Lee Child

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lee Child

Child at Bouchercon XLI, 2010
Child at Bouchercon XLI, 2010
BornJames Dover Grant
(1954-10-29) 29 October 1954 (age 69)
Coventry, Warwickshire, England
EducationKing Edward's School, Birmingham
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield (LLB)
GenreCrime fiction, mystery, thriller
Notable worksJack Reacher series of novels
Jane Grant
(m. 1975)
RelativesAndrew Grant (brother)

James Dover Grant[1] CBE (born 29 October 1954), primarily known by his pen name Lee Child, is a British author who writes thriller novels, and is best known for his Jack Reacher novel series.[2] The books follow the adventures of a former American military policeman, Jack Reacher, who wanders the United States. His first novel, Killing Floor (1997), won both the Anthony Award and the 1998 Barry Award for Best First Novel.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Grant was born in Coventry.[5] His Northern Irish father, who was born in Belfast, was a civil servant who lived in the house where the singer Van Morrison was later born.[6][7] He is the second of four sons;[8] his younger brother, Andrew Grant, is also a thriller novelist. Grant's family relocated to Handsworth Wood in Birmingham when he was four years old so that the boys could receive a better education.[9] Grant attended Cherry Orchard Primary School in Handsworth Wood until the age of 11. He attended King Edward's School, Birmingham.[10]

In 1974, at the age of 20, Grant studied law[11] at University of Sheffield, though he had no intention of entering the legal profession and, during his student days, worked backstage in a theatre.[7] After graduating, he worked in commercial television.[11] He received a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Sheffield in 1977 and returned to the university to receive an honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in 2009.[12]


Television production career[edit]

Grant at Bouchercon XL, 2009

Grant joined Granada Television, part of the UK's ITV Network, in Manchester as a presentation director.[13] There he was involved with shows including Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. Grant was involved in the transmission of more than 40,000 hours of programming for Granada, writing thousands of commercials and news stories.[14] He worked at Granada from 1977 to 1995[7] and ended his career there with two years as a trade union shop steward.[15]

Writing career[edit]

After losing his job because of corporate restructuring,[13] Grant decided to start writing novels, stating they are "the purest form of entertainment."[16] In 1997, his first novel, Killing Floor, was published. Child moved to the United States, where he married a New Yorker.[11] He starts each new book of the series on an anniversary of his starting the first book after losing his job.[17]

His pen name "Lee" comes from a mispronunciation of the name of Renault's Le Car, as "Lee Car". Calling anything "Lee" became a family gag. His daughter, Ruth, was "lee child".[18]

The name has the advantage of placing his books alphabetically on bookshop and library shelves between crime fiction greats Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie.[13]

Grant has said that he came up with the name Reacher for the central character in his novels when he was grocery shopping with his wife Jane. Grant's height often leads to people asking him to get something for them from a high shelf. Jane once joked: "'Hey, if this writing thing doesn't pan out, you could always be a reacher in a supermarket.' ... 'I thought, Reacher – good name.'"[7]

Some books in the Jack Reacher series are written in the first person, while others are written in the third person. Grant has characterised the books as revenge stories – "Somebody does a very bad thing, and Reacher takes revenge" – driven by his anger at the downsizing at Granada. Although English, he deliberately chose to write American-style thrillers.[13] In 2007, Grant collaborated with 14 other writers to create the 17-part serial thriller The Chopin Manuscript, narrated by Alfred Molina. This was broadcast weekly on Audible.com between 25 September 2007 and 13 November 2007.

Grant worked as a Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield from November 2008. In 2009, Grant funded 52 Jack Reacher scholarships for students at the university.[19]

Grant was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America in 2009.[20] Grant was the Programming Chair for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in 2018, part of the Harrogate International Festivals portfolio.[21]

In 2019, it was announced that Child would be curating a new TV show called Lee Child: True Crime. The show will dramatise real-life crime stories from around the world and focus on average people who go to extraordinary lengths to fight crime or seek justice.[22]

In January 2020, Child announced that he would be retiring from writing the Jack Reacher series and handing it to his brother Andrew Grant, who would write further books of the series under the surname Child.[23] He intended to write the next few books together with Grant before passing the series entirely over to him.[24]

Writing style[edit]

Grant's prose has been described as "hardboiled" and "commercial" in style. A 2012 interview suggested that many aspects of the Jack Reacher novels were deliberately aimed at maintaining the books' profitability, rather than for literary reasons. For instance, making Jack Reacher have one parent who was French was suggested as being partly because the presence of only American members of Reacher's family would limit the series' appeal in France. The same interview stated that Grant "didn't apologise about the commercial nature" of his fiction.[25]

