Jack Reacher

Lee Child
Character Created by LEE CHILD

What do we know about Jack Reacher? He grew up on military bases all over the world. His father was a Marine officer, his mother was French. His older brother Joe went off to West Point first and worked in Military Intelligence, joining the Secret Service when he got out of the military. Jack attended West Point too, joined the Military Police. He was wounded in Beiruit, rescued a lot of other soldiers, won a Silver Star for his troubles. He reached the rank of Major before deciding he didn't want to be a part of the new downsized Army and left, becoming an aimless drifter. Which is where we meet him - on the road.

He is a huge guy at 6'5" and his weight fluctuates from around 210 to 250. I like seeing how his weight changes, which is why I make a note of it as I read. There is usually something in each book that makes me wonder if it's true or real, so I have to look it up. And I usually look up some of the guns mentioned. Things are usually true and real. Lee Child says he doesn't do much research, but then, how does he know all this stuff?

Anyway, in the table below, I have listed some things about each book. Be warned, there are spoilers. I have listed Reacher's weight and age and how long he has been out of the Army (if known at the time). The location where the majority of the book takes place, what job, if any, Reacher is working at. He invariably kills someone, so I have counted the number of people he has personally killed in each book (not just possibly killed or caused to be killed). Item refers to something I felt compelled to look up to see if it's true, with links to where you may be able to see for yourself.


The Killing Floor
  • WEIGHT: @210
  • AGE: Probably around 36, but it doesn't say.
  • TIME OUT: Six Months
  • LOCALE: Margrave, Georgia
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 14
  • ITEM(S): Blind Blake
  • OTHER: His older brother Joe is murdered.
  • COMMENT: After 13 years in the Army, assuming Reacher entered at age 18, he should be 31 years old. Or, if the four years at West Point are not counted in that 13, he should be 35. But evidently, he was 36. Makes me wonder.
MP Badge
An Army MP Badge like Reacher would have worn
Die Trying
  • WEIGHT: 220
  • AGE: 37
  • TIME OUT: 14 Months
  • LOCALE: Chicago & Montana
  • JOB?: Doorman at Blues Club
  • KILLS: 13
  • ITEM(S):
  • OTHER:
    • He hit his target at 1200 yards.
    • Military decorations include Silver Star, Two Bronze Stars and Purple Heart
  • COMMENT: I had never heard of the gun maker SIG Sauer and had to look it up. Evidently, it's a good gun, but ugly. Personally, I've always wanted a Heckler & Koch VP70. (There's a pic of one below)
Sig Sauer P226
The Sig Sauer P226
  • WEIGHT: 250
  • AGE: 38
  • TIME OUT: Two Years
  • LOCALE: Florida Keys & New York
  • JOB?: Digging swimming Pools
  • KILLS: 3
  • ITEM(S):
  • OTHER: He inherited a house in Garrison, NY and was wounded by a nail to the head and a .38 slug to the chest. OUCH!
  • COMMENT: Can't say I care all that much for Reacher's favourite painting. I've always favoured Jackson Pollock's "Lavender Mist" myself. (See below)
Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue
Piet Mondrian's Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue
Running Blind
  • WEIGHT: 230
  • AGE: About 39
  • TIME OUT: 3 Years
  • LOCALE: New York & Quantico
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 1
  • ITEM(S): Hypnotism in the FBI?
  • COMMENT: The FBI guys are really right bastards in this, but I don't think they would allow hypnotism in the Bureau.
Army Ribbons
Army Dress Uniform Ribbons for the Silver Star; Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster; and Purple Heart. I asked a friend of mine who had been in the Army what possible ribbons Reacher would have had and what we came up with is depicted down at the bottom of the page.
Echo Burning
  • WEIGHT: 250
  • AGE: ?
  • TIME OUT: ?
  • LOCALE: Echo, Texas
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 2
  • ITEM(S): Clay Allison's grave in Pecos
  • OTHER: Lorcin L-22 gun; HK P7M10 .40 caliber gun. As far as I can tell, the Lorcin L-22 was a small super cheapo weapon prone to melt down after firing a hundred rounds or so. Seems Lorcin went out of business in 1998 and I couldn't find much info on the web about this gun.
Clay Allison's Grave
Clay Allison's grave in Pecos
Without Fail
  • WEIGHT: 240, maybe 250
  • AGE: Probably 41
  • TIME OUT: 5 Years
  • LOCALE: Atlantic City to DC and beyond
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 1
  • ITEM(S): Vaime Mk2 rifle
  • OTHER: He has an FBI file, hasn't filed a tax return for 5 years and banks by phone, having given the bank a false address - namely that of the Pentagon.
Vaime Mk2 Rifle
The Vaime Mk2
  • WEIGHT: 250
  • AGE: About 42
  • TIME OUT: Six years
  • LOCALE: Boston to Portland
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 10
  • ITEM(S): Mossberg M500 Persuader Shotgun with Brenneke Ammo
  • OTHER:
    • Did you know a Colt revolver's cylinder rotates clockwise and a Smith & Wesson rotates counter-clockwise? I can personally verify that a Colt rotates clockwise, but I don't have a S&W to observe.
    • He says Redsox fans are weird. Hmph. I resemble that remark.
    • Halliburton Briefcases?
    • He plays Russian Roulette and pulls the trigger 6 damn times!
    • Lots of guns in this one: Colt Anaconda; Steyr SPP-Steyr TMP; Soviet PSM; HK MP5K - does it look futuristic?; VAL Silent Sniper rifles
  • COMMENT: He takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' in this one. Man, but does he take a beating! This one is told in the First Person again like the first one was.
The Persuader
The Mossberg Persuader

