Lee Child: Meet the Man Behind the Bestselling Series, “Jack Reacher”

AUTHOR

Lee Child

British Thriller Novelist

Lee Child is a renowned British thriller novelist and an Anthony Award winner for Best First Novel. He is best known for his Jack Reacher novels. Learn more about his life, career, and complete body of work.

Lee Child is a renowned British thriller novelist and an Anthony Award winner for Best First Novel. His novels revolve around the adventures of a former American military policeman, Jack Reacher. 

Life and Career

James Dover Grant CBE, better known by his pen name Lee Child, is a renowned British author who writes thriller novels. He is best known for his Jack Reacher novels. His debut novel, Killing Floor won several awards, including the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel. 

Grant was born in 1954 in Coventry, England. When Grant was four, his parents decided to make the move to Handsworth Wood in Birmingham to give Grant and his three brothers a better education. Grant attended the Orchard Primary School in Handsworth Wood until he was eleven. Later, Grant won a scholarship to King Edward’s School in Birmingham; the same school that celebrated writers, Enoch Powell and J.R.R. Tolkien also attended. He was active in the school’s theater group, and also helped out backstage at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre for several years. However, at the University of Sheffield, Grant chose to study law, not drama. 

After graduating, he took a technical-assistant position with Granada Television, one of the country’s broadcast networks. He was hired, and soon moved to Manchester with his American-born wife, Jane, who he had met in college. Grant rose through the ranks at Granada and eventually became a television presentation director. His resume included acclaimed projects, such as Cracker, Brideshead Revisited, and Prime Suspect. Unfortunately, Grant lost his job at Granada in the mid-1990s as a result of corporate restructuring.

However, what many would see as a crisis, Grant looked upon as a great opportunity. After losing his job, Grant bought six dollars’ worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write his debut novel, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series. Killing Floor was an immediate success, winning several awards, including the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel. 

A year after the publication of Killing Floor, Grant moved to the United States where he currently lives with his wife in New York State. They have a daughter, Ruth. 

In collaboration with fourteen other writers, Grant produced The Chopin Manuscript in 2007. The 17-part serial thriller was broadcast every week on Audible.com. In 2008, Grant took up a Visiting Professorship at the University of Sheffield where he also funded 52 Jack Reacher scholarships for students. In 2009, Grant was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America.

Grant has received numerous awards acknowledging the success of his novels. Some of the awards he has received include Dilys, Macavity, and Barry Awards for Killing Floor (1997), WH Smith Thumping Good Read Award for Die Trying (1998), Ian Flemming Steel Dagger and Dilys Awards for Without Fail (2002), Ian Flemming Steel Dagger Award for Persuader (2003), and Dilys Award for The Enemy (2004). He also received The Bob Kellogg Good Citizen Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Internet Writing Community in 2005 and The Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement by the Crime Writers’ Association in 2013. 

Lee Child Net Worth

Lee Child has sold over 100 million books, making him one of the world’s most successful crime writers. He has a reported net worth of around $50 million. 

Lee Child Books List (Lee Child Books in Order)

Lee Child is best known for the series of books featuring Jack Reacher. The series has several novels, and Jack Reacher also appears in all his solo novels. Moreover, Lee Child has contributed to several short story collections which are also listed below. 

Lee Child Jack Reacher Series

  • Killing Floor (1997)
  • Die Trying (1998)
  • Tripwire (1999)
  • Running Blind / The Visitor (2000)
  • Echo Burning (2001)
  • Without Fail (2002)
  • Persuader (2003)
  • The Enemy (2004)
  • One Shot (2005)
  • The Hard Way (2006)
  • Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
  • Nothing to Lose (2008)
  • Gone Tomorrow (2009)
  • 61 Hours (2010)
  • Worth Dying For (2010)
  • The Affair (2011)
  • A Wanted Man (2012)
  • Never Go Back (2013)
  • Personal (2014)
  • Make Me (2015)
  • Night School (2016)
  • The Midnight Line (2017)
  • Past Tense (2018)
  • Blue Moon (2019)

