Best Jack Reacher Books

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 2, 2020
If you are a fan of detective and thriller stories, you may also enjoy Jack Reacher books by Lee Child. Known worldwide for their unusual plot twists, good language, and interesting characters, these novels are definitely a worthy read. ...Read more ...Read less
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PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Name and Number In Series
Book Type
Number of Pages / File Size
Publisher
 
PROS

When his friends get into trouble, Reacher decides to help them without hesitation and puts his own life under fire. The book gives a detailed description of espionage and surveillance. All the characters are charismatic and well-developed. 

CONS

It is a bit contrived and wordy.

OUR VERDICT

Though Bad Luck and Trouble is the eleventh installment in the series about Jack Reacher, you can read the books in any order. In this novel, Reacher and his partners try to sabotage the deal and prevent the criminals from selling ballistic missiles to terrorists. The book will be much loved by fans of intriguing action. 

detailed parameters
Name and Number In Series

Bad Luck And Trouble, Book 11

Book Type

Kindle
Hardcover
Audiobook
Paperback
Mass Market Paperback

Number of Pages / File Size

386 pages / 4809 KB

Publisher

Transworld Digital; 01 Edition (September 4, 2008)

PROS

Jack Reacher has only 61 hours to prevent a horrific event. So in this book, you will have to find out if he manages to unwind all the riddles and save his own life.

CONS

Some parts are overloaded with details.

OUR VERDICT

This novel is a New YorkTimes best-seller. It is a thrilling and intriguing detective story that is captivating from the very first page and has a shocking revelation at the end. The book is extremely easy to read and the main character is very attractive and calls for your sympathy.

detailed parameters
Name and Number In Series

61 Hours, Book 14

Book Type

Kindle
Hardcover
Audiobook
Paperback
Mass Market Paperback

Number of Pages / File Size

514 pages / 4799 KB

Publisher

Transworld Digital; 01 Edition (March 18, 2010)

PROS

The fellow travelers on the night bus turn out to be more than ordinary persons, and Jack Reacher with his natural power of observation quickly notices that. And as always, he finds himself dragged in the dangerous and super thrilling situation.

CONS

The premise may seem a bit preposterous.

OUR VERDICT

This action-styled thriller shows us an appealing main character fighting for justice and getting himself into big trouble while trying to help people. This book about Jack Reacher is definitely an enjoyable read for everyone who has a strong belief in the good.

detailed parameters
Name and Number In Series

Blue Moon, Book 24

Book Type

Kindle
Hardcover
Audiobook
Paperback
Mass Market Paperback

Number of Pages / File Size

396 pages / 1165 KB

Publisher

Transworld Digital (October 29, 2019)

PROS

On the street, Jack accidentally runs into a man named Quinn, but he doesn't believe his own eyes since 10 years ago he killed that hound with his own hands. Now, he has to find out how his enemy survived and get to him at any cost.

CONS

The integration of flashbacks at key points might feel somewhat forced.

OUR VERDICT

This time, Reacher is in over his head making attempts to take revenge on his old enemy. It is hard to imagine how he is going to get out of this situation, but the author's idea won't leave anyone indifferent. It's yet another action detective that will get you hooked from the first words. 

detailed parameters
Name and Number In Series

Persuader, Book 7

Book Type

Kindle
Hardcover
Audiobook
Paperback
Mass Market Paperback

Number of Pages / File Size

546 pages / 3846 KB

Publisher

Transworld Digital; 01 Edition (September 23, 2008)

PROS

Reacher is a stranger in the small town of Margrave, which suspiciously seems too perfect at the first glance. He arrives on the day the town was shattered by the murder that has happened for the first time within the last thirty years. And unexpectedly, Jack becomes the main suspect.

CONS

Some parts go overboard with gory details. 