Brenneke Slug
A Brenneke Field Short Magnum Slug

Colt Anacondas
Two Colt Anacondas just like Reacher's

The Enemy
  • WEIGHT: 230
  • AGE: 29
  • TIME IN: "More than six years" - but surely closer to 7 or 8 than to 6 ...
  • LOCALE: Fort Bird, North Carolina
  • JOB?: Army MP
  • KILLS: 1 (But it's cooooold)
  • ITEM(S): 110th Special Unit HQ at Rock Creek, VA - as far as I can tell, there is no such unit ... So, did I finally catch him out? I asked my ex-MP friend to be sure and he said there is a 110th MP company (currently stationed in Korea with a platoon in Germany), but there is no such thing as a Special Unit, so I think it was just used for dramatic effect.
  • OTHER:
    • This is a flash back novel to New Years, 1990. when Reacher was still in the Army and it is once again told in the First Person POV, which I always like.
    • He lists the first two rows of his service ribbons here (see image right) The last two rows he calls "junk ribbons," but he definitely mentions FOUR rows, which means he has more ribbons than I gave him in my first attempt at figuring out possible ribbons for him. Especially as the Kuwait Liberation ribbons I gave him would not be there yet in 1990 when this story takes place. So, I've done a new interpretation below. Feel free to email me with suggestions or to tell me how impossibly wrong I am.
    • His mother dies in this one. Reacher and his brother, Joe, find out their mother was a hero of the French Resistance in WWII and received the Medaille de la Résistance.
    • His mother is buried in Pére-Lachaise cemetary and Reacher tosses his Silver Star Medal into the grave.
    • He is demoted from Major to Captain for a Brutality charge. Surprise!
Military Ribbons
First two rows of service ribbons

Sharpshooter Badge Silver Star Medal
An Expert Sharpshooter Badge like the one Reacher would have worn & A Silver Star Medal like the one he dropped into his mother's grave.

The Medaille de la Resistance Pere-Lachaise cemetary
The Medaille de la Résistance and the Pére-Lachaise cemetary. Click on the cemetary pic for a web site about it.

One Shot
ONE SHOT *****
  • WEIGHT: 250
  • AGE: 45
  • TIME OUT: 7 years
  • LOCALE: Indiana
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 3
  • ITEM(S): For aliases in this one, he is using Yankee Second Basemen.

    Now, this is all true. What the hell? Is Lee Child such a HUGE Yankee fan that he knows the whole line up from the 30's on?! Or did he research it? (she nods knowingly) Really! I used to be a HUGE Redsox fan - knew the line-up and batting averages ... But I haven't watched a game since Yaz retired and I sure as hell can't remember all that NOW!