Jack Reacher Short Stories

  • Second Son (2011)
  • Deep Down (2012)
  • High Heat (2013)
  • Not a Drill (2014)
  • Small Wars (2015)
  • The Christmas Scorpion (2018)

Jack Reacher Collections

  • No Middle Name (2017)

Harold Middleton Books

  • The Chopin Manuscript (2007) 
  • The Copper Bracelet (2010) 

Standalone Novels

  • Inherit the Dead (2013)

Short Story Collections

  • Like A Charm (2005)
  • Greatest Hits: Hitmen, Hired Guns and Private Eyes (2006)
  • Thriller Stories To Keep You Up All Night (2007)
  • The Best British Mysteries IV (2007)
  • The Dark End of the Street (2010)
  • The Cocaine Chronicles (2011)

Anthologies

Killer Year: A Criminal Anthology (2008)

The Best American Mystery Stories 2010 (2010)

First Thrills (2011)

Vengeance (2012)

MatchUp (2017)

Other Uncollected Short Stories

Grant has also written several uncollected short stories, including: 

  • “The Snake Eater by the Numbers”, chapter six from serialized novel Like a Charm 
  • “Ten Keys”, collected in The Cocaine Chronicles (2005)
  • “The Greatest Trick of All”, collected in Greatest Hits and in The Best British Mysteries IV (2007)
  • “Safe Enough”, collected in MWA Presents Death Do Us Part (2006)
  • “The .50 Solution”, collected in Bloodlines: A Horse Racing Anthology (2006)
  • Chapter 15 from the audio serialized novel The Chopin Manuscript (2007)
  • “Public Transportation”, collected in Phoenix Noir (2009)
  • One chapter from the audio serialized novel The Copper Bracelet (2009)
  • Story collected in The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Great Detectives, or The Line Up (2010), about Jack Reacher and his origins
  • “Me and Mr. Rafferty”, collected in The Dark End of the Street (2010)
  • “Section 7 (a) (Operational)”, collected in Agents of Treachery (2010)
  • “The Bodyguard”, collected in First Thrills (2010)
  • “Addicted to Sweetness”, collected in MWA Presents The Rich and the Dead (2011) 
  • “The Bone-Headed League”, collected in A Study In Sherlock (2011)
  • “I Heard a Romantic Story”, collected in Love is Murder (2012)
  • “My First Drug Trial”, collected in The Marijuana Chronicles (July 2013)
  • “Wet with Rain”, collected in Belfast Noir (November 2014)
  • “The Truth About What Happened”, collected in In Sunlight or In Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper (December 2016)
  • “Chapter 6: The Fortune Cookie” from novel Anatomy of Innocence (March 2017)
  • “Pierre, Lucien & Me”, collected in Alive in Shape and Color (December 2017)
  • “New Blank Document”, collected in It Occurs to Me that I am America (January 2018)
  • “Shorty and the Briefcase”, collected in Ten Year Stretch (April 2018)

Film and TV Adaptations 

Two of Grant’s novels in the Jack Reacher series, One Shot and Never Go Back, have been adapted into films. The first film, Jack Reacher (2012) was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie based on the novel, One Shot. Tom Cruise played the titular character, Jack Reacher. In 2016, another movie, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016), was made based on the novel Never Go Back. It was written by Edward Zwick, Richard Wenk, and Marshall Herskovitz and directed by Edward Zwick. Tom Cruise reprised the role of Jack Reacher. 

Jack Reacher may also be adapted into a television series. Lee Child said that there is a deal in place to turn the novels into a television series, and that there will be no more movies with Tom Cruise. Cruise also won’t star in the potential TV series; instead, the show will be portrayed by a new actor more befitting the burly, imposing character he created in the books. 

Amazon Studios will be producing the show along with Paramount Television and Skydance Television.

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