OUR VERDICT

This is a debut novel that kickstarts the Jack Reacher series of books written by Lee Child. The main character is trapped in prison with the most outrageous criminals that serve life sentences. In the meantime, the town streets are crowded with more and more dead bodies, and only Jack can stop it.

detailed parameters
Name and Number In Series

Killing Floor, Book 1

Book Type

Kindle
Hardcover
Audiobook
Paperback
Mass Market Paperback

Number of Pages / File Size

532 pages / 4533 KB

Publisher

Transworld Digital; 01 Edition (September 15, 2009)

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Lee Child Bad Luck And Trouble

Meet Reacher's Ex Colleagues

Bad Luck and Trouble is the eleventh book in the series about Jack Reacher written by Lee Child back in 2007. The novel is written from the third-person perspective and shows very authentic, sometimes even shocking descriptions of human cruelty.

The story starts when a man with two broken legs is thrown down from a helicopter and crashes somewhere in the California desert. Later on, we find out that this person was related to Jack Reacher who was in Portland at the beginning of the story. Having abandoned his military service around 10 years ago, Reacher now travels with only a few clothing items and an ATM card and doesn’t even have a phone. He tries to stay incognito but when a mysterious stranger sends him a deposit with a hidden code, he realizes someone’s looking for him. It turned to be Frances Neagley from Chicago (one of the few characters who appear in a number of books in this series), a Reacher’s former colleague from the military service. She reveals a horrible truth that members of their elite squad are being hunted down. Jack teams up with Frances and a few other men he served with.

As the new-formed team starts their investigation, they get more questions than answers. What is more, their two other military colleagues are now gone missing. The story brings the characters to the bright lights of Las Vegas where they face up the threat of international terrorism. Now, the guys have to come up with the plan and find a way to sabotage the deal between the villains and prevent them from selling ballistic missiles. Whether they manage to do so or not, you can find only at the end of the book.

Review of Lee Child Bad Luck And Trouble Jack Reacher, Book 11

Insight Into Espionage Details

In this book, the author provides a detailed description of espionage and surveillance tweaks. You'll get dragged into the team's investigation and closely follow the line of investigators’ thinking. Lee Child also gives unique characters to both heroes and villains that make them very realistic and easy to believe. You can track their development throughout the whole story.

This book will be a perfect match for those who enjoy action-packed stories. The narrative is full of plot twists and turns, so it never seems boring and will keep you engaged and fascinated until the very end.

In conclusion, Bad Luck And Trouble is an exciting read for those who love intriguing thrillers and detective stories with a tense finale. Thanks to all that, we consider this book one of the best in the whole series. And if you already are a fan of Jack Reacher, this novel is a must-read.

Lee Child Bad Luck And Trouble Jack Reacher, Book 11 in the use

 

Lee Child 61 Hours

Intense Story

Lee Child’s 61 Hours is one of the most intense stories about Jack Reacher. The 14th installment of the series was published in 2010 and became New York Times best-seller. It was highly praised by critics and welcomed by the audience, so we couldn’t exclude it from our list of the best Jack Reacher books. The story is engaging from the very first page and will keep you guessing until the very end.

At the beginning of the novel, Jack Reacher takes a ride on the bus with tourists. Unfortunately, it gets caught in the storm and crashes. Due to the bad weather conditions, people from the bus have to stay in the nearest town of Bolton, South Dacota, to wait for the storm to calm. In the meantime, the biker gang leader awaits trial in the local prison (which is considered one of the biggest penitentiaries in the country). The only witness Janet Salter who can testify and put the criminal behind the bars for drug dealing is currently under protection. But when the riot occurs in the prison and all the police forces move to settle it down, an anonymous killer tries to shoot her. Reacher comes up with his help and promises to protect Jane’s life until the trial process.

The main hero contacts the Virginia office of the military police, where he used to serve. Over the phone, Jack meets the new Major Susan Turner, and something special has immediately sparked between them. She decides to help Jack, and soon they find out who was the prick in the local police and who helped to organize the riot as well as the assassination attempt on the witness.

At the end of the story, when 61 hours run out, Reacher has to find a way to stop a horrific plan of the bad guys and try to stay alive himself. The finale will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very last page.

