Jack Reacher

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search

A series of novels by British-born Lee Child, about ex-Military Policeman Jack Reacher, Walking the Earth after mustering out from over a decade of service. A Military Brat, having spent his younger years being posted all round the world, he decides to get a closer look at his home country. On his journeys across America he stumbles across his fair share of forgers, smugglers, gun runners, drug dealers and assassins. He then proceeds to sit down with each of them in turn and have civilized discussions -over a lovely cup of tea- why they really should stop all this unpleasant business and whatnot.

The Hollywood Bluster except in book form, this series is a fun Guilty Pleasure. While Reacher can come across as an unapologetic Marty Stu, Child tends to give you a decent plot with more than a few twists in it, typically ending it all with fast paced and well written shootout.

Needs a Better Description


  • Amateur Sleuth: Not really, as Reacher spent over a decade as a decorated and skilled investigative MP, but since mustering out he's technically "amateur".
  • Author Catchphrase: "Reacher said nothing." Seriously, Child has got that macroed.
    • Also, "That's for damn sure."
  • Badass: Reacher is Badass Incarnate
  • The Big Guy: Reacher stands at 6ft'5, and is built like a brick wall.
  • Blue Eyes: Of the "piercing and icy" variety.
  • Busman's Holiday: In his never ending sightseeing journey of USA, Reacher stumbles into more than a few conspiracies and criminals. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In The Killing Floor, Reacher just happens to wander into the town his brother was very recently murdered in.
  • Determinator
  • Did Not Get the Girl: At least occasionally. For example, in Die Trying, while Reacher and Holly Johnson have a clear attraction and at one point engage in "Glad to Be Alive" Sex, she is in love with someone else and moves in with (and probably marries) him at the end of the novel. Reacher himself just wants her to be happy, though he’s more than a little disappointed about it.
  • Domestic Abuse: Echo Burning.
  • Girl of the Week: Each book tends to have Reacher teaming up with a young, attractive woman, who he inevitably sleeps with (although to Child's credit, a curveball is thrown once or twice).
  • It's Personal: Some of the cases he looks into directly involve things from his military days that leads to Reacher doing everything to kill the bad guy. The Killing Floor has the death of his brother, the deaths of the former members of his squad in Bad Luck and Trouble, and sighting the bad guy he thought dead in the Persauder, and he was on his way to kill the fall guy in One Shot when he ran into the conspiracy set up by the Russian.
  • Last-Name Basis: He is known as Reacher, by everyone. One person managed to use this as a warning.
  • Orgy of Evidence: In One Shot, this is what the case against James Barr becomes. However, what makes Reacher suspicious is not the amount of evidence, but that the investigative team thought to look for a clue that they had no reason to believe existed.
  • The Profiler: Reacher can track people by their patterns of behavior.
    • Subverted in Bad Luck and Trouble when his former sergeant profiled him better than he profiled her and was waiting on him at the Denny's.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic/Crazy Survivalist: The main villains of Die Trying.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: Played straight in One Shot.
  • Said Bookism: Averted. Even the Author Catchphrase has the word "said" in it. You can find "said" after countless lines of dialogue, ranging from questions to back-and-forth conversations.
  • Sherlock Scan: Reacher is pretty good at these, probably due to his wide range of experience as a former military policeman. More than one reviewer has described him as a sort of modern-day Sherlock Holmes.
  • Shown Their Work: While the books are not infallible, Child has strong knowledge of the military and its strategy, and lets you know it.
  • Super Detailed Fight Narration: pretty much without exception. Every fight scene in the series will take at least three times as long to read out loud as it would take to occur.
  • Super Dickery: The beginning of Persuader.
  • Title Drop/ Justified Title: Every novel in the series.
  • Tropes Are Not Bad: There's no way a Marty Stu could result in an enjoyable read for any reason besides So Bad It's Good. Right?
  • Why We're Bummed Communism Fell: The collapse of the Berlin Wall is a major plot point in The Enemy. The cutbacks that followed in subsequent years are the implied reason Reacher left.
    • Subverted - the actual reason is given in 61 Hours; Reacher built up a case against a general who had been selling food supplies that should have gone to his troops in the Gulf. The general laughed at him and got his skull broken complete with a six month coma. Only the strength of the case saved Reacher from outright discharge, but his commanding days were over.