Best known for writing the Jack Reacher novels under his pen name Lee Child, James Grant worked in television for eighteen years before his company went through corporate restructuring in 1995. According to his self-styled biography, the then 40-year-old spent $6 on paper and pencils and finished penning an international bestseller just weeks before his severance checks were due to expire.

Grant’s debut novel Killing Floor was an overnight success, scoring an Anthony Award for mystery writing and launching a series that would take the thriller world by storm. Following the adventures of Jack Reacher, a former U.S. military policeman who wanders the country, the hard-boiled books won their author a devout readership and worldwide acclaim.

Though Grant announced his retirement from writing in 2020, he decided to hand the series off to his brother, who will continue to release Reacher novels under the Child name. Grant, meanwhile, plans to buy a comfy couch and spend the rest of his life reading.

A longtime fan of crime fiction, the master thriller writer shared 13 of his top page-turners with Dead Good Books in 2019. Full of suspenseful storytelling and fast-paced fun, check out his favorites below, and complement with the reading lists of James Patterson, R.L. Stine and Stephen King. For further insight into Grant’s process, dive into his BBC Maestro course on writing popular fiction.

Lee Child’s Reading List

The Child by Fiona Barton

“Tense, tantalising and ultimately very satisfying… definitely one of the year’s must-reads.” -LC

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

“A daring concept executed to perfection.” -LC

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

“The dream team delivers big time… Clinton’s insider secrets and Patterson’s storytelling genius make this the political thriller of the decade.” -LC

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

“Superb.” -LC

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

“Wonderfully creepy – like a cold blade on the back of your neck.” -LC

Star of the North by D.B. John

“Extraordinary… smart, sophisticated, suspenseful – and important. If you try one new thing this year, make it Star of the North.” -LC

The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet

“A fantastic thriller – dead-on domestic noir, full of tension and surprises. I loved it.” -LC

Panic Room by Robert Goddard

Is this his best yet?… Full of sinister menace and propulsive pace with twisty plotting.” -LC

The Deep Blue Goodbye by John D. Macdonald

“MacDonald had a huge influence on me… Reacher is like a fully detached version of Travis McGee.” -LC

Girl On Fire by Tony Parsons

“Spectacular! Tense and human, fast and authentic.” -LC

Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

“Suspense doesn’t get much smarter than this.” -LC

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

“Outstanding in every way.” -LC

A Treachery of Spies by Manda Scott

“This is a rich vein for fiction, and Scott does it more than justice, with this beautifully imagined, beautifully written, smart, sophisticated – but fiercely suspenseful – thriller.” -LC

(via Dead Good Books)

Categories: Writers