If you like Lee Child

Lee Child’s novels featuring Jack Reacher have been described as “compulsively readable,” featuring “fine writing; complex, twisted plots; relentless pacing; and an engaging loner hero. Like the medieval knight errant or the Western hero, Child’s hero Jack Reacher rides into town, bringing justice, accompanied by the requisite violent gunplay, before he leaves without a trace.” If you enjoy Child’s books, you may also like those listed below. One of our librarians, Randy Decker, is a big fan of Lee Child and books of this type. His favorites are marked with a star ( )

Printable list.


Picture of book cover for Adrenaline
Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott
First in the Sam Capra series
From Library Journal: “Undercover spy Sam Capra is the prime suspect when a bomb goes off in his London office and his pregnant wife, Lucy, disappears. After harrowing weeks spent in a secret prison trying to convince the CIA of his innocence, Sam can either resign to a staid, suffocating shell of a life in which he must constantly look over his shoulder, or escape to London to retrace his steps, find his wife, and clear his name. With aid from an unlikely source, Sam travels from New York to Amsterdam to London, uncovering clues and chasing down suspects, with the CIA hot on his trail. But the closer Sam gets to the truth, the more he realizes that he can never go back to his old life. VERDICT Abbott’s (Panic) 13th thriller is the first in a series featuring Sam Capra. Fans of the thriller/spy genre will enjoy the characteristic bad guys, unexpected plot twists, requisite action sequences, and fast pace and will want to follow Sam throughout the series as he tackles the questions that remain unanswered at the novel’s finale.”

Picture of book cover for The Ranger
The Ranger by Ace Atkins
First in the Quinn Colson series.
From Library Journal: “Returning home to Mississippi to attend his beloved uncle’s funeral, army ranger Quinn Colson finds himself fighting a power broker and meth-cooking white supremacists. Friends, including a beautiful deputy sheriff, follow his lead in the escalating confrontations. Quinn does not hesitate to draw on his training and combat experience, which means violence is a big part of the story. An effective companion plot shows the man Quinn might have become if he hadn’t left town. Atkins, the author of true-crime-based novels (White Shadow; Wicked City) and the Nick Travers series, launches a new crime series set in the Deep South. Give this one to Stephen Hunter fans who like fast-moving plots and decisive good guys facing down evil.”

Picture of book cover for The Innocent
The Innocent by David Baldacci
First in the Will Robie series.
From the publisher: “America has enemies—ruthless people that the police, the FBI, even the military can’t stop. That’s when the U.S. government calls on Will Robie, a stone cold hitman who never questions orders and always nails his target. But Will Robie may have just made the first—and last—mistake of his career . . . It begins with a hit gone wrong. Robie is dispatched to eliminate a target unusually close to home in Washington, D.C. But something about this mission doesn’t seem right to Robie, and he does the unthinkable. He refuses to kill. Now, Robie becomes a target himself and must escape from his own people.
Fleeing the scene, Robie crosses paths with a wayward teenage girl, a fourteen-year-old runaway from a foster home. But she isn’t an ordinary runaway-her parents were murdered, and her own life is in danger. Against all of his professional habits, Robie rescues her and finds he can’t walk away. He needs to help her. Even worse, the more Robie learns about the girl, the more he’s convinced she is at the center of a vast cover-up, one that may explain her parents’ deaths and stretch to unimaginable levels of power. Now, Robie may have to step out of the shadows in order to save this girl’s life . . . and perhaps his own.”

Picture of book cover for The Cleaner
The Cleaner by Brett Battles
First in the Jonathan Quinn series.
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Displaying an enviable gift for pacing and action, Battles’s debut novel is a page-turner that may remind some readers of the cult TV spy series Alias. Ex-cop Jonathan Quinn now works for a shadowy U.S. intelligence agency known merely as the Office, erasing all traces of violence and mayhem when an operation goes south. During an apparently routine assignment to look into a fatal fire that claimed the life of Robert Taggart, a viral biologist, in his Colorado home, Quinn finds evidence that Taggart was murdered, and that discovery is followed by an attempt on Quinn’s own life. While Quinn survives, he learns that the Office’s top operatives have been killed in near-simultaneous attacks [and he] heads to Europe to track down the mastermind behind the scheme.”

Picture of book cover for Neon Rain
The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke
First in the Dave Robicheaux series.
Detective Dave Robicheaux has fought too many battles: in Vietnam, with killers and hustlers, with police brass, and with the bottle. Lost without his wife’s love, Robicheaux’s haunted soul mirrors the intensity and dusky mystery of New Orleans’ French Quarter — the place he calls home, and the place that nearly destroys him when he becomes involved in the case of a young prostitute whose body is found in a bayou. Thrust into the world of drug lords and arms smugglers, Robicheaux must face down a subterranean criminal world and come to terms with his own bruised heart in order to survive.

