Jack Reacher Novels In Order

The Jack Reacher novels in order by the popular thriller author 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 his debut novel Killing Floor, the first book in the Jack Reacher series, at least in publication order.

Below you will find the Jack Reacher books in order of publication with synopsis inside each book link and with the chronology listed in brackets next to each novel.

New Jack Reacher Books

The Christmas Scorpion

The Christmas Scorpion (Jack Reacher #22.5), 2018

Past Tense

Past Tense (Jack Reacher #23), 2018












Jack Reacher Novels In Order

  1. Killing Floor (#1), 1997
  2. Die Trying (#2),  1998
  3. Tripwire (#3), 1999
  4. The Visitor (#4), 2000 – also under the name of Running Blind
  5. Echo Burning (#5), 2001
  6. Without Fail (#6), 2002
  7. Persuader (#7), 2003
  8. The Enemy (#8), 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)
  9. One Shot (#9), 2005 – this is the novel that prompted the first movie adaptation in 2012 with Tom Cruise
  10. The Hard Way (#10), 2006
  11. Bad Luck And Trouble (#11), 2007
  12. Nothing To Lose (#12), 2007
  13. Gone Tomorrow (#13), 2009
  14. 61 Hours (#14), 2010
  15. Worth Dying For (#15), 2010
  16. 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
  17. The Affair (#16) – the second book in chronological order, following The Enemy, and 6 months before the events happening in Killing Floor, 2011
  18. Deep Down  (#16.5) – the story is set early in Reacher’s military career, back in 1986, 2012
  19. A Wanted Man (#17), 2012
  20. High Heat (#17.5) – this short novella finds Jack as a young 16-year-old, 2013
  21. Never Go Back (#18), 2013 – second movie adaptation with Tom Cruise
  22. Not a Drill (#18.8), 2014
  23. Personal (#19), 2014
  24. Small Wars (#19.5), 2015 (short story)
  25. Make Me (#20), 2015
  26. Night School (#21), 2016
  27. The Midnight Line (#22), 2017
  28. The Christmas Scorpion (#22.5), 2018
  29. Past Tense (#23), 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.

Other Jack Reacher Books

  • Jack Reacher’s Rules, 2011 (non-fiction)
  • Public Transportation, 2014 (novella)
  • Good and Valuable Consideration, 2014 (novella)
  • James Penney’s New Identity, 2017 (novella)
  • I Heard a Romantic Story, 2018 (novella)
  • Faking a Murderer, 2018 (novella)

What are Some of the Best Jack Reacher Books?

With 22 books published so far and a 23rd Jack Reacher book titled Past Tense coming out later this year, this question is bound to come up in the thriller reading circles. Some people (like me) are addicted to reading the Lee Child novels, while others want to sample only the best. To each their own.

To those readers who do not want to start the Jack Reacher series from the first book but want to read the best novels right away, here is my personal list of Jack Reacher books. I say personal because tastes differ from one person to the other. Having read all the books in the series, these are my best Jack Reacher books to start with:

  1. Killing Floor
  2. Persuader
  3. Running Blind
  4. Worth Dying For
  5. One Shot
  6. Bad Luck and Trouble
  7. The Enemy
  8. 61 Hours
  9. The Hard Way
  10. Night School

Which are your most favorite books in the series?

Reading the Jack Reacher Novels in Order of Publication or Chronological Order?

If you want to catch up to the chronological order of 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 was in the military, and it transitions into the first book written, Killing Floor.

In addition, Persuader has a few flashbacks to 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 is merely 13, and in High Heat, he is a 16-years-old teenager.

Where Else Does Jack Reacher Appear in Books?

I was quite surprised a while back to learn that 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.

Lee Child author

About Lee Child

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, Lee Child 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.

Killing FloorHis very first book 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 book covers have that lone character depicted somewhere walking on a road? I find it kind of sad, the character always choosing to be and leave alone after finishing the current job.

All the stories 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.

The Midnight Line

However, if you do want to read the Jack Reacher books in order, you get to learn more about our hero 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.

So how many Lee Child books in chronological order have been written so far? Well, the Lee Child bibliography for his Jack Reacher book series currently includes 22 main novels and several short stories. The latest short story is titled The Midnight Line, published in 2017. The new Jack Reacher book published in 2018, titled Past Tense.

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.

Currently, there are two Jack Reacher movies in order available starring Tom Cruise, the last one released in November 2016.

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7 Responses to “Jack Reacher Novels In Order”

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  1. Cliff Wright says:

    Dear Mr. Childs,
    I have read the majority of the Jack Reacher novels. You describe his height and weight yet somehow Tom Cruise is selected for the movie roll. Tom Cruise may do well in the Mission Impossible series BUT he is no Jack Reacher…not even close! I’ve seen the ‘Jack Reacher’ movie and it’s almost impossible to look at Tom trying to portray the part of your character. Just my 2 cents. Thank you for your books – they are very entertaining.

  2. Tannis Grugel says:

    After reading ” 61 Hours” I was devastated to think Reacher might be dead! You have no idea how happy I was when the next Reacher book came out!!

    • doodle says:

      I thought he was dead too….when next book came out, I hoped it would tell how he survived…..but did not find the answer……

  3. Moyia Potter says:

    I have enjoyed all the Lee Child stories of Jack Reacher have just finished 61 Hours. Is there a follow up to this one. Great books!
    It couldn’t end there for Jack I would be so disappointed!

  4. Sharon Falls says:

    I read each Reacher book as soon as it is released and then anticipate each new story. I love Jack Reacher as the “good guy” who always makes things right. I wish there were more. Several times, I have gone back and re-read them all one after another just to get my fix.

    • Ken Cook says:

      After reading all the Jack Reacher novels and wanting something more to read, I stumble on and would highly recommend David Baldacci’s books! See above Link.

  5. WOW! What a great, informative post! I’ve heard of Jack Reacher but didn’t know he wrote so many novels. I also like the idea that it doesn’t matter the order that one reads his books. Thanks for sharing.

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