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Top 10 Jack Reacher Books

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I can’t remember the first time I read a Jack Reacher novel. Which is weird – because I can’t even think of my life WITHOUT Jack Reacher books.

I’ve no idea what led me to the Reacher books at all – some random online recommendation I guess. What’s came from that however is one of the best book series I’ve ever read. I anxiously await each new installment and book time off work just to read them. I’ve read through the series 3-4 times(3 times for every book, 4 times for my favourite books) and just can’t get enough of it. I’ve even suffered through the movie twice.

As he is one of my favourite book characters, I felt for a top list this week I should write my Top 10 Jack Reacher Novels.

#10: The Enemy

This one visits the past, going back to 1990 and Reachers days as a military cop. While the ending sort of fizzles out, the story is still great and Lee Child does a great job at making you picture everything. The mystery is solid, and it was nice to go back and visit Reacher in the early days, prior to leaving the military.

#9: One Shot

The one that spawned the movie, with that great quote “Get me Jack Reacher”. An excellent mystery, and some great scenes such as the Reacher bar scene make for a thrilling ride.

#8: Worth Dying For

The “sequel” or second part to 61 hours. Reacher kills a guy by punching him in the heart so hard his heart stops. Need I say more? A much more violent and action-packed novel, but which still leads to a very nice and emotional ending.

#7: The Affair

One thing that impresses me about Lee Child is how well he is able to write different types of books. He can write great thrillers, great mysteries and great action packed books. This one however is a bit more light-hearted, and actually has a fair amount of humour in it. I remember laughing quite a bit reading this. There’s a great mystery behind it too. Plus holy crap does Reacher have a lot of sex in this book – making up for the last couple of books where he never got any action.

#6: 61 Hours

The “61 hours” concept was just fantastic. I thought I read Jack Reacher books fast – but this one I finished in about 61 minutes! I just couldn’t put it down, with that countdown pushing you in. The plot setup is excellent, and this is among the upper echelon of Jack Reacher novels.

#5: Bad Luck and Trouble

As a stand-alone novel it wouldn’t crack the top 5; but having read all of the other Reacher books this one is a nice change, and I’ve always liked it more because of that. Reacher is not the lone wolf here – teaming up with some of his old Military buddies. Plus it has one of the most memorable scenes on the sidewalk where the guy pulls out his gun to shoot Reacher. Lee Childs writing of that scene is right up there with Stephen Hunters early writings of Bob Lee Swagger.

#4: The Hard Way

There’s something about this book I’ve always loved. I think it’s how it starts – Reacher, going back to a cafe for coffee for the second time in a row. And then a whirlwind of storyline erupts from that which takes us all the way across the ocean. I always liked the end scene in this as well – just some excellent character writing in The Hard Way.

#3: Running Blind

A controversial choice, as I know many people who hate this book! I’ve always loved it though. I thought this was Child at his best in terms of mystery writing, with a fantastic red herring that hooked me. This is one of those whodunnits that even though I know how it ends – I still go back and read it time and time again.

#2: Killing Floor

It’s amazing to think how far the Jack Reacher character has evolved, yet Killing Floor set up a tremendous base for him. To think this was Lee Childs debut novel back in 1997, yet all this time later it still stands up. Just fantastic writing, and it’s no wonder it won so many awards.

#1: Persuader

I’m a very easy going guy, and I respect other peoples opinion. Except when it comes to the best Jack Reacher novel of all time – because that one is Persuader without a shadow of a doubt.

Rather than explain it, I’ll just provide what is my favourite quote from any Reacher novel:

I kicked him in the kidney. It was the kind of kick that would have sent a football out of the stadium and into the parking lot. It would have cracked a utility pole. It would have put most guys in the hospital all by itself. It would have killed some of them. It had about as much effect on Paulie as a polite tap on the shoulder. He didn’t even make a noise. He just put both hands on the door frame and slowly pushed himself upright. Turned around to face me.

“Relax Major,” he said. “Just my way of saying good morning to the lady.”

Good old Paulie. See the full list of Jack Reacher Books and let me know what your favourite Jack Reacher books were below in the comments.

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22 Responses to “Top 10 Jack Reacher Books”

  1. BJ BREWER: 1 year ago

    Big fan. Read 30+ of his books – but “61 hours” was almost painful to listen to. So much unnecessary filler it was incredible. The old Reader’s Digest condensed books could have shortened this thing by 60-70%. I appreciate descriptive writing but the redundancy was inexplicable.