Picture of book cover for The Black Echo
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
First in the Harry Bosch series.
For LAPD homicide cop Harry Bosch — hero, maverick, nighthawk — the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal. The dead man, Billy Meadows, was a fellow Vietnam “tunnel rat” who fought side by side with him in a nightmare underground war that brought them to the depths of hell. Now, Bosch is about to relive the horror of Nam. From a dangerous maze of blind alleys to a daring criminal heist beneath the city to the tortuous link that must be uncovered, his survival instincts will once again be tested to their limit. Joining with an enigmatic and seductive female FBI agent, pitted against enemies inside his own department, Bosch must make the agonizing choice between justice and vengeance, as he tracks down a killer whose true face will shock him.
Picture of book cover of The Monkey's RaincoatThe Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais
First in the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series.
When Los Angeles private detective Elvis Cole investigates the disappearance of Ellen Lang’s husband and young son, he stumbles into a bizarre nightmare of high-level intrigue, missing drugs, and murder in Hollywood’s seamy underworld. This Elvis Cole novel was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Shamus, and Macavity awards and won both the Anthony and Macavity for Best Novel of the Year. But it is Cole’s partner, ex-Marine and ex-LAPD officer Joe Pike, who most resembles Child’s character Jack Reacher.

Picture of book cover for Plum Island
Plum Island by Nelson DeMille
First in the John Corey series.
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Tom and Judy Gordon were bright, young, attractive scientists whom everyone seemed to like. So who would murder them–and why? Could their deaths have something to do with Plum Island, supposedly an animal research facility but possibly a top-secret site for biological warfare experiments? Could it involve a pirate’s treasure buried in the vicinity more than 300 years ago? Important to [DeMille’s] success here is the catchy, ironic voice of narrator John Corey, a freewheeling Manhattan detective who’s at his uncle’s house on the Island to recover from bullet wounds and who gets tapped by the locals to act as “consultant” on the case. Key to the novel’s sway is its boisterous plot, as DeMille expertly melds medical mystery, police procedural and nautical adventure, adding assorted love interests and capping matters with a ferocious storm at sea.”

Picture of book cover for The Cat DancersThe Cat Dancers by Peter T. Deutermann
First in the Cam Richter series.
From Library Journal: “When two petty criminals who’ve brutally murdered three innocent people are turned loose on a technicality, they and others begin to die in horrible ways. A police lieutenant in rural North Carolina (the author’s home turf), Cam Richter begins to suspect a vigilante group is responsible for the growing body count. Some of his own cops and a group of “cat dancers” – outdoors types who like to sneak up on mountain lions and photograph them face on, close up, and teed off – may count among the members. Of course, Richter himself is also a suspect.”

Picture of book cover for Rain Fall
Rain Fall by Barry Eisler
First in the John Rain series.
From Publisher’s Weekly: “Set in a memorable noir version of Tokyo, Eisler’s rich and atmospheric debut thriller winds its way around the city’s extensive rail system and its upscale Western boutiques. The author, an American lawyer who has lived and worked in Japan, brings to life a complex and most interesting hero: John Rain, a hard and resourceful man in his 40s with an American mother, a Japanese father, a childhood spent in both countries and a stretch with Special Operations in Vietnam that literally made him what he is today – a highly paid freelance assassin. The book begins with Rain arranging the death (on the subway) of a prominent government figure by short-circuiting his pacemaker and making it look like the man died of a heart attack. But Rain’s relatively simple life suddenly becomes very complicated when he finds himself involved both romantically and professionally with the dead man’s lovely daughter, Midori, a talented jazz pianist. Formidable adversaries – a nasty CIA agent from John’s Vietnam days; a right-wing guru who uses Shinto priests as spies and yakuza gangsters as enforcers; a tireless old cop – seem intent on exposing Rain and eliminating Midori.”

Picture of book cover for The Gray Man
The Gray Man by Mark Greaney
First in the John Rain series.
From Booklist: “Enigmatic Court Gentry lives a double life as the Gray Man, an infamous assassin revered in the criminal underworld. An assignment in Africa proves to be successful, but success often brings threats of reprisal. The survivors are not happy and demand revenge. Meanwhile, Gray Man’s handler, Lloyd, learns that his family has been kidnapped. The ransom demand: Gentry’s head inside a cooler. Lloyd reluctantly orders Gentry’s termination to save the people he loves. Of course, the Gray Man is a legend for a reason. From the opening pages, the bullets fly and the bodies pile up. Through the carnage, Gentry remains an intriguing protagonist with his own moral code. The villain’s motives are fuzzy, though he is quite nasty. Comparisons will be made to Jason Bourne, but the Gray Man is his own character. The ending screams for a sequel, but it will be difficult to maintain the intensity level of this impressive debut.”