Child has listed John D. MacDonald, Alistair MacLean, and Robert B. Parker as influences on the Reacher series. [26]

Other activities[edit]

In 2019, Child collaborated with musicians Jennifer and Scott Smith of the group Naked Blue on an album of music exploring Jack Reacher, in song. He contributed vocals to the track "Reacher Said Nothing."[27]

In 2020 Child joined the Booker Prize judging panel, alongside Margaret Busby (chair), Sameer Rahim, Lemn Sissay and Emily Wilson.[28][29][30]


In January 2012, Grant donated £10,000 for a new vehicle for the Brecon Mountain Rescue Team in Wales.[31]

Grant is an annual sponsor and original member of ThrillerFest.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Grant married his wife Jane and moved to the United States. Since then, they have resided in New York state. They have a daughter, Ruth.[11][7]

Grant is a fan of Aston Villa Football Club[33] and has been known to include the names of Aston Villa players in his books.[34]

In 2013, Grant rejected claims that he wrote while under the influence of marijuana that were initially reported in the Daily Mail.[35]



Jack Reacher series:

Pub. order Title Year ISBN Perspective
1 Killing Floor 1997 0-593-04143-7 1st Person
2 Die Trying 1998 0-593-04144-5 3rd Person
3 Tripwire 1999 0-593-04393-6 3rd Person
4 The Visitor (UK), or Running Blind (US) 2000 0-593-04399-5 3rd Person
5 Echo Burning 2001 0-593-04659-5 3rd Person
6 Without Fail 2002 0-593-04686-2 3rd Person
7 Persuader 2003 0-593-04689-7 1st Person
8 The Enemy 2004 0-593-05182-3 1st Person
9 One Shot 2005 0-593-05183-1 3rd Person
10 The Hard Way 2006 978-0-593-05184-9 3rd Person
11 Bad Luck and Trouble 2007 978-0-593-05701-8 3rd Person
12 Nothing to Lose 2008 978-0-593-05702-5 3rd Person
13 Gone Tomorrow 2009 978-0-593-05705-6 1st Person
14 61 Hours 2010 978-0-593-05706-3 3rd Person
15 Worth Dying For 2010 978-0-593-06566-2 3rd Person
16 The Affair 2011 978-0-593-06570-9 1st Person
17 A Wanted Man 2012 978-0-593-06573-0 3rd Person
18 Never Go Back 2013 978-0-593-06574-7 3rd Person
19 Personal 2014 978-0-593-07382-7 1st Person
20 Make Me 2015 978-0-593-07388-9 3rd Person
21 Night School 2016 978-0-593-07390-2 3rd Person
22 The Midnight Line 2017 978-0-593-07818-1 3rd Person
23 Past Tense[36] 2018 978-0-593-07819-8 3rd Person
24 Blue Moon[37] 2019 978-1-787-63219-6 3rd Person
25^ The Sentinel[38] 2020 978-1-787-63361-2 3rd Person
26^ Better Off Dead 2021 978-1-787-63373-5 1st Person
27^ No Plan B 2022 978-1-787-63375-9 3rd Person
28^ The Secret 2023 978-1-787-63377-3 3rd Person
29 In Too Deep 2024

Note: For consistency, ISBN is that of the Bantam Press (UK) hardcover, first printing only.
^ by Lee Child and Andrew Child


Short stories[edit]


  • No Middle Name (2017), collection of two novellas and ten short stories from the Jack Reacher series:
    "Too Much Time" (novella), "Deep Down", "Everyone Talks", "Guy Walks into a Bar", "High Heat" (novella), "James Penney's New Identity" (1999 version), "Maybe They Have a Tradition", "No Room at the Motel", "Not a Drill", "Second Son", "Small Wars", "The Picture of the Lonely Diner"

Jack Reacher series:

Title Year Notes
"James Penney's New Identity" 1999, edited 2006 The 1999 version is longer. Collected in Fresh Blood 3 (edited by Mike Ripley and Maxim Jakubowski) and in Thriller (US)
"Guy Walks into a Bar" 2009 Prequel to novel Gone Tomorrow, in The New York Times[39]
"Second Son" 2011 Electronic short story
"Knowing you're Alive" 2011 With M. J. Rose. Crossover with Butterfield Institute series. Collected in In Session
"Deep Down" 2012 Electronic short story
"High Heat" 2013 Electronic novella
"Everyone Talks" 2013 In Esquire (June/July 2012, US edition)
"Not a Drill" 2014 Electronic short story
"Good and Valuable Consideration" 2014 With Joseph Finder. Crossover with Nick Heller series. Collected in Face Off (edited by David Baldacci)
"No Room at the Motel" 2014
"Small Wars" 2015 Electronic short story
"The Picture of the Lonely Diner" 2015
"Maybe they Have a Tradition" 2016
"Faking a Murderer" 2017 With Kathy Reichs. Crossover with Temperance Brennan series. Collected in Matchup
"Too Much Time" 2017 Novella
"The Christmas Scorpion" 2017 Electronic short story
"The Fourth Man" 2018 Included in Australian paperback of Past Tense
"Cleaning the Gold" 2019 With Karin Slaughter. Crossover with Will Trent series
"Smile" 2019 Collected in Invisible Blood

