as there is no indication on the outside at least of which order you should read them in. And even though the idea is clearly to read in whatever order you like, I still think it would be best to go with the flow from first to latest.

If you click on the cover, it’ll take you to The Book Depository for the book.

Killing Floor Lee Child 1

1. Killing Floor (1998)
Margrave is a no-account little town in Georgia. Jack Reacher jumps off a bus and walks fourteen miles in the rain to reach it, in search of a dead guitar player.
But Margrave has just had its first homicide in thirty years. And Reacher is the only stranger in town. As the body count mounts, only one thing is for sure: they picked the wrong guy to take the fall.

Die Trying

2. Die Trying (1998)
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?

Tripwire Lee Child 1

3. Tripwire (1999)
For Jack Reacher, being invisible has become a habit.
He spends his days digging swimming pools 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.

The Visitor Lee Child 1

4. The Visitor (2000)
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.

Echo Burning Lee Child

5. Echo Burning (2001)
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.

Without Fail Lee Child

6. Without Fail (2003)
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.
Her job? Protecting the Vice-President of the United States.
Her problem? Someone wants the VP dead.

Persuader Lee Child 1

7. Persuader (2003)
Never forgive, never forget.
Jack Reacher lives for the moment. Without a home. Without commitment. But he has a burning desire to right wrongs – and rewrite his own agonising past.
Never apologise. Never explain.
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?

The Enemy Lee Child

8. The Enemy (2004)
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…

One Shot Lee Child

9. One Shot (2005)
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 ex-military cop to this psychopathic killer?

The Hard Way Lee Child

10. The Hard Way (2006)
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 the hard way.

Bad Luck and Trouble Lee Child

11. Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
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.

Nothing to Lose Lee Child

12. Nothing To Lose (2008)
From Hope to Despair.
Two small towns in Colorado, between them 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 county line.
Reacher doesn’t like being kicked out of town. He has no job, no address, no baggage. Nothing, except bloody-minded curiosity. And once he finds a little thread to pull, a shocking conspiracy starts to unravel…

Gone Tomorrow Lee Child

13. Gone Tomorrow (2009)
Suicide bombers are easy to spot.
They give out all kinds of tell-tale signs. Mostly because they are nervous. By definition they are all first-timers.
There are twelve things to look for.
New York City subway, two o’clock in the morning. Jack Reacher studies his fellow passengers. Four are OK. The fifth isn’t. He ticks off every bullet point on the list as the train brakes for Grand Central Station.

61 Hours Lee Child

14. 61 Hours (2010)
Hour sixty-one. Icy winter in South Dakota.
A bus skids in a gathering storm. On the back seat: Jack Reacher, hitching a ride to nowhere.
Hour thirty-one. 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.
Hour zero. 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.

Worth Dying For Lee Child

15. Worth Dying For (2010)
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, already decades old, 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?

The Affair Lee Child

16. The Affair (2011)
March 1997. A woman has 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?
Jack Reacher, still a major in the military police, is sent in undercover. The county sheriff is a dormer 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?

A Wanted Man Lee Child

17. A Wanted Man (2012)
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 they are now four? Is Reacher just a decoy?

Never Go Back Lee Child

18. Never Go Back (2013)
Drop-out military cop Jack Reacher has hitch-hiked his way to Virginia. His destination, the closest thing to a home he ever had: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th Military Police.
Reacher has no real reason to be here, except that he spoke to the new commanding officer on the phone. He liked Major Susan Turner’s voice. But now he’s arrived, and things are getting weird.
Accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide, and co-opted back into the army, Reacher says nothing. But he’s sure as hell thinking of a way out.

Personal Lee Child

19. Personal (2014)
Jack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, he’s now his own boss, going where the mood takes him. But the army tracks him down. Because 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. This new heartstopping, nailbiting book in Lee Child’s number-one bestselling series takes Reacher across the Atlantic to Paris – and then to London.
The stakes have never been higher – because this time, it’s personal.

Make Me Lee Child

20. Make Me (2015)
There are weird names all over the country. Why single out Mother’s Rest, in a nation with towns called Why and Whynot, and Accident and Peculiar, and Santa Claus and No Name?
Jack Reacher has no place to go, and all the time in the world to get there, so 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…but 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 heart of darkness.

Night School Lee Child

21. Night School  (2016)
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 gives him a medal. And then they send him back to school. A school with only three students: Reacher, and FBI agent, and a CIA analyst. Their assignment? To find that American. And what he’s selling.

The Midnight Line Lee Child

22. The Midnight Line (2017)
Jack Reacher is having a bad day. It would be a dumb idea to make it worse.
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, of she’s not…he’ll stop at nothing.
Best advice: stay out of his way.

past tense lee child

23. Past Tense (2018)
The present can be 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.
But the past can be worse . . .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. That’s for damn sure.