  • OTHER: Sniper rifles feature in this one. A Springfield M1A Super Match autoloader, loaded with Lake City M852s. Yeah, means nothing to me. Wonder if my ex Army MP/Sniper friend will have anything to say about it?
    • He says in this that he has never owned a car and never owned a house, but that's not true. He owned a house and an SUV briefly in Garrison, NY in Tripwire and Running Blind.
    • Okay, numbers ... He tells an old girlfriend (okay, an old lover) that he has been out for 7 years. He also mentions that he was 31 years old 14 years ago, which makes him 45 now. The Investigator looks up his record which shows he served 13 years from 1984-1997. (Which means the 13 year count starts when he graduates West Point and is Comissioned). Okay. If he left the Army in 1997 and that was 7 years ago, then this book takes place in 2004, which means:
      • In 1997, when he left the Army, he was 38, rather than 36 as the first book says. (The Killing Floor indicates he is around 36 and has been out 6 months, while Die Trying gives his age as 37 and he's been out 14 months). I mean, even if he got out before his bithday, he would have been 37 when he left.
      • In 1990, he was 31, not 30 as in The Enemy, which takes place in January 1990 and gave his age as 29, which means he would have turned 30 in October of that year. (He mentions in this book that his birthday is in October - he may have mentioned his birthday before?)
      • In 1988, when he won the US Marine Corps 1000 yard Invitational (Is that Wimbledon?), he was 29 (or 28).
      • In 1984, when he was commissioned, he was 25?! Okay, graduation would have been before his birthday, so he was 24? He didn't enter West Point till he was 20?! Or did he do graduate work?
      • He was born in October 1959. Does he mention his birthday in The Enemy? That one had a lot about his past in it.
      What all this adds up to is this: The numbers are screwed up! Either this one is wrong, or all the others are.
      [Addendum: Heh, there is a bio of Reacher at Lee Child's website and it lists Reacher's birtdate as 29 Oct 1960. Yeah, okay, I need to do some more figuring. :o) Will have to wait till the paperback comes out and I can snatch it up, as I checked this one out of the library - great place, the library - especially if you're poor and can't afford to buy books.]
    • Yes, Gentrification is a word. I looked it up. Had to! I ignored it the first couple times, but then I just had to look it up! The Oxford American Dictionary says:
      Gentrification:: (n) a movement of middle-class families into an urban area causing property values to increase and having the secondary effect of driving out poorer families.
      They actually have a word for that ... amazing ...
The Hard Way
  • WEIGHT: 250
  • AGE: 45-46??
  • TIME OUT: 7 years
  • LOCALE: New York City to London to East Anglia
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 4
  • ITEM(S): The Book Glock: The New Wave in Combat Handguns that Lane had in his bookcase - it's real, written by Peter Alan Kasler and is available at Amazon.Com.
  • OTHER: Several guns are mentioned in this one (as usual) and they're all Heckler & Koch: The HK G-36, which Reacher uses as a club to smash one guy's head in (ouch); The HK MP5K, which he commandeers from the bad guys; and The HK PSG1 sniper rifle, which he mentions as a threat. The Park Lane Hilton in London looks like a cool place.
  • COMMENT: Since when does Reacher carry a passport around? He hops on a commercial flight to London on a moments notice in this one and I don't think he's ever had any I.D. on him at all before. OH! And he up and admits to killing an Army Colonel just like that! And it's not like he was asked - he just up and tells this woman as an example of his character, presumably. I'm trying to recall - was he even sleeping with her yet when he said it? One doesn't just go around volunteering that sort of info ...
The lobby of the Park Lane Hilton, London
Three H&K guns
Bad Luck and Trouble
  • WEIGHT: 250
  • AGE:
  • LOCALE: Mostly Los Angeles
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 7
  • ITEM(S): Does Alaska Airlines really put prayer cards on meal trays? According to Wikipedia, they do - or at least they did when the article was written.
  • OTHER: He stays at the Beverly Wishire Hotel in this one - classy. Plenty of guns, as usual - this time, he gets his hands on a couple AMT "Hardballers" and a Daewoo DP-51.
  • COMMENT: Reacher explains why he now carries a passport - because new security measures put in place after 9/11 have made it impossible to travel anywhere without some form of ID. He also carries an ATM card now too.

    At one point, Reacher is musing about the goings on in Vegas and thinks "that sum would inflate pretty fast once some hapless punter got a girl to his room." Not a whole lot of Americans would know what the heck a punter is - I only know cuz I looked it up while reading the Lovejoy books. True, Reacher is a world traveler, but I'm thinking maybe Lee Child slipped and let his Britishness show through. (And if you don't know, a punter is basically a customer).