Review of Lee Child 61 Hours Jack Reacher, Book 14

Get to Know Your Favorite Character Even More

The book revolves around a smart detective story and charismatic characters that make you feel for them. And, of course, the main hero Jack Reacher will once again impress you with a sharp brain and professional skills which are his key traits. However, in this book, he also reveals one of the darkest secrets from his past.

The other merit of this story that makes it so popular is that it is very easy to read. The language is simple and descriptive, sometimes, even too wordy for some readers. But it really works to help you plunge into the atmosphere of the book and feel for the characters.

In a word, 61 Hours can be considered one of the best modern detective stories. Filled with unexpected twists, this tense storyline won’t let you put this book aside until you finish it.

Lee Child 61 Hours Jack Reacher, Book 14 in the use

 

Lee Child Blue Moon

Jack Reacher Latest Book

Blue Moon by Lee Child is a perfect choice for all the action lovers. As for now, this thriller is the latest, 24th book in the series, yet, the author still manages to find new plot twists and interesting turns to make the whole story unusual and look different from his other novels. The book was even called “one of the best” by The Time magazine.

Jack Reacher takes a night bus to go nowhere with a few strangers. However, thanks to his natural power of observation and close attention to details, he quickly realizes that they are not just ordinary people as they might seem. His companions on this ride are an old man sleeping in his seat and a younger guy with definitely something bad in his mind. The old man carries an envelope with cash in his pocket and both Reacher and the other guy noticed that. When the criminal tries to get-rich-quick, Jack just can’t stay by and stops the bad guy. He also offers help to the old man and wants to accompany him home. Yet, the man refuses while looking scared and really intimidated by something.

It also turns out that the city where the protagonist arrives is torn apart by two rival criminal gangs. Each of them struggles for power and full control over the city. But how can this innocent-looking old man get in trouble with dangerous gangs? Jack decides to find the answer and starts his investigation. Andб as always, his own life is now hanging on a thread. Now, you will have to find out by yourself if Jack Reacher manages to avert the threat.

Review of Lee Child Blue Moon Jack Reacher, Book 24

One of the Most Engaging Plots in the Series

The book features a lot of action elements and unexpected events. Even though the story is written from the third-person perspective, you will still be able to really go through this adventure with the protagonist.

The book got a lot of positive reviews both from readers and from critics. Speaking of which, some of them even call this novel the best in the series, with “diverting”, “engaging” and “riveting” plot. Also, note that the author provides a pretty vivid description of violence, so, this story is definitely a better pick for no too sensitive and emotional adult audience.

To wrap the whole thing up, we would like to say that the latest installment in the Jack Reacher series is definitely a must-read for all the fans of this character or the author. And if you are new to the story but you love action-packed gripping thrillers with a smart plot, you will also be able to fairly enjoy Blue Moon.

Lee Child Blue Moon Jack Reacher, Book 24 in the use

 

Lee Child Persuader

A Sudden Hit From the Past

Persuader is the seventh book in the series about Jack Reacher that was published back in 2003 and since then, it has already become time-proven series classics. In this novel, you can clearly see Lee Child’s unique style and manner of storytelling, which made him one of the most beloved and bestselling authors worldwide.

Here, Jack Reacher goes undercover as he secretly cooperates with the Drug Enforcement Organization to get close to Zachary Beck, a criminal who is allegedly smuggling drugs. To do so, the agency stages the kidnapping of Zachary’s son Richard and allow Reacher to save him. In return, Beck offers Reacher a job as his bodyguard. While working on this case, it takes Jack much effort and attention to stay undercover, and along the way, he has to get rid of a few Beck’s men who threaten to expose him. As the story goes, we also find out that the maid who works in the house is an undercover agent who tries to prove Zachary’s involvement in arms trafficking. The DEO wants to get Jack off the case but he refuses to do so in his brand manner.

To further spice things up, Reacher meets his old enemy Francis Xavier Quinn who tortured and killed one of Jack’s female military colleagues ten years ago. Jack was sure that Quinn was dead until he finds out that he is actually Zachary Beck’s boss. Intrigued about how Quinn has managed to survive, he starts his own investigation. He decides to get closer to his old enemy to revenge and unwind the new case while he’s at it. It is hard to imagine how he gets through this complicated situation, but the author has carefully crafted the plot twists and a smart idea will definitely shock you (in a good way).