Picture of book cover for Point of Impact
Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter
First in the Bob Lee Swagger series.
From Library Journal: “Two men, one determined to maintain his reclusive life in the Arkansas mountains, the other fiercely dedicated to remaining part of the FBI, are drawn together in an effort to clear their names and stay alive during an intricate cover-up of an unauthorized mercenary maneuver in a Latin American country. Bob Lee Swagger, or Bob the Nailer as he was known in Vietnam, is a sniper par excellence. Because of a war injury, he devotes his time to maintaining his marksmanship and avoiding the outside world. These skills and his loner status make him an ideal target for a pseudogovernmental group planning an assassination as part of the cover-up. Nick Memphis, pursuing an investigation from which he has been warned by his FBI superiors, stumbles onto facts about Swagger that force him to go undercover with him. Tautly written by the author of The Day Before Midnight, the plot makes a number of turns before swooping to a conclusion where patriotism and personal integrity triumph.”

Picture of book cover for The Kill Clause
Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz
First in the Orphan X series.
From Booklist: “*Starred Review* At the age of 12, Evan is taken from his group home to join an under-the-radar government project called the Orphan Program. Handler Jack Johns trains him physically, mentally, and emotionally, molding him into a weapon for solo, offline covert operations, even helping him select a new last name, Smoak. As Orphan X, Evan is so successful that, along with Orphan O, he’s considered the best of the best. But when his last hit is misrepresented, and he’s told to take out a fellow Orphan, he quits. As a pro bono freelancer, now called Nowhere Man, with a pay-it-forward operation, he asks only that the last desperate person he helped give his number to one other person in similar need. Which works until Morena Aquilar needs him to stop an LAPD detective who’s cultivating young sex slaves, and Evan later gets requests from two persons supposedly referred by Morena. In trying to determine which one to trust, he finds that he himself is the target. Knowing that this is the start of a series reduces tension only a sliver in this high-tech, nonstop thriller. Hurwitz, known for this kind of adrenaline-producing fiction (notably The Survivor, 2012), adds enough humanity to the action to make this a standout, and readers should get in at the start.”

Picture of book cover for Runner
Runner  by Patrick Lee
First in the Sam Dryden series.
From Booklist: “*Starred Review* Ex-soldier Sam Dryden is easing into a midnight run when a young girl darts from the shadows, fleeing a shadowy group of men following close behind. She’s desperate but begs Sam to trust that she has a good reason not to go to the police. Instinctively, Sam believes her and helps her escape. Rachel’s memory has been clouded by interrogation drugs, so she doesn’t know exactly whom her pursuers are, but it’s soon evident that their motives are connected to Rachel’s powerful ability to read minds. Hunted by an enemy with seemingly infinite resources, including the world’s most advanced satellite technology, Dryden strategically employs skills from his past in covert ops, taking Rachel from forest hideout to high-speed chases to track down the tidbits emerging from her memory. But the game changes when Dryden discovers why Rachel is being hunted, and he’ll have to weigh his feelings for her against national security. Thriller fans, especially those drawn to conspiracies and espionage, will enjoy the cutting-edge weapons development, the anxiety-ridden showdown between cunning and technology, and the compellingly connected characters.”

Picture of book cover for Runner
Patient Zero  by Jonathan Maberry
First in the Joe Ledger series.
From the publisher: “When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills … and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good, and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid response group is called the Department of Military Sciences or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.”

Picture of book cover for Vanishing Act
Vanishing Act by Thomas Perry
First in the Jane Whitefield series.
From Kirkus Reviews: “Jane Whitefield is a Native American whose special talent is making people disappear. A battered wife, an informer on the run from the Mob, just about anyone with a real need to change identities and vanish can turn to Whitefield and find an avenue to remove them from the world. Whitefield comes home from helping a woman escape her brutal, sadistic husband to find a man called John Felker waiting for her. Claiming to be an ex-cop turned accountant, he says he’s discovered half a million dollars in a bank account under his name and fears he is being set up as the fall guy for an embezzling scheme. He says there’s a contract out on his life as well. Staying just one step ahead of four dangerous pursuers, Whitefield helps Felker vanish, but not before — against all her instincts and rules — becoming romantically involved with him. Then things start to go horribly wrong, and the woman who always helped people disappear now has to turn her talents to finding her most recent client, a man who was not at all what he seemed to be. When events rush to a climax deep in the Northern Woods of the Adirondacks in upstate New York, she must rely on the tracking and survival skills of her ancestors — or die.”