The Beverly Wilshire Hotel


Nothing To Lose
  • WEIGHT: 250 lbs
  • AGE:
  • TIME OUT: 10 years
  • LOCALE: Colorado
  • JOB?: None (He's even tossed out of town on a vagrancy charge)
  • KILLS: NONE! (or three, depending how you look at it)
  • ITEM(S): Zeno of Citium is mentioned more than once. He's the founder of the Stoic Philosophy. Probably the most famous Stoic would be the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, but he was much more a man of action than most Stoics.
  • OTHER: No guns in this one, but a chemical called TCE plays a big part ... Incidently, there is neither a Hope nor a Despair in Colorado - at least not listed in my atlas. (I have actually driven through Hope, Arkansas a time or two, but I don't remember anything about the place and that has nothing to do with anything anyway, so never mind).
  • COMMENT: Reacher shows remarkable restraint in this one - NO kills! He does beat up SIX guys in a bar brawl, but they were kind of on the sickly side to begin with. Three crazies do get blown up with their own dirty bomb, but while Reacher does dial the number to the detonator phone, it is someone else who pushes the call button, so technically, NO kills in this one!!! (In truth, I really thought maybe Reacher was going to, er, euthenize the brain dead soldier and I think I would have been okay with that, but he didn't do it).
Zeno of Citium
Zeno of Citium
Gone Tomorrow
  • WEIGHT: About 250
  • AGE:
  • LOCALE: Mostly New York City with side trips to DC and North Carolina
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 9
  • ITEM(S): Is there a statue of Gandhi in Union Square? And do people REALLY go Subway Surfing? Yes and Yes!
  • OTHER: A lot of the action takes place at New York's Four Seasons Hotel in this one. Looks like a swanky place. Plenty of weapons mentioned, as usual - including the Russian VAL Sniper Rifle. (I guess it was mentioned before, but I didn't have a picture of it yet, so here it is - to the right). This time around, it's a knife that saves Reacher's life - a Benchmade 3300 - AND! He gets shot with a dart gun! TWICE! Does NOT sound fun at ALL. Not sure just how many varieties of dart guns there are, but I can't imagine there would be a whole lot of difference among them - the image to the right must be pretty much what the weapon in question looked like.
  • COMMENT: It was good to find Reacher back to his old self again - you know, he didn't actually kill ANYone in the last book? And here the body count is up to 9. Ha! Still, nowhere near his record of 14. (grin) He almost gets the disappearing treatment from the government in this one and he also comes pretty darned close to getting killed - he goofs and it almost costs him dearly. Is he getting old? Soft? Or just flustered because the bad guy was a drop-dead gorgeous woman?
61 HOURS ***
  • WEIGHT: 250
  • AGE:
  • LOCALE: South Dakota
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 2
  • ITEM(S): Has the military really fed troops meth to keep them alert? Evidently, yes.
  • OTHER: Some interesting tidbits of info about acacia trees. There's a picture to the right of a Smith & Wesson Military & Police Special model revolver with a 4 inch barrel like the ones Mrs. Salter had. And I need to pick up a 4-cell Maglite for myself - my ex always carried one in the car because you never know when you might have to thump someone and they're just the right size for thumping.
  • COMMENT: Reacher is unbelievably stupid in this one. I figured it all out waaaaay before he did (in Chap 19) and, because of his stupidity, two people died who should not have. Was it the extreme cold freezing his brain or what? This and the fact that we are left with a cliff-hanger, wondering if Reacher survives or not is why I only gave this one three stars.
61 Hours stuff
  • WEIGHT: 250
  • AGE: ?
  • TIME OUT: ?
  • LOCALE: Rural Nebraska
  • JOB?: None
  • KILLS: 7
  • ITEM(S):
  • OTHER:
  • COMMENT: Glad Reacher is back to his old self in this one, but will he EVER make it to Virginia??
  • AGE:
  • JOB?:
  • KILLS:
  • ITEM(S):
  • OTHER:
  • AGE:
  • JOB?:
  • KILLS:
  • ITEM(S):
  • OTHER:


Thriller Cover "James Penny's New Identity" - Short Story found in THRILLER

When James Penny is fired from his factory job, he sets his house on fire and heads for new horizons. A fire is a big deal in the Mojave area of California in summer, so he finds himself on the run from the law. When his car is stolen (he's having a really bad day), he is picked up on the road by an Army MP - yep - our hero Jack Reacher. Will Jack turn Penny over to the cops at the upcoming road block? Or will he help him start a new life? If you know Reacher, you know the answer to that one. An interesting story with a body count of 1.

  "GUY WALKS INTO A BAR..." - Short Story printed by The New York Times

It's a short-short story - a sort of prequel to GONE TOMORROW in which Reacher pretty much grabs the wrong end of the stick. If the link still works, you can read it here: "Guy Walks Into a Bar ..."

Second Son Cover SECOND SON - An Amazon Single ebook

Back in 1974, The Reacher family has just moved to Okinawa where young Jack Reacher is forced to deal with the resident bully. It's funny how even his Mom calls him Reacher. No body count - he's only 13, after all! But two bullies do get their butt's kicked.



Hopefully, they won't mind, but I have faithfully recreated an article written by Lee which appeared in the July 26, 2009 issue of PARADE Magazine called [My Good Life After Being Fired] - In this time of ever-increasing unemployment levels, this is meant to give people hope for the future - basically a CARPE DIEM sort of message ...

Heckler & Koch VP70
The H&K VP70
Jackson Polock's Lavender Mist
Jackson Pollock's Lavender Mist

Army Service Ribbons
Army Service Ribbons
Army Service Ribbons

Map: Text links below
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