Review of Lee Child Persuader Jack Reacher, Book 7

For Long-read Devotees

There are a few features that make this book different from the other pieces in our shortlist. First of all, the book is written from the first-person perspective, which allows the readers to put themselves in the position of a trained spy. On top of that, the book has much more unexpected revelations and jaw-dropping moments than its counterparts. Plus, the story has numerous flashbacks that allow us to get a deeper understanding of the relationships between the antagonist and protagonist.

Written on 546 pages, the book is also the longest read on our list. So if you seek a long story to enjoy, this one may fit you. Overall, Persuader is an attention-worthy novel for all thriller fans. It is a classic example of a Jack Reacher story that has been popular among the readers for over a decade.

Lee Child Persuader Jack Reacher, Book 7 in the use

 

Lee Child Killing Floor

The Very 1st Jack Reacher Book

Killing Floor is Lee Child’s debut novel and the first book ever written about Jack Reacher. It was published in 1997 and won the Barry Award and Anthony Award as the best debut novel of the year. So let's take a closer look at this story and find out if it's worth reading.

We meet the main character when he steps out from a bus in the town of Margrave, Georgia. This place seems incorrupt and perfect at a glance, which makes everything look even more suspicious. Jack decided to visit this place because the musician Blind Blake allegedly died here. While sitting in the cafe, Jack Reacher, who is the only stranger in the town, is arrested. Later, it turned out that on the day he arrived, the city was shattered by the murder, which has been the first crime of this kind within the recent 30 years. The victim was a middle-aged man who had a paper piece with a phone number in his shoe. Reacher found out all of that while being in custody from the officers Finlay and Roscoe who believe he is innocent. Jack persuades them to call this phone number and the men who answered confesses to the crime. Before Jack gets released from jail, he also manages to save himself and the killer from a mysterious assassination attempt. Now, when his innocence is proven, he decides to join the investigation.

As the story goes, we get to know that the murdered man was someone whom Jack knew very well, so, he has a huge motivation to find the killer. It also becomes obvious that this person wasn’t the only victim. While Reacher tries to connect the dots, the streets of a small quiet town become flooded with dead bodies. So, if you want to find out how all those murders and Jack’s fake accusations relate to money laundering, read this book.

Review of Lee Child Killing Floor Jack Reacher, Book 1

Take a Look At the Hero's Origin

If you fancy how Jack Reacher’s story actually started, this book should be on your to-read list. It reveals a lot of details on Jack’s past and his family and manifests his key character traits throughout his actions. The story is filled with gruesome and bloody moments at times and shows some violent decisions made by characters. But if you are a hardcore thriller fan, it shouldn’t be a huge turn-off for you.

In the end, we consider Killing Floor a triumphal debut of Lee Child and a masterfully created introduction of such an iconic figure in modern literature as Jack Reacher. The book is a real nail-biter that will grab your interest and keep you on the edge of your seat from the first to the last page (and there are as many as 532 of them).

Lee Child Killing Floor Jack Reacher, Book 1 in the use

 

What Is a Jack Reacher Book?

Jack Reacher is the main character in the book series under the same title written by a British author Lee Child. Reacher is described as a former major in the USA Army Police Corp. At the age of 36, he leaves the army and starts picking up temporary jobs related to suspicious and dangerous situations and investigating them.

For now, there are 24 novels in the series and the 25th book is about to be published. The first book came out in 1997 and since then, a new novel comes out every year (except for 2010 when two books were published). Apart from the novels, there are also numerous short stories and novellas that describe a small, yet interesting situation that Reacher finds himself in. Both novels and short stories gained massive success among the audience with over 60 million of the sold copies of the series. Two books, One Shot and Never Go Back, also have big-screen adaptations with Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher.

As we mentioned before, there is a big number of books in the Jack Reacher series and it is very hard to pick the best one. Yet, we did our best and picked five top stories that deserve your attention. We also suggest checking out our lists of the best mystery books and true crime books.