Other short stories:

  • "The Snake Eater by the Numbers", chapter six from the serialized novel Like a Charm (2004, edited by Karin Slaughter)
  • "Ten Keys", collected in The Cocaine Chronicles (2005, edited by Jervey Tervalon and Gary Phillips)
  • "The Greatest Trick of All", collected in Greatest Hits (2005, edited by Robert J. Randisi), 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 audio serialized novel The Chopin Manuscript (2007)
  • "Public Transportation", collected in Phoenix Noir (2009)
  • One chapter from 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, edited by Jonathan Santlofer and S. J. Rozan)
  • "Section 7 (a) (Operational)", collected in Agents of Treachery (2010)
  • "The Bodyguard", collected in First Thrills (2010, edited by Lee Child)
  • "Addicted to Sweetness", collected in MWA Presents The Rich and the Dead (2011, edited by Nelson DeMille)
  • "The Bone-Headed League", collected in A Study in Sherlock (2011)
  • "I Heard a Romantic Story", collected in Love is Murder (2012)
  • "The Hollywood I Remember", collected in Vengeance (2012, edited by Lee Child)
  • "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 the 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)


  • Jack Reacher (2012), film directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie, based on novel One Shot. An American thriller film starring Tom Cruise. Grant made a cameo appearance as a police desk sergeant in the film.[40]
  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016), film directed by Edward Zwick, and written by Richard Wenk, Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz, based on the novel Never Go Back. With Tom Cruise reprising the role. In the film, the final scene is set in New Orleans, which was not a location in the book. Grant made a cameo appearance as an airport ticket agent in the film.
  • Reacher (2022), an Amazon Prime series starring Alan Ritchson. In the last episode of season 1, Grant can be seen in the last chapter as a man walking out of the diner who says "Excuse me" when passing Reacher. Reacher then speaks to Finlay and eats a piece of peach pie.


Awards of novels[edit]

Child receiving a Barry Award in 2005 for The Enemy.
Novel title Year Awards/Nominations
Killing Floor 1997 Anthony Award; Barry Award; Japan Adventure Fiction Association Prize; Dilys Award nominee; Macavity Award nominee
Die Trying 1998 WH Smith Thumping Good Read Award
Without Fail 2002 Dilys Award nominee; Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award nominee
Persuader 2003 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award nominee
The Enemy 2004 Barry Award; Nero Award; Dilys Award nominee
One Shot 2005 Macavity Award nominee
Bad Luck and Trouble 2007 Shortlisted for Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, 2009[41]
61 Hours 2010 Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, 2011
A Wanted Man 2012 Specsavers' National Book Award, Thriller & Crime Novel of the Year[42]
Personal 2014 RBA Prize for Crime Writing valued at €125,000[43]

Honorary degrees[edit]

Child has received honorary degrees from several universities. These include:

Location Date School Degree
 England 2009 University of Sheffield Doctor of Letters (DLitt)[44][45]
 England 21 July 2011 De Montfort University Doctor of Letters (DLitt)[46]
 England 2023 Coventry University Doctor of Letters (DLitt)

Other awards[edit]

Year Award
2005 The Bob Kellogg Good Citizen Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Internet Writing Community[citation needed]
2013 Cartier Diamond Dagger, lifetime achievement by the Crime Writers' Association[47]
2017 ThrillerMaster, lifetime achievement, by the International Thriller Writers association [48]
2017 Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction, lifetime achievement, Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival, Harrogate International Festivals[49]
2019 Author of the Year, lifetime achievement, British Book Awards[50]


Grant was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature.[51]


