Sep 4 2013 1:30pm

Why You Should Become a Reacher Creature: Loving Lee Child’s Jack Reacher

Killing Floor by Lee ChildHave you met Jack Reacher? Not the Jack Reacher that was in the Jack Reacher movie; no…not THAT guy. Because….sigh….No. He’s not Jack Reacher. I mean the Jack Reacher in the novels by Lee Child. He is the ultimate hero and heartbreaker and the next in his series of books is out this week. And if you haven’t met Jack Reacher yet, you need to.

Jack Reacher is the alpha male badass. Not A badass but THE badass. He’s a military brat who grew up all over the world in a Marine Corps family and became a Major in the Army Military Police Corps. His upbringing and career gave him a thirst for travel, an ability to fight, and a strong sense of justice. He left the military, but stayed on the road, a drifter who has a knack for finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or, depending on your perspective in the story, in the wrong place at the right time. Reacher seems incapable of walking way from a situation that doesn’t quite seem right, especially if there’s a woman at the center of it. He is a sucker for damsels in distress but, make no mistake; he comes through for the ladies who can take care of themselves, as well, and actually prefers them. Regardless of the woman, though, Reacher always finds a way to leave them satisfied. Yes, I do mean what you think; Jack Reacher swings a mighty big stick. And well.

Jack Reacher is a wanderer. He doesn’t have a fixed address. He travels lightly, usually only taking his toothbrush with him when he hits the road. He buys his clothes in surplus stores and stays in a lot of cheap motels. He doesn’t carry much money with him, doesn’t have a cell phone and couldn’t care less about putting down roots. He is upfront about who and how he is and doesn’t lead anyone on. And he still manages to charm nearly every woman in his path.

Now, it may not seem realistic that an admittedly broke bum who wears the same set of clothes for days at a time is a panty-dropper in these books but trust me, if you read the books, you’ll get it. He has certainly charmed me as a reader and if I had the ability to travel inside a book, I’d put myself in his path and take him home for a nice home cooked dinner. And some breakfast the next morning, too.

Never Go Back by Lee ChildPart of Jack’s charm is his refreshing honesty. You never have to wonder where you stand with him. He is truthful, almost to a fault, about his lifestyle and his lack of interest in a traditional life. In addition, Jack follows his hormones, not his heart. If he’s attracted to a woman, he lets her know. Again; refreshing! He has found all manner of ladies attractive in his travels. He doesn’t appear to discriminate. He likes old, young, short, tall, black, white, military, civilian, blonde, brunette; you name it, he’s sampled it. When reading about his exploits, you feel like you’d have a chance with him, too. And who doesn’t want that when reading about a hero? His books are not romance novels, but it’s hard not to fall for the guy anyway.

Though his stories are not romances he’s had two arcs in his books that could be considered romantic in nature. The first involved the daughter of one of his superiors in the Army. She was still an adolescent when they initially met each other so she was not on his radar at all. But when they meet again later in their lives, things are different. The second arc involves a woman whom Jack has only ever heard on the phone. They’ve never met, but just her voice compelled him to hitchhike across the country to meet her and spend some time with her. Reacher’s quest to meet this woman has spanned three books so far. He finally reaches his destination in Never Go Back but, as usual, there are complications.

Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had. Reacher is there to meet—in person—the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone. But it isn’t Turner behind the CO’s desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal even to think about.

The three other books in this arc are 61 Hours, Worth Dying For and A Wanted Man. I highly recommend reading the entire series (the first book in the series is Killing Floor), but if you want to get to the newest one quickest, just read the others in the arc. And then go back and read the rest. I, for one, can’t wait to see how it turns out for him and Susan. I hope he gets the girl. Again.

For more Jack Reacher, be sure to visit H&H's sister crime and mystery site,, for posts like Portrait of the Reacher as a Young Man and Does Jack Reacher Have Bad Sex?


Pen Singleton is a writer, reader, obsessive fangirl and pop culture addict. You can find her on Twitter @sweetiepiepen or fangirl with her on Tumblr

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Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
What I like best about Reacher is what also makes him so slippery--his inability to commit, to put down roots. So I think he'd be good for a weekend of reaching high things from shelves and other type of work, but not for anything at all long-term.
2. scarlettleigh
MFrampton, I agree that I don't think Jack can ever be domesticated.
Lori K
4. LoriK
Never Go Back is sitting next to my bed right now. As soon as I get home I'll crack it open & then the hard part will be not staying up all night to finish it.
Pen Singleton
5. PenSingleton
I'm ok with Jack not being domesticated; I like him just the way he is. i think. :-)
8. janet_schneider
Great post! Love Reacher, and love the Susan Turner arc. Favorite quirk: how he literally carries no baggage...just buys a new set of clothes as needed, and puts his old one in the trash. Although Daniel Silva now has Gabriel Alon doing the same, sort of, in The English Girl, and David Baldacci's John Puller is a close second, there's only one Jack Reacher.
10. Somme
The Killing Floor it is then - thank you for answering my question 'are his books stand alones, or do I need to go back?' - go back I do, and in concert to your 'creature' call' I can't wait to be satisfied :) I feel a little silly for not having picked up on Child's books sooner, but grateful also to Elaine Charles (Book report radio show) for introducing me to the author. The nice thing now (sorry for the unwarrented gloating), is that I have 18 books to read and won't have to wait for the sequel of 'Never go back'. Tx ;)
11. J Styles
If you like the "old Reacher", have you tried Max Winter in; "The Impossible Trinity"?
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