Mark Greaney (novelist)

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Mark Greaney
Greaney in 2020
Greaney in 2020
BornMark Strode Greaney
1967 (age 56–57)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
GenreThriller, war fiction
Notable works

Mark Greaney (born 1967) is an American novelist focusing on thriller. He is best known as Tom Clancy's collaborator on his final books during his lifetime, and for continuing the Jack Ryan character and the Tom Clancy universe following Clancy's death in 2013. He is also known for the Gray Man series of novels, which was produced by Netflix into a feature film.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, he is the son of Ed Greaney, a presence at WMC-TV Memphis for over 50 years[2] and the namesake for the station's current newsroom. Greaney has degrees in political science and international relations, which would later play a major part in his writing career.[3]


The Gray Man[edit]

Greaney previously worked as a waiter and bartender for ten years,[3] then later in a surgical technology company, while working on two novels in his spare time. After finishing one of them, titled Goon Squad[4] and was primarily about the aftermath of the Bosnian civil war, he gave the first 20 pages of his work to his favorite author Ralph Peters's agent, Scott Miller, in a book conference in September 2006. Miller liked the book but later did not go forward with it, saying that "it was unmarketable," according to Greaney. But he urged Greaney to write another one based from a character in Goon Squad named Court Gentry,[4] which would later be The Gray Man. After finishing this novel, Miller agreed to represent him, and later found a publisher, Jove Books.[2][5]

The national success of The Gray Man made Greaney quit his job in the medical devices company and make the transition to becoming a full-time writer. He was later given a three-book deal by his publisher in 2009.[5] In addition, The Gray Man's success spawned an equally successful series, with eleven more sequels as of 2023: On Target (2010), Ballistic (2011), Dead Eye (2013), Back Blast (2016),[6] Gunmetal Gray (2017),[7] Agent in Place (2018), Mission Critical (2019), One Minute Out (2020), Relentless (2021), Sierra Six (2022), and Burner (2023).

The film adaptation of The Gray Man was directed by Joe and Anthony Russo for Netflix, with Ryan Gosling as Gentry and Chris Evans as nemesis Lloyd.[8]

Working with Tom Clancy[edit]

Greaney has been a fan of Tom Clancy for years and has read all of his books, beginning with Patriot Games. So when Clancy was looking for a new co-author, Greaney found out that his editor at Berkley Books, Tom Colgan was also Clancy's editor at G. P. Putnam's Sons. His editor later referred to his agent, who asked Greaney to be Clancy's co-author. Commenting on the experience, Greaney recalled: "I wish I could say I was excited, but the truth is, I was terrified. After I caught my breath, I offered to 'try out' because there were some other authors also in the running. I wrote twenty-five pages, handed them in and soon thereafter, I was in Baltimore meeting with Tom Clancy."[3] They later collaborated on Clancy's last three novels before his death in October 2013: Locked On (2012), Threat Vector (2013), and Command Authority (2013).[9]

After Clancy's death, with the backing of his family and estate, Greaney continued the Jack Ryan and The Campus Universe left behind by Clancy, and has written four more novels as of 2016: Tom Clancy: Support and Defend (2014),[10] Tom Clancy: Full Force and Effect (2014),[3] Tom Clancy: Commander in Chief (2015) and Tom Clancy: True Faith and Allegiance (2016). Regarding the publisher's decision to feature Clancy's name at the top in massive letters and having his name in smaller letters for the covers of the post-Clancy novels, Greaney commented: "It really feels like a humongous honor to do it. I get pretty good billing. The Tom Clancy name is one thing you can put on your book that will make it stand out from across the room".[11]

On 19 February 2017, Greaney announced that he will exit the Jack Ryan Universe franchise. Replacing Greaney will be novelist Marc Cameron, previously known for his Jericho Quinn series of thrillers.[12] Greaney later said of his departure from the Jack Ryan universe:

The truth is that I was afraid I was going to run out of things to do. At that point, I had done six books in five years. I had plenty of macro story ideas. Big, overall ideas. But the micro ideas, you know like, here’s a guy following someone down a street. There’s only so many ways you can tell that and keep it fresh, and I did not want to overstay my welcome in the Clancy universe. So, after six books, my editor sort of talked me into doing a seventh, and I’m really glad I did. I’m glad I wrote True Faith and Allegiance, but when that one was over, I knew it was time.[13]

Other works[edit]

Greaney's first standalone work, a military thriller titled Red Metal and co-authored with Lieutenant Colonel H. Ripley Rawlings IV, USMC, was released on 16 July 2019. The novel debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list in August 2019. This was the first time Greaney appeared in the NYT Bestseller's list twice in the same calendar year. The book is notable for its comparisons to Clancy's novel Red Storm Rising (1986), which is also his first standalone novel that deals with a large scale military conflict between NATO and Russia.[14]

In 2020, Greaney and Rawlings both announced via social media and web interviews that they had been contracted by Penguin Publishers to write the next in the Red Metal series. The release date was unspecified but was said to be sometime in 2021. Greaney's audiobook thriller Armored was released on 9 December 2021, and was adapted by Sony Pictures and producer Michael Bay.[15][16][17]

Personal life[edit]

Greaney continues to reside in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife Allison.[18]


The Gray Man series[edit]

Jack Ryan series[edit]

Featuring characters created by Tom Clancy

Standalone novels[edit]


  1. ^ "'The Gray Man': What You Need to Know About the Film". 12 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b Gill, Leonard (29 September 2010). "Mark Greaney: The Back Story". Memphis Flyer. Contemporary Media, Inc. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d Rubinstein, Mark (9 December 2014). "Tom Clancy, 'Full Force and Effect': A Talk With Mark Greaney". HuffPost. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b Steck, Ryan (11 February 2018). "AGENT IN PLACE: A Conversation with Mark Greaney". The Real Book Spy. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b Gill, Leonard (4 October 2009). "Mark Greaney: Good Aim". Memphis Flyer. Contemporary Media, Inc. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  6. ^ Greaney, Mark. Back Blast. New York: Berkley Books, 2016. ISBN 9780425282793 OCLC 913572940
  7. ^ "Synopsis - Mark Greaney". Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  8. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (17 July 2020). "Netflix Commits Largest Budget So Far For 'The Gray Man'; Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans Star, AGBO'S Joe & Anthony Russo Direct Mano A Mano Espionage Thriller". Deadline. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  9. ^ Burch, Peggy (1 December 2013). "The Gray Man returns". The Commercial Appeal. Archived from the original on 31 July 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  10. ^ Gillette, Felix (17 July 2014). "Support and Defend: Tom Clancy's Legacy Lives On". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  11. ^ Burch, Peggy (18 December 2014). "Memphis-based writer Mark Greaney keeps thrills alive in Tom Clancy universe". The Commercial Appeal. Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  12. ^ Steck, Ryan (20 February 2017). "Exclusive: Big Changes Coming To The Tom Clancy Universe In 2017". The Real Book Spy. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  13. ^ Steck, Ryan. "AGENT IN PLACE: A Conversation with Mark Greaney". Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  14. ^ Steck, Ryan (17 October 2018). "Exclusive: Mark Greaney's First Standalone Novel, Co-Authored with LtCol H. Ripley Rawlings IV, Coming July 2019". The Real Book Spy. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  15. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (20 May 2020). "Sony, Michael Bay & Erwin Stoff To Turn Mark Greaney Audible Novel 'Armored' Into Action Thriller Film". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Armored Audible Logo Audible Audiobook – Original recording". Amazon. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  17. ^ Armored (Action, Thriller), Bay Films, retrieved 20 July 2023
  18. ^ Mayer, Karen Ott (2 July 2009). "Memphis' Mark Greaney pursues 'right idea' in first novel, lands sequels". The Commercial Appeal. Archived from the original on 25 June 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2023.

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