What Features to Compare

Even though all the Jack Reacher books have one main character, they are all very different. Every book has some new characters, so, you are free to read the novels in any order. Yet, there are still some aspects you can check before getting a book.

Plot

When selecting the first Jack Reacher novel to read, pay close attention to the plot. Pretty much all the books are written in the genre of thriller and detective novels but each book still has some unique plot. Depending on whether you like stories about unmasking terrorists or big government conspiracies, you will be able to find a story you'll get hooked by.

Perspective

Lee Child applies two types of narration in the books including the first-person and third-person view, with the latter prevailing in most of the books. Stories that are written from the first person’s perspective are Killing Floor, Persuader, The Enemy, Gone Tomorrow, The Affair, and Personal. Running Blind (or The Visitor) is the only book that combines both the second and the third POVs.

Location

Most of Jack Reacher’s adventures take place in the USA. The author provides some detailed descriptions of cities, military bases, and famous American buildings. Usually, the stories occur in New York, Los Angeles, and various small towns in the Midwest and Southern states. On top of that, there are a few stories that can take you to Europe to such cities as Paris, Hamburg, London, and some smaller ones in rural England.

Number of Pages

The books also vary in the number of pages. Some stories take around 350-380 pages, which is pretty average for a novel. However, you can find bigger ones that have more than 500 pages. Thus, if you are heading on a vacation or intend to take longer rides, you will be able to find the book that will entertain you for a long time. On the other hand, if you don’t like spending a lot of time with one story, you can stay with a smaller one.

Book Type

Nowadays, most of the books are available not only in paperback but also in electronic formats, and Jack Reacher stories are not an exception. Each book has a Kindle edition, which allows you to enjoy reading it on your favorite e-reader. What is more, the books are available in an audio format, so, you can listen to the audiobook while jogging, exercising, or doing any other activities. As for the paper versions, there are also a few of them to meet any needs. You can purchase a Jack Reacher book as a high-quality hardcover, paperback, and affordable mass market paperback.

About the Author

Contrary to popular belief, the books about great American military policeman Jack Reacher weren’t written by the American author. Lee Child, whose real name is James Dover Grant, was actually born in Coventry, Warwickshire, England in 1954.

Childhood and Education

When he was a child, his family moved to Birmingham where he attended a prestigious King Edward’s school. Later on, he studied law at the University of Sheffield. The career of a lawyer didn’t look really appealing to him and Grant has never actually worked as a lawyer. However, his Bachelor’s and Ph. D. degrees gave him a basic knowledge about the justice system, which he successfully applies in his novels.

First Jobs

In the university, James Grant got interested in more creative professions and took a part-time job in the theatre. After graduation, he worked in television production as a presentation director and was involved in broadcasting thousands of hours of TV programs. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for the whole world, he was fired due to corporate reorganization in 1995.

Writing Career

Discharge from the old job pushed James Grant to start writing. He took the pseudonym Lee Child and published his debut novel about Jack Reacher in 1997. The book won multiple awards and was praised by critics. Plus, the character of Jack Reacher gained massive success among the readers, so, the writer decided to come up with other stories about this military man. Jack Reacher is a protagonist in multiple novels, short stories, and novellas. However, Grant writes not only about the former US military officer. He also has a few stories about other characters and has collaborations with other authors on stories that are not built around Reacher. If you like Grant's writing style, it's worth checking on his other stories as well.

Achievements

The first story about Jack Reacher won the Anthony Award and Barry Award as the best debut novel and has a few other nominations. Other books in the series also were nominated in different literature categories. In 2020, Lee Child was invited to join the judging panel of the Booker Prize. On top of that, he took Visiting Professorship at the University of Sheffield (where he studied) and funded the Jack Reacher scholarship for the university students.

Apart from literary achievements, James Grant has also received the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2019.

In 2020, Lee Child announced that he is not going to continue Jack Reacher series. His younger brother Andrew will take his place instead. But no matter if he continues with his writing career or not, Child has already left a big mark in word’s literature history.  

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Publish Date: 2020-10-02 12:42:54