2 Ways to Read Jack Reacher Books in Order by Lee Child

Jack Reacher Books in Order

Whether you’ve seen a Jack Reacher film or picked up one of Lee Child’s books, you may be wondering about the best way to read the Jack Reacher books in order. The good news is, it’s fairly easy since every book can stand on its own.

What a relief!

Reading books in a series can be challenging to pick up a book and start reading, never knowing if you should have started somewhere else.

But Lee Child gives you the freedom to read as you like. Jack Reacher has 27 individual books and you can read them in any order. 

That said, you might still like some structure and help deciding the best way to read.

Now let’s dive into the list of Jack Reacher books in order.

Upcoming Jack Reacher Release: No Plan B (October 25, 2022)

2 Ways to Read Jack Reacher Books in Order

#1 Jack Reacher Books in Order of Publication

Publication order is the easiest way to read Lee Child’s Books in order to ensure you don’t get lost in between the journey.   

  1. Killing Floor (1997)
  2. Die Trying (1998)
  3. Tripwire (1999)
  4. Running Blind (2000) (Also published as The Visitor)
  5. Echo Burning (2001)
  6. Without Fail (2002)
  7. Persuader (2003)
  8. The Enemy (2004)
  9. One Shot (2005)
  10. The Hard Way (2006)
  11. Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
  12. Nothing to Lose (2008)
  13. Gone Tomorrow (2009)
  14. 61 Hours (Spring 2010)
  15. Worth Dying For (Fall 2010)
  16. Second Son (2011) (Short Story)
  17. The Affair (2011)
  18. Deep Down (2012) (Short Story)
  19. Everyone Talks (2012) (Short Story)
  20. A Wanted Man (2012)
  21. High Heat (2013) (Short Story)
  22. Never Go Back (2013)
  23. Not a Drill (2014) (Short Story)
  24. Personal (2014)
  25. Small Wars (2015) (Short Story)
  26. Make Me (2015)
  27. Night School (2016)
  28. No Middle Name (2017) (Short Story Collection)
  29. The Midnight Line (2017)
  30. The Christmas Scorpion (2018) (Short Story)
  31. Past Tense (2018)
  32. The Fourth Man (2019) (Short Story – No longer available)
  33. Blue Moon (2019)
  34. The Sentinel (2020)
  35. Better Off Dead (2021)
  36. No Plan B (October 25, 2022)

It is easy to tick off your reading journey from this order, unlike reading what you want without any order at all.

#2 Jack Reacher Books in Chronological Order

But if you’re the type of person that likes to read a story from Jack Reacher’s earliest days, you may prefer chronological order. However, since books aren’t dependent upon one another, there’s no real benefit to reading in either order. Pick what method works best for you.

  1. Second Son (2011) (Short Story)
  2. High Heat (2013) (Short Story)
  3. Deep Down (2012) (Short Story)
  4. Small Wars (2015) (Short Story)
  5. The Enemy (2004)
  6. Night School (2016)
  7. The Affair (2011)
  8. Killing Floor (1997)
  9. Die Trying (1998)
  10. Tripwire (1999)
  11. Running Blind (2000) (Also published as The Visitor)
  12. Echo Burning (2001)
  13. Without Fail (2002)
  14. Persuader (2003)
  15. One Shot (2005)
  16. The Hard Way (2006)
  17. Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
  18. Nothing to Lose (2008)
  19. Gone Tomorrow (2009)
  20. 61 Hours (Spring 2010)
  21. Worth Dying For (Fall 2010)
  22. A Wanted Man (2012)
  23. Everyone Talks (2012) (Short Story)
  24. Never Go Back (2013)
  25. Not a Drill (2014) (Short Story)
  26. Personal (2014)
  27. Make Me (2015)
  28. No Middle Name (2017) (Short Story Collection)
  29. The Midnight Line (2017)
  30. The Christmas Scorpion (2018)
  31. Past Tense (2018)
  32. The Fourth Man (2019) (Short Story – No longer available)
  33. Blue Moon (2019)
  34. The Sentinel (2020)
  35. Better Off Dead (2021)
  36. No Plan B (October 25, 2022)

Now that we’ve had a birds-eye view of the best way to read the Jack Reacher books in order, let’s answer a few Frequently Asked Questions.

Do I start with Killing Floor or The Enemy?

Killing Floor is the first Jack Reacher book in publication order, while The Enemy is the first Jack Reacher book in chronological order.

Personally, I started with Killing Floor, then read Die Trying before venturing back to The Enemy.

The Enemy actually falls 8th in publication order, so I could have held it off a lot longer. But I am the type of person that prefers to read in chronological order whenever possible without encountering spoilers.

I do feel that Killing Floor gives you a better picture of who Jack Reacher is and sets the tone for the series more. While The Enemy features a few characters and situations that are spoiled by Jack Reacher’s recollections in Killing Floor.

If you’re coming into the series fresh, having never read a Jack Reacher book before and you aren’t sure if you’re going to like it, then read Killing Floor first. I think it will hook you better.

If you know you’re going to commit to reading all the books, then start with The Enemy. Just understand that Jack Reacher is a loner and a drifter in the main series. This is the only entry with him active in the military.

Did Lee Child Retire?

Lee Child announced in January of 2020 that he would be retiring from writing and that his brother, Andrew Grant (taking the pen name Andrew Child), would be taking over the Jack Reacher series.

Lee Child intends to co-author the books with Andrew for a little while before completely handing over the reigns, but Andrew is doing most of the leg work.

So don’t worry Reacher fans, Andrew has had years of practice sounding like his older brother Lee and it’s nearly impossible to tell where one author ends and the other begins.

