Like with Quarry, the Jack Reacher books are numerous and they are not published in a chronological order. It’s not a problem, you can read them in any order you like. That said, maybe you want more, like a sense of continuity or just a firm direction to follow.
Who is Jack Reacher?
Jack Reacher is the fictional protagonist of stories written by British author Lee Child. In the books, published since 1997, Reacher is a former Major in the United States Army Military Police Corps. We mostly follow him as he travels through the United States, helping people and falling into webs of complications and mysteries.
What’s the best Jack Reacher’s reading order?
There are three ways to read Jack Reacher’s series. The first is the simple one, you take the books like you want. The second is to follow the publication order. The third is the chronological order – you can find this one at the end of this article.
- Killing Floor – Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. All Reacher knows is that he is innocent, but he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone.
- Die Trying – Jack Reacher witnesses a woman kidnapped off a Chicago street in broad daylight. In the wrong place at the wrong time, he’s kidnapped with her. They’re at the mercy of a group of men demanding an impossible ransom and Reacher has to save them both or die trying…
- Tripwire – Jack Reacher is in Key West when a stranger shows up asking for him. Reacher has got a lot of questions after the guy turns up dead. The answers lead him on a cold trail back to New York, to the tenuous confidence of an alluring woman, and the dangerous corners of his own past.
- Running Blind aka The Visitor – Across the country, women are being murdered, victims of a disciplined and clever killer who leaves no clues to an apparent motive. Each one of the women knew Jack Reacher – and it’s got him running blind.
- Echo Burning – Reacher hitches a ride in Texas and gets picked up by Carmen, a mother of a young girl trapped in an abusive marriage. After some deliberation Reacher consents to help her but things don’t go as plan when Carmen is being arrested for the murder of her husband. Reacher finds himself investigating the truth.
- Without Fail – In Atlantic City, Reacher met Mary Ellen Froelich, a secret service agent with a special request: That Reacher tell her how he would kill the Vice-President in order to tighten her security detail. He accepts and enlists an old colleague, Frances Neagley, to help carry out the mission.
- Persuader – Reacher sees Quinn, a man responsible for the murder of two of Reacher’s colleagues ten years back and who should be dead. Reacher teams up with the DEA to penetrate a smuggling ring in order to get back at Quinn.
- The Enemy – New Year’s Day, 1990. In a North Carolina motel, a two-star general is found dead. His briefcase is missing. Nobody knows what was in it. Within minutes Reacher has his orders: Control the situation. Within hours the general’s wife is murdered. Then the dominoes really start to fall.
- One Shot – Six shots. Five dead. One heartland city thrown into a state of terror. But within hours the cops have it solved: a slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man says: You got the wrong guy. Then he says: Get Reacher for me.
- The Hard Way – On the trail of vicious kidnappers, Reacher learns the chilling secrets of his employer, Edward Lane, and of a horrific drama in the heart of a nasty little war. Reacher also knows that he’s already in way too deep to stop now. And if he has to do it the hard way, he will.
- Bad Luck and Trouble – A woman from his former military unit has found Reacher using a signal only the members of their elite team would know. She tells him about the brutal death of one of their own. Soon they learn of the sudden disappearance of two other comrades. When someone targets Jack Reacher and his team, they’d better be ready for what comes right back at them.
- Nothing to Lose – Traveling from the town of Hope, Colorado to the neighboring town of Despair, Reacher finds that he is an unwelcome visitor and decides to investigate the mystery behind the town’s unwelcoming disposition towards visitors.
- Gone Tomorrow – Reacher takes the subway late at night and end up next to a suicide bomber. He reasons with her, but she shoots herself; thereby proving Reacher wrong when he concluded she was a bomber. Now, he wants to know why she killed herself.
- 61 Hours – A bus crashes in a snowstorm and lands Jack Reacher nearby Bolton, South Dakota, where one woman is standing up for justice in this small town. A proficient assassin who never misses just arrived and the next 61 hours will change everything.
- Worth Dying For – Reacher arrives in a rural Nebraska town where he overhears a drunk doctor’s refusal to attend a victim of domestic abuse. Reacher intervenes and end up embroiled in a smuggling ring and an unsolved disappearance from twenty-five years prior.
- The Affair – March 1997. Still in the army, Jack Reacher find trouble in a small town in Mississippi, where a soldier’s girlfriend is found with her throat cut from ear to ear. Reacher must determine whether the killer is local, or from nearby Fort Kelham. He must go undercover to investigate.
- A Wanted Man – All Jack Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. He soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride. He has tied himself to a massive conspiracy, in which nothing is what it seems, and nobody is telling the truth.
- Never Go Back – Reacher makes it to the headquarters of his old unit. On arriving though, he finds out that the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, has been arrested. Soon he too finds himself taken into custody, pending the trail of two crimes he allegedly committed while he was in the army. Reacher and Turner set out to find the truth.
- Personal – Reacher is tasked with finding out the person responsible for taking a long-distance shot at the French President, one of the suspects being a man Reacher tracked put in jail sixteen years back. He is teamed with Casey Nice, a rookie analyst.
- Make Me – Reacher makes a stop in an agrarian town called Mother’s Rest where a woman named Michelle Chang asks his help to find a missing colleague.
- Night School – Early 1996. Reacher is still in the army and placed into a top-secret multi-agency task force. A CIA informant in a Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany, has relayed the message The American wants a hundred million dollars. With little else to go on, Reacher and his new associates are tasked with finding the buyer and the seller and determining what is being sold.
- The Midnight Line – Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher decides to find the woman and return her ring. So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest.
- Past Tense – Jack Reacher hits the pavement and sticks out his thumb. He plans to follow the sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What’s one extra day? He takes the detour.
Jack Reacher’s Chronological Reading Order
And now, the chronological order. I included the short stories. You can find them in No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories book.
- Second Son (short story)
- High Heat (novella)
- Deep Down (short story)
- Small Wars (short story)
- The Enemy
- Night School
- James Penney’s New Identity (short story)
- The Affair
- Killing Floor
- Die Trying
- The Visitor – aka Running Blind
- Echo Burning
- Without Fail
- One Shot
- The Hard Way
- Bad Luck and Trouble
- Nothing to Lose
- Guy Walks into a Bar… (short story)
- Gone Tomorrow
- 61 Hours
- Worth Dying For
- A Wanted Man
- Everyone Talks (short story)
- Never Go Back
- Not a Drill (short story)
- Good and Valuable Consideration (short story)
- Make Me
- Maybe they Have a Tradition (short story)
- Too Much Time (short story)
- Faking a Murderer (short story with Temperance Brennan)
- The Midnight Line