Picture of book cover for The DrifterThe Drifter by Nicholas Petrie
First in the Peter Ash series.
From Booklist: “Lieutenant Peter Ash is attempting to accommodate the intense claustrophobia he developed after returning from Afghanistan by living out of a backpack in the Cascades when he learns that his sergeant, Jimmy Johnson, has committed suicide. Disturbed by the thought that he wasn’t there for his best friend, Peter invents a Marine Corps program that provides repairs to veteran’s homes and heads to Milwaukee to look after Jimmy’s family on the sly. During the demolition of Dinah Johnson’s rotten front porch, Peter finds a suitcase full of cash and plastic explosives that Dinah claims to know nothing about. Peter can’t leave Jimmy’s family until the suitcase and the black SUV he’s noticed casing Dinah’s house are sorted out, so he begins methodically piecing together Jimmy’s last days to find answers. Peter’s sharply intelligent, witty voice strikes the right tone for an honest exploration of the challenges returning veterans face, and while this wandering veteran will remind some of Jack Reacher, Peter’s struggle to overcome PTSD sets him apart. An absorbing thriller debut with heart.”

Picture of book cover for KeeperKeeper by Greg Rucka
First in the Atticus Kodiak series.
From Publisher’s Weekly: “The world of the professional bodyguard provides the arena for this no-nonsense first novel. Atticus Kodiak, 28, is hired to protect Felice Romero, director of a Manhattan abortion clinic targeted by militant pro-lifers. The pros and cons of abortion are intelligently presented as Kodiak tries to protect his client and her daughter, who’s afflicted with Down’s syndrome. Soon the bodyguard, whose girlfriend has just undergone an abortion, finds himself personally committed to his client. Bomb threats, shootings and several murders, one particularly tragic, heat up the action, driving the narrative toward an explosive climax at a cemetery. Rucka’s prose is clean and visual, his characterizations and dialogue are economical and his storytelling scoots along at a fast clip. A few top crime writers-Robert B. Parker in the Spenser series, for instance-have wandered into bodyguard territory. Rucka has the talent to make it his own, however, especially if he spins this trim tale into a series.”

Picture of book cover for Killer InstinctKiller Instinct by Zoe Sharp
First in the Charlie Fox series.
From Booklist: “Psychically damaged by a horrendous episode when she was in the British army, an incident that led to estrangement from her parents, Charlie Fox is a biker chick whose conscience restrains her from using her potentially deadly hand-to-hand combat skills. Three Charlie Fox books have been published in the U.S., out of series order; now, at last, comes Sharp’s first, the introduction to this unique female protagonist, who’s tough without losing her femininity. After some backstory, we meet self-defense teacher Charlie, who is hired as the only woman on the security force at the rehabbed New Adelphi nightclub in Lancaster. She is soon involved with club owner Marc Quinn and mixed up in porn videos, illegal drugs, and multiple rapes and murders. As Charlie herself is threatened by the murderer, action and peril intensify to a harrowing climax. Sharp manages to combine blood-and-guts action with a strongly feminist slant, as Charlie, who knows what it’s like to be a victim, seeks to empower women with her training. With a laudatory introduction by Lee Childs, this is a must for crime-fiction fans who like it rough.”

Picture of book cover for Sanibel Flats
Sanibel Flats by Randy Wayne White
First in the Doc Ford series.
From Booklist: “Doc Ford has put his dangerous days of secret operations in Latin America on a dark shelf somewhere. Now he takes it easy on Florida’s Sanibel Island, selling beer, passing time with local fisherman, researching local sea life, and occasionally finding companionship with local ladies. One day his old soldiering pal Raff Hollins turns up with a problem. He stole his son from his former wife, after which several Latino thugs stole the boy back. Soon Raff is murdered, and Doc is left to find the missing kid and determine the exact nature of Raff’s shady dealings with the Latinos.”

Picture of book cover for The Tomb
The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson
First in the Repairman Jack series.
Lee Child meets Stephen King. From the publisher: “Much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Gia, Repairman Jack doesn’t deal with electronic appliances—he fixes situations for people, situations that usually involve putting himself in deadly danger. His latest project is recovering a stolen necklace, which carries with it an ancient curse that may unleash a horde of Bengali demons. Jack is used to danger, but this time Gia’s daughter Vicky is threatened. Can Jack overcome the curse of the yellow necklace and bring Vicky safely back home?”

Except as noted, annotations are supplied from the SELCO catalog