The Jack Reacher novels in order by Lee Child follow an ex-military policeman who likes to travel alone, but whom trouble finds no matter in which far away corner of the country he happens to be at the time. Lee Child started to write this series back in 1997 with Killing Floor, the first book in the series, at least in publication order.
Jack Reacher Books In Order
- Killing Floor, 1997
- Die Trying, 1998
- Tripwire, 1999
- The Visitor, 2000 – also under the name of Running Blind
- Echo Burning, 2001
- Without Fail, 2002
- Persuader, 2003
- The Enemy, 2004 (the story takes place before any other in the series, back when he was still an MP in 1990 – if you want to start with the first in chronological order, The Enemy should be it)
- One Shot, 2005 – this is the Jack Reacher novel that prompted the first movie adaptation in 2012 with Tom Cruise
- The Hard Way, 2006
- Bad Luck And Trouble, 2007
- Nothing To Lose, 2007
- Gone Tomorrow, 2009
- 61 Hours, 2010
- Worth Dying For, 2010
- Second Son (a short novella where Jack is only 13 years old – if you discount the actual novels, this could be really the first Jack Reacher book in chronological order), 2011
- The Affair (the second book in chronological order, following The Enemy, and 6 months before the events happening in Killing Floor), 2011
- Deep Down the story is set early in Reacher’s military career, back in 1986), 2012
- A Wanted Man, 2012
- High Heat (this short novella finds Jack Reacher as a young 16-year-old), 2013
- Never Go Back, 2013 – second movie adaptation with Tom Cruise
- Not a Drill, 2014
- Personal, 2014
- Small Wars, 2015 (short story)
- Make Me, 2015
- Night School, 2016
- The Midnight Line, 2017
- Yesterday, 2018
Lee Child has also written two further short stories that were published in 2011 in one book called James Penney’s New Identity/Guy Walks Into a Bar. Guy Walks Into A Bar is set shortly before the happenings in Gone Tomorrow, which makes the novella book #12.5 in chronological order, while James Penney’s New Identity features Jack still in the Army as a captain.
Where else does Jack Reacher appear in books?
I was quite surprised a while back to learn that Jack Reacher appeared in books of other authors, including Stephen King in his book Under the Dome. Diane Capri has also written a series called The Hunt for Jack where Reacher is mentioned quite a lot, although he never actually appears in the books as a character.
Jack Reacher Books in Chronological Order
If you want to catch up to the chronological order of the Jack Reacher books, you should start with The Enemy (which is book #8 in publication order and was written in 2004). The book chronologically covers the very end of the time Jack Reacher was in the military, and it transitions into the first book written, Killing Floor.
In addition, Persuader has a few flashbacks to Jack Reacher’s military career, but as for reading the book, you can easily read it in the regular publication order.
Also, some of the short stories should be read before Killing Floor. In the novella Second Son, Jack Reacher is merely 13, and in High Heat, Reacher is a 16-years-old teenager.
Born in 1954 in Coventry England, Lee Child (a pen name for the British author James Grant) moved to at the age of 4 to Birmingham He went to law school where he graduated, but never really practiced law.
Instead, he went to work the Granada TV in Manchester, where he worked for 18 years before he was downsized in 1995. This is when he decided to try his hands at writing. And it ended up being the best decision of his career ever. Reading the Jack Reacher novels in order proves this very point.
His very first book, a Jack Reacher novel, was Killing Floor, published in 1995. It was also the book that started me on my journey of discovering this great author with his enigmatic character.
In 1998 Lee Child moved to the US where he continued writing his Jack Reacher series, where he met his wife, Jane. He currently lives in New York with his wife and his already grown daughter. A fun trivia I was pleased to read about – he dedicated A Wanted Man (published in 2012) to his wife.
So who is Jack Reacher? He is a drifter who loves to hitchhike or go by bus, and who never wears a watch – yet invariably knows the exact time of day or night any time you ask him. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘drifter’ though. He knows well the art of fighting, he knows how to defend himself and anyone else around him that needs defending. Especially a good-looking damsel in distress.
Have you noticed most of the Jack Reacher book covers have that lone character depicted somewhere walking on a road? I find it kind of sad, Jack Reacher always choosing to be and leave alone after finishing the current job.
All Jack Reacher novels have a beginning and an end, meaning that reading the Jack Reacher books in order is not really a must. There are no loose ties left at the end of a novel. Wherever he is at the moment, Jack solves the case, saves the needy and terminates the threat – and then moves on to another part of the country he wants to visit.
However, if you do want to read the Jack Reacher books in order, you get to learn more about Jack Reacher in every subsequent novel – about his past, his brother, his demons and why he quit the Army Military Police Force to go around the country investigating situations that can get dangerous to people who can’t protect themselves.
A small trivia about the author Lee Child – every year he starts his new novels on September 1. This was the very date when he first purchases the paper and the pen he used to write his debut novel, Killing Floor.
So how many books has Lee Child written so far? Well, his Reacher series currently includes 22 main books and several short stories. The latest short story is titled The Midnight Line, published in 2017. The new Jack Reacher book published in 2018 will be titled Yesterday.
Currently, there are two Lee Child Jack Reacher movies available starring Tom Cruise, the last one released in November 2016.
Below you will find the Jack Reacher novels in order publication, with the Jack Reacher chronology listed in brackets next to each book.
Short Stories and Anthologies of Jack Reacher in Order
- James Penney’s New Identity, 1999 – included in Fresh Blood 3 (a pre-Killing Floor Jack Reacher).
- Like A Charm, 2004 – author wrote chapter 6
- Ten Keys, 2005 – included in The Cocaine Chronicles
- The Greatest Trick of All, 2005 – included in Greatest Hits
- Safe Enough, 2005 – included in MWA Presents Death Do Us Part
- The .50 Solution, 2006 – included in Bloodlines: A Horse Racing Anthology
- The Chopin Manuscript, 2007 – author wrote Chapter 15
- Public Transportation, 2009 – published in Phoenix Noir
- The Copper Bracelet, 2009 – author wrote one chapter.
- The Line Up, 2010 – short story about the origins of Reacher
- Me and Mr. Rafferty, 2010 – published in The Dark End of the Street
- Section 7 (a) (Operational), 2010 – published in Agents of Treachery
- Addicted to Sweetness, 2011 – published in MWA Presents The Rich and the Dead
- The Bone-Headed League, 2011 – published in A Study In Sherlock (2011)
- I Heard a Romantic Story, 2012 – published in Love is Murder
- Everyone Talks, 2012 – published in Esquire (features Reacher)
- My First Drug Trial, 2013 – published in The Marijuana Chronicles
- Public Transportation, 2013 – published in USA Noir
- Good and Valuable Consideration, 2014 – published in FaceOff
- Wet with Rain, 2014 – published in Belfast Noir
- The Picture of the Lonely Diner, 2015 – published in MWA Presents Manhattan Mayhem