Summary of the Jack Reacher Books in Order

Killing Floor Jack Reacher Books in Order

1. Killing Floor

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Which is not much of a welcome.

But all Jack knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. And not lately.

But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

Die Trying Lee Child Books in Order

2. Die Trying

When a woman is kidnapped off a Chicago street in broad daylight, Jack Reacher is in the wrong place at the wrong time and he’s kidnapped with her. Chained together and racing across America toward an unknown destination, they’re at the mercy of a group of men demanding an impossible ransom.

Because Reacher’s female companion is worth more than he imagines. Now he has to save them both — from the inside out — or else die trying.

Tripwire Lee Child

3. Tripwire

Reacher’s anonymity in Florida is shattered by an investigator who’s come looking for him. But hours after his arrival, the stranger is murdered.

As he retraces the private investigator’s trail back to New York, Reacher is compelled to find out who was looking for him and why. He never expects the reasons to be so personal — and twisted.

The Visitor Jack Reacher

4. Running Blind / The Visitor

Across the country women are being murdered by a killer who leaves no evidence, no fatal wounds, no signs of struggle, and no clues to a motive. They are, truly, perfect crimes. In fact, the only thing that links the victims is the man they all knew: Jack Reacher.

Echo Burning Jack Reacher Books in Order

5. Echo Burning

Thumbing across the scorched West Texas desert, loner Jack Reacher has nowhere to go and all the time in the world to get there. Meanwhile, cruising the same stretch of two-lane blacktop is pretty Carmen Greer.

But for Reacher, the lift comes with a hitch. Carmen’s got a story to tell, and it’s a wild one. All about her husband, her family secrets, and a hometown that’s pure Gothic.

She’s also got a plan and Jack Reacher’s part of it. Before the sun sets, this ride could cost them both their lives.

Without Fail Lee Child Books in Order

6. Without Fail

Skilled, stealthy, and anonymous, Jack Reacher is the perfect man for the job: Assassinate the vice president of the United States. At least, he is theoretically.

The head of a high-level Secret Service security detail wants Reacher to find the holes in her system — and she wants him to find them fast. Because a group of desperate men already has the vice-president in its sights, and the group will stop at nothing to realize its objective.

The assassins have planned well, but they never planned on Jack Reacher.

Persuader Lee Child

7. Persuader

Jack Reacher lives for the moment. Without a home or without commitment, but with a burning desire to right wrongs — and rewrite his own agonizing past.

Meanwhile, DEA Susan Duffy is living for the future, knowing that she has made a terrible mistake by putting one of her own female agents into a death trap within a heavily guarded Maine mansion.

Staging a brilliant ruse, Reacher hurtles into the dark heart of a vast criminal enterprise. Trying to rescue an agent whose time is running out, Reacher enters a crime lord’s waterfront fortress. There he will find a world of secrecy and violence — and also confront some unfinished business from his own past.

The Enemy Lee Child Jack Reacher Books in Order

8. The Enemy

On New Year’s Day in 1990, as the Berlin Wall is coming down, a two-star general is found dead in a North Carolina Motel. His briefcase is missing, but nobody has any idea what was inside. Reacher has to control the situation, but it gets out of hand when the general’s wife gets killed too. The dominoes begin to fall apart after that.

Reacher is forced to question everything he once believed… About his family, his career, his loyalties, and also about himself. 

One Shot Jack Reacher

9. One Shot

Six shots. Five dead. And one heartland city thrown into a state of terror.

But within hours the cops have it solved: A slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man, James Barr, is adamant he is innocent and demands they find Reacher to prove so. 

There are good reasons why Reacher is the last person Barr would want to see. But when Reacher hears Barr’s own words, he understands. And then a slam-dunk case explodes.

Soon Reacher is teamed with a young defense lawyer who is working against her D.A. father and dueling with a prosecution team that has an explosive secret of its own. Like most things Reacher has known in life, this case is a complex battlefield. But, as always, in battle, Reacher is at his best.

The Hard Way Lee Child

10. The Hard Way

Jack Reacher was alone, the way he liked it, soaking up the hot, electric New York City night, watching a man cross the street to a parked Mercedes and drive it away. The car contained one million dollars in ransom money. And Edward Lane, the man who paid it, will pay even more to get his family back.

Lane runs a highly illegal soldiers-for-hire operation. He will use any amount of money and any tool to find his beautiful wife and child. And then he’ll turn Jack Reacher loose with a vengeance, because Reacher is the best man hunter in the world.

On the trail of a vicious kidnapper, Reacher is learning the chilling secrets of his employer’s past…and of a horrific drama in the heart of a nasty little war. He’s beginning to realize that Edward Lane is hiding something. Something dirty. Something big.

But Reacher also knows this: he’s already in way too deep to stop now.


Each of these books has gripping suspense that captures the reader’s mind from the first to the last page. Jack Reacher is one of the best characters you will ever encounter in these mystery murder stories. 

So, have you read Jack Reacher books in order? In what order did you read them? Or, have you recently discovered these intriguing books? What reading order are you planning to use? 

Let us know in the comments below. 

Looking for more books in order?

Check out my list of Louise Penny books in order.

2 thoughts on “2 Ways to Read Jack Reacher Books in Order by Lee Child

  1. I’m struggling a bit here….I want to read them in strict chronological order so do I read No middle name first, as recommended or The Enemy or The Killing Floor ? Please advise. Kind regards, Pete.

    1. No Middle Name is a series of short stories. They time hop all over the place and aren’t in strict chronological order. There are also stories that take place later after the other books.

      The Enemy is the first full book chronologically and then onto Killing Floor. There are shorts before that, though, in No Middle Name

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