Author Lee Child has now written 26 books based on the adventures of Jack Reacher, a mysterious ex-army major who wanders through the U.S. solving mysteries and fighting bad guys. His books have sold over 60 million copies.
The characters are complex and the storylines action-packed, with an addictive writing style that you will have a hard time peeling your eyes away from.
If you haven’t checked out this popular series and would like to start, check out our list of the best Jack Reacher books on our list.
Lee Child is a great example of a fiction writer who creates accessible, compelling stories that are instantly engaging to almost anyone.
Here are some things that make this series so easy to love.
The Character. Reacher is an outcast. He is part bad boy, part mystery, and part hero, a compelling mix of characteristics that we relate to, and yet feel so far away from, that we stay fascinated with, no matter where Child takes us plot-wise.
The Setting. This book recounts what it would be like in a lawless society. If you love a good old-fashioned western, you will love the types of plots and action sequences that unravel through this modern version of a traditional western.
The Hero’s Journey. Part of what makes these books so compelling is that they follow the path of the Hero’s Journey, the typical framework for all great stories: a character has a call to adventure, faces many challenges, and returns somehow transformed.
Get to Know Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher is the quintessential cowboy-type character, revered for his toughness, intelligence, and mystery. Here’s a little more about him.
Jack Is a Drifter. Like James Bond, John Wick or Jason Bourne, Jack is a drifter who floats from town to town, never stopping to commit but always solving the case. He doesn’t carry any luggage and replaces his clothes when they get dirty.
He lives the kind of wild, footloose life that many of us dream of (minus the violence, of course), and he thinks for himself.
Jack Is Complex. Jack is an ex-army man and solves tough crime in difficult situations. He does anything to get the case solved, even kill people—even though he doesn’t even carry a gun.
With each book, we see more and more of his character be unveiled, just as we would be we getting to know a secretive or reserved person. It is partly this mystery that keeps us moving through the books at a super-fast pace.
Jack Is Unpredictable. Jack wants justice, but at what cost? The plot twists and turns keep us continually guessing at what he will do next. He is certainly unpredictable, which is what makes him so fascinating.
While many cite The Killing Floor as his best work (and it’s definitely one of the better ones), it’s clear that Lee Child took some special care with man hunter Jack Reacher and his moral competence and ethical decisions in book 10 of the Jack Reacher series.
We discover here just how bad Reacher can be in this compelling story about our lone hero. Through the plot, the reader is intrigued about who is the actual the bad guy. Here’s a serious page-turner that won’t let you down, whether you have read the other books or not.
This book proves Lee Child is a spectacular author in his ability to develop Reacher even more than w ever thought possible. We are discovering new things about this character every day, and stay fascinated at each trait reveal and plot twist.
The complexity of the storytelling is impressive considering just how easy and accessible the whole package is.
The 11th book of the Reacher series is equally as strong as the 10th, which is why it stands high on our list of best Jack Reacher books. In this one, Reacher continues with his lone wolf antics, sent to investigate a crazy conspiracy.
As usual, his determination and focus draw us in deep from the first few pages, as does his capacity to make his own way and rules through disastrous and complex adventures. This book is very entertaining and gives us a glimpse of some of the other relationships in Reacher’s past and present life.
We also see Reacher flawed here as he begins to come to terms with what his footloose and secretive lifestyle really means— it kind of messes with his capacity to have meaningful, lasting relationships.
Again, with this book, we see new sides to his story which keeps things fascinating and en pointe.
One Shot makes our list of one of the best Jack Reacher books because of the setting in a dirty and empty America.
This is book 9, and we start to really dig deep with the loner character of Reacher. He’s kicking butt with the best of them as usual, but when new characters are introduced, we learn more of his life and approach through his unpredictable adventures.
We know that Reacher is strong and steadfast, and no one can mess with him. We see this in his wit and intensely witty, scrappy dialogue which Lee by now has taken to a fine art.
Descriptive and tense but with enough emotion rolling through the books that you won’t get stuck on any particular part, or want to put the book down, either.