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  2. ^ Smith, David (22 June 2008). "Sacked at 40 and on the scrapheap. Now Brummie tops US book charts". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 July 2008.
  3. ^ Child, Lee (30 October 2012). Killing Floor. Penguin. ISBN 9780515153651.
  4. ^ "The Barry Awards: A Literary Award for Crime Fiction". Crime Fiction Awards. Omnimystery. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  5. ^ Glass, Ben (2 December 2008). "If you don't know Lee Child, you don't know Jack". It's All About Coventry. Archived from the original on 1 December 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Best-selling author Lee Child is applying for Irish passport because of Brexit". thejournal.ie. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e Karim, Ali (May 2003). "The Persuasive Lee Child". January Magazine. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  8. ^ Myers, Marc (10 November 2017), "Saved by the Beatles in Gray Britain", Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ Cornwell, Bob. "A Reacher Moment...or Two". twbooks.co.uk. Tangled Web Books UK. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2007.
  10. ^ Smith, David (22 June 2008). "Sacked at 40 and on the Scrapheap: Now Brummie tops US Book Charts". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 June 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d White, Claire E. (August 2001). "A Conversation With Lee Child". The Internet Writing Journal. writerswrite.com. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  12. ^ Smith, David (21 June 2008). "Sacked at 40 and on the scrapheap. Now Brummie tops US book charts". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  13. ^ a b c d Curtis, Bryan (20 December 2012). "The Curious Case of Lee Child: Before Tom Cruise could become Jack Reacher, Jim Grant had to become Lee Child". Grantland.com. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  14. ^ "Lee Child". BookBrowse.com. 1 May 2004.
  15. ^ "A Reacher Moment…or two". twbooks.co.uk. Tangled Web UK. 2005. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  16. ^ "Select Editions". Reader's Digest. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2007.
  17. ^ "Salon Talks". Salon.com. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  18. ^ "5 Things You Did Not Know About Lee Child". The Penguin Digest. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  19. ^ Flood, Alison (30 July 2009). "Students offered scholarships from fictional crimefighter, Jack Reacher". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  20. ^ "People and Publishing: Milestones". Locus: 8. April 2009.
  21. ^ Barnett, Ben (13 November 2017). "Reacher author Child to chair Harrogate's crime writing festival". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  22. ^ "Lee Child to curate new true-crime drama". Dead Good. 10 April 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  23. ^ Martin, Andy; Sanderson, David (18 January 2020). "Childs play with Jack Reacher's future as author's brother takes over". The Times.
  24. ^ "Jack Reacher author Lee Child passes writing baton to brother". BBC. 18 January 2020.
  25. ^ Maher, Kevin (25 August 2012). "Lee Child on creating Jack Reacher". The Times.
  26. ^ "Interview | Lee Child". januarymagazine.com. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  27. ^ Naked Blue (2019). just the clothes on my back. Baltimore, MD: Produced and Engineered by Scott Smith.
  28. ^ Chandler, Mark (7 January 2020). "Child, Busby and Sissay join 2020 Booker Prize judging panel". The Bookseller. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  29. ^ Child, Lee (August 2020). "Diary: The brilliance of the 'Black Lives Matter' slogan". The Spectator. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  30. ^ Marshall, Alex (16 September 2020). "How to Judge the Booker Prize in a Pandemic". The New York Times.
  31. ^ "Author Lee Child's £10k to Brecon Mountain Rescue Team". BBC News. 24 January 2012.
  32. ^ ThrillerFest website.
  33. ^ "Exclusive interview with ace author Child in matchday programme". AVFC.co.uk. Aston Villa Football Club. 15 September 2011. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  34. ^ Child, Lee (1 September 2014). "Lee Child". Simon Mayo Drivetime. Interviewed by Simon Mayo. Radio 2; BBC. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  35. ^ Herbert, Geoff (15 December 2013). "'Jack Reacher' author Lee Child talks Tom Cruise and marijuana before Syracuse lecture". Syracuse.com. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  36. ^ "[Post on Lee Child's Facebook account]". United States. 26 January 2018. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  37. ^ Kean, Danuta (1 November 2018). "Lee Child joins authors auctioning character names for charity". The Guardian. United Kingdom. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  38. ^ "New Book Announcement".
  39. ^ Child, Lee (6 June 2009). "Guy Walks Into a Bar... ". The New York Times.
  40. ^ "Jack Reacher (2012)". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  41. ^ "Shortlist for Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award 2009". digyorkshire.com. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  42. ^ Flood, Alison (5 December 2012). "EL James comes out on top at National Book awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  43. ^ "British author Lee Child receives the 'prestigious' RBA Prize for Crime Writing". CatalanNewsAgency.com. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  44. ^ "Notable alumni". University of Sheffield. 7 March 2023. Retrieved 14 June 2023.
  45. ^ "Honorary Graduates" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  46. ^ "Author Lee Child receives De Montfort University degree", BBC News Leicester, 21 July 2011.
  47. ^ Flood, Alison (12 February 2013). "Lee Child gets away with major crime writing award". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  48. ^ "Home". thrillerwriters.org.
  49. ^ "Chris Brookmyre scoops top crime novel award for Black Widow". The Shropshire Star. 20 July 2017.
  50. ^ "Home". thebookseller.com.
  51. ^ "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B9.

External links[edit]