  2. Connie: 2 years ago

    I started with the first season of Reacher on Amazon Prime. I never watched any movies with Tom Cruise and probably won’t. But ran down to my local library and started taking out Reacher books two at a time in no particular order. I am hooked. Read my first one on vacation this June. Now on my 4th book….which happens to be Trip Wire. I am not into the violence but enjoy Reacher’s character and investigative skills…plus his hook ups are nice too. I have enjoyed Robert P. Parker’s mysteries and like the strong, tall, sexy characters he and Childs write about. Alan Ritchson on the TV series is perfect.

  3. Joan: 2 years ago

    I agree with size factor of casting Tom Cruise as Reacher, but I cannot think of a better actor to play the part. Cruise has proven himself capable many times over. The TV character looks like Reacher but he cannot act.

  4. Jonathan Trotter: 5 years ago

    My fave is the Killing Floor as it was the first one I read, loved The Enemy, but I enjoy all of them equally

    • Freddie: 5 years ago

      Personally my best one is the killing floor and the second one is Tripwire then Gone Tomorrow

      • Andy: 2 years ago

        Only coverted this year.
        Killing Floor and One Shot best I’ve read so far.
        Only read 6 so far.

  5. Jonathan Trotter: 5 years ago

    Running blind? Never heard of that one and I thought I had read them all, more than once I might add.

    • Name (required): 2 years ago

      It’s The Visitor. It’s called Running Blind in every country but the UK.

  6. Donatella Detruth: 5 years ago

    I’m a relative newcomer to the series, but I sure liked The Midnight Line!

  7. Norm Gilchrist Jr.: 6 years ago

    I did not know there was any kind of controversy surrounding Running Blind. Right now that is my favorite (I am reading through the series and just got to One Shot). What have been some of the complaints?

  8. Max Hofer: 7 years ago

    I agree with ‘Persuader’ being the best novel. However, I do think ‘Die Trying’ and ‘Bad Luck and Trouble’ should be on this list.

    This is my favorite quotes vom ‘Persuader’: “I don’t care about the little guy. I just hate the big guy. I hate big smug people who think they can get away with things.”

    I think it sums up perfectly what Jack Reacher is about.

  9. Chet: 7 years ago

    I like your list. I would put One Shot higher… dare I say 2nd. Also, I definitely think “A Wanted Man” should be on the list.

  10. Tete_Sandra: 7 years ago

    Does it bother anyone else but me that Tom Cruise has been the person cast as Jack Reacher in the movies? I get the action part, but come on Jack Reacher is tall and has to slouch down not to stand out in a crowd….not stand on his tip toes to see over the crowd. (I enjoy Tom Cruise’s movies, really I do……but can’t bear to see him portray Reacher.)

    • Nate: 7 years ago

      Actually, my introduction to Jack Reacher was the movie Jack Reacher. Since then I’ve read the 20 or so books but I still can’t visualize the 6’5″ giant Reacher.
      5’7″ Tom Cruise is the same height as me, so I take a perverse pleasure of seeing the little guy put the bad guy down with an elbow to the temple.

    • Jonathan Trotter: 5 years ago

      How many 6’5 actors are out there? Despite his size I thought he did ok portraying Jack.

    • Freddie: 5 years ago

      Same here, not sure if you noticed as well but in Jack Reachers bio usually at the front it has his personal details and career etc in the old One Shot books it has his height in new ones it is missing since Tom Cruise played him. I won’t watch the movie as a protest!

  11. Musaiyab Mirza: 8 years ago

    Tbh, I liked Personal better, I found the Little Joey fight scene to be better.

  12. Tor Ivan Boine: 9 years ago

    what? did you read 400 pages in 60 minutes? that’s almost 7 pages/minute. or 8.5 second pr page

    • TheOppai_Guy: 8 years ago

      I’m sure he didn’t mean it literally xD

  13. gene muller: 9 years ago

    I would have to say persuader is my number 1 i dont know why but its the one i read over and over again

  14. Lambertus Oosterveen: 9 years ago

    Hi, what can you say about his new book Personal?


    • Graeme: 9 years ago

      I enjoyed it. Not enough for it to crack the top 10 though but Personal is still a solid book. I appreciated the effort to create a “Paulie” like character – but I feel the book wouldn’t be as good upon re-reading.


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