Jack Reacher Books in order: How to read Lee Child series?

Last Updated 3 weeks ago.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.

Jack 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 - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Die Trying - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Tripwire - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Running Blind aka The Visitor - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child

  1. 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.
  2. 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…
  3. 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.
  4. 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 - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Without Fail - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Persuader - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child The Enemy - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child The Hard Way - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Bad Luck and Trouble - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Nothing to Lose - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child 61 Hours - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Worth Dying For - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child The Affair - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Never Go Back - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Personal - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Make Me - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child The Midnight Line - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Past Tense - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child Blue Moon - Jack Reacher Book Series In Order by Lee Child

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Blue Moon – Reacher is on a Greyhound bus, minding his own business. Then he steps off the bus to help an old man who is obviously just a victim waiting to happen. Now Reacher wants to make it right. An elderly couple have made a few well-meaning mistakes, and now they owe big money to some very bad people. One brazen move leads to another, and suddenly Reacher finds himself a wanted man in the middle of a brutal turf war between rival Ukrainian and Albanian gangs.

The Sentinel Jack Reacher Books in Order Better Off Dead Jack Reacher Books in Order

  1. The Sentinel – Jack Reacher gets off a bus in Nashville, Tennessee, in a quest for food, lodging and some good country music. But when he encounters a band of musicians who have been cheated by an unscrupulous bar owner, he steps in to help….
  2. Better Off Dead – Reacher isn’t one to back down from a fight. And when a shadowy crew raises the stakes, he won’t hesitate to teach them a lesson: When you pick a fight with Reacher, you’re better off dead.

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.

  1. Second Son (short story)
  2. High Heat (novella)
  3. Deep Down (short story)
  4. Small Wars (short story)
  5. The Enemy
  6. Night School
  7. James Penney’s New Identity (short story)
  8. The Affair
  9. Killing Floor
  10. Die Trying
  11. Tripwire
  12. Running Blind
  13. Echo Burning
  14. Without Fail
  15. Persuader
  16. One Shot
  17. The Hard Way
  18. Bad Luck and Trouble
  19. Nothing to Lose
  20. Guy Walks into a Bar… (short story)
  21. Gone Tomorrow
  22. 61 Hours
  23. Worth Dying For
  24. A Wanted Man
  25. Everyone Talks (short story)
  26. Never Go Back
  27. Not a Drill (short story)
  28. Personal
  29. Good and Valuable Consideration (short story)
  30. Make Me
  31. Maybe they Have a Tradition (short story)
  32. Too Much Time (short story)
  33. Faking a Murderer (short story with Temperance Brennan)
  34. The Midnight Line
  35. Past Tense
  36. The Fourth Man (short story)
  37. Cleaning the Gold (short story with Will Trent)
  38. Smile (short story)
  39. Blue Moon
  40. The Sentinel

67 thoughts on “Jack Reacher Books in order: How to read Lee Child series?”

  1. Im not a reader,,, I only ever read two books that were made into a films. “Jaws” and “Treasure Island” guess what? I enjoyed the films more.
    I have only ever read for info and learning. Never finding the time, I was recommended to Jack Reacher and I have seen both films. I am a Cruise fan and yet I totally agree, he just isn’t right for ‘Reacher’.
    What I like about Jack Reacher is that he has no morales left but his ethics are completely intact. He can be relied upon to do what needs to be done. And ‘bent’ cops are treated like vermin. Excellent!
    I have only read 4 so far, in the last week. I can’t put them down. Grrr
    I came here looking for some sort of reading order. In the four I’ve read, Mr. Child does a great job in referencing back to the past, so I will read them in release order. Thank you for the synopses too.

  2. I have read several Reacher books. I’ve seen both movies as well. I actually prefer the Tom Cruz character over the novel version. Plan to read them all.

  3. Have loved Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and am ready to start reading them all again. Have never done this for any other author.

    1. Have you ever read any by Louis L’Amour..have over 100 of his books and read all of them more than twice…will look for Jack Reacher stories to see if I enjoy them too…I did enjoy the movies.

  4. I don’t understand the difference between chronological order the publication order. Doesn’t each publication follow the previous publication in the series ?

    1. Yes, each publication follows the previous publication. However, sometimes the author will write a book in the series that skips back in time. Thus a chronological order. This is the order that the character’s story takes place, not necessarily the order that the author thought to write it and certainly not when the author published it. I hope this makes sense and answers your question.

  5. Two short stories in the collection, No Middle Name, are not included in this chronological list. “No Room at the Motel” and “The Picture of the Lonely Diner” Anyone know where they fit in?

  6. There are a couple of books that are prequels. Written after several others when he’s out of the army. In the prequels he’s still in the army. The Enemy and Night School and The Affair.

  7. @Jerry … not just chicks reading Jack Reacher. I have been a fan for many years and only just found out that my brother has also read them all

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