Lee Child

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Lee Child

Lee Child, Bouchercon 2010.jpg
Child at Bouchercon XLI, 2010
BornJames Dover Grant [1]
(1954-10-29) 29 October 1954 (age 66)
Coventry, Warwickshire, England
Education King Edward's School, Birmingham
Alma mater University of Sheffield (LLB)
Genre Crime fiction, mystery, thriller
Notable works Jack Reacher series of novels
Relatives Andrew Grant (writer) (brother)
Signature LeeChildSignature.png

James Dover Grant 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 Barry Award for Best First Novel. [3] [4]


Early life

Grant was born in Coventry. [5] His 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 (LL.B) Degree from the University of Sheffield in 1977 and returned to the University to receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) in 2009. [12]


Television production career

Grant at Bouchercon XL, 2009 Lee Child 2.jpg
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

After being made redundant from 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, and he moved to the United States in the summer of 1998. [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 family joke about a heard 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]

"Child" places his books alphabetically on bookstore and library shelves between crime fiction greats Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie. [13] Grant has said that he chose the name Reacher for the central character in his novels because he himself is tall and when they were grocery shopping his wife Jane remarked: "'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.

On 30 June 2008, it was announced that Grant would be taking up a Visiting Professorship 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 book series, and hand 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

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's appeal in France. The same interview stated that Grant "didn't apologise about the commercial nature" of his fiction. [25]

Other activities

In 2020 Child joined the Booker Prize judging panel, alongside Margaret Busby (chair), Sameer Rahim, Lemn Sissay and Emily Wilson. [26] [27] [28]


In January 2012, Grant donated £10,000 (about US$16,000 at the time) towards a new vehicle for Brecon Mountain Rescue Team in Wales. His brother is a senior member of the team. The team's former control vehicle was written off after a collision in 2011. [29]

Grant is an annual sponsor and original member of ThrillerFest. [30]

Personal life

Grant married his wife Jane in 1975. Since 1998 they have resided in New York state. They have a daughter, Ruth. [7] [11]

Grant is a fan of Aston Villa Football Club [31] and has been known to include the names of Aston Villa players in his books. [32]

In 2013, the Daily Mail quoted Grant saying that he writes while intoxicated ("high") by cannabis. However, in a phone interview in November 2013, he clarified his comments to the Irish Examiner , saying he's never written while high. "Yeah, that's true", Child told The Post-Standard . "I mean, people say to me, 'There was that story in the newspaper,' and I say, 'No, that's The Daily Mail.' In Britain, that's not a newspaper, you know, that's a scandal sheet where they make stuff up. It's not very reliable. And certainly, I don't deny smoking the occasional joint, but I don't work when I'm stoned because you don't get much done that way." [33]



Jack Reacher series:

Pub. orderSeries no.TitleYearISBNVoice
19 Killing Floor 1997 0-593-04143-7 1st Person
210 Die Trying 1998 0-593-04144-5 3rd Person
311 Tripwire 1999 0-593-04393-6 3rd Person
412 The Visitor (UK), or Running Blind (US)2000 0-593-04399-5 3rd Person
513 Echo Burning 2001 0-593-04659-5 3rd Person
614 Without Fail 2002 0-593-04686-2 3rd Person
715 Persuader 2003 0-593-04689-7 1st Person
85 The Enemy 2004 0-593-05182-3 1st Person
916 One Shot 2005 0-593-05183-1 3rd Person
1017 The Hard Way 2006 978-0-593-05184-9 3rd Person
1118 Bad Luck and Trouble 2007 978-0-593-05701-8 3rd Person
1219 Nothing to Lose 2008 978-0-593-05702-5 3rd Person
1321 Gone Tomorrow 2009 978-0-593-05705-6 1st Person
1422 61 Hours 2010 978-0-593-05706-3 3rd Person
1523 Worth Dying For 2010 978-0-593-06566-2 3rd Person
168 The Affair 2011 978-0-593-06570-9 1st Person
1725 A Wanted Man 2012 978-0-593-06573-0 3rd Person
1827 Never Go Back 2013 978-0-593-06574-7 3rd Person
1929 Personal 2014 978-0-593-07382-7 1st Person
2033 Make Me [34] 2015 978-0-593-07388-9 3rd Person
217 Night School [35] 2016 978-0-593-07390-2 3rd Person
2237 The Midnight Line 2017 978-0-593-07818-1 3rd Person
2339 Past Tense [36] 2018 978-0-593-07819-8 3rd Person
2443 Blue Moon [37] 2019 978-1-787-63219-6 3rd Person
25^44 The Sentinel [38] 2020 978-1-787-63361-2 3rd Person
26^ Better Off Dead 2021 978-1-787-63373-5

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


Short stories


Jack Reacher series:

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

Other short stories:



Awards of novels

Child receiving a Barry Award in 2005 for The Enemy. Lee Child.jpg
Child receiving a Barry Award in 2005 for The Enemy .
Novel titleYearAwards/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 2002Dilys Award nominee; Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award nominee
Persuader 2003Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award nominee
The Enemy 2004 Barry Award; Nero Award; Dilys Award nominee
One Shot 2005Macavity Award nominee
Bad Luck and Trouble 2007Shortlisted for Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, 2009 [44]
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 [45]
Personal 2014 RBA Prize for Crime Writing valued at €125,000 [46]

Honorary degrees

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

Flag of England.svg England2009 University of Sheffield Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) [47]
Flag of England.svg England21 July 2011 De Montfort University Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) [48]

Other awards

2005The 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 [49]
2017ThrillerMaster, lifetime achievement, by the International Thriller Writers association [50]
2017Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction, lifetime achievement, Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival, Harrogate International Festivals [51]
2019Author of the Year, lifetime achievement, British Book Awards [52]


Grant was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature. [53]

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<i>Tripwire</i> (novel)

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Rick Mofina is a Canadian author of crime fiction and thriller novels. He grew up in Belleville, Ontario, and began writing short stories in school, selling his first short story at the age of fifteen. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, the International Crime Writers Association, the Crime Writers' Association and Crime Writers of Canada, Rick continues to be a featured panelist at mystery conferences across the United States and Canada.

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Jack Reacher is a fictional protagonist of a series of novels, novellas and short stories by British author Jim Grant under the pen name Lee Child. A former major in the United States Army Military Police Corps, Reacher roams the United States taking odd jobs and investigating suspicious and frequently dangerous situations. The Reacher novels are written either in the first-person or third-person. The schedule for the Reacher series is one-per-year, except for 2010 when two were published. Most of the novels are set in the United States, in locales ranging from major metropolitan areas like New York City and Los Angeles to small towns in the Midwestern United States and the Southern United States. To date, Reacher's travels outside the United States have taken him to rural England, London (Personal), Hamburg and Paris, where Reacher and his brother visit their mother.

<i>No Middle Name</i>

No Middle Name is an anthology book from the Jack Reacher series by British writer Lee Child. It is a collection of two novellas and ten short stories ("Deep Down", "Everyone Talks", "Guy Walks into a Bar", "James Penney's New Identity", "Maybe They Have a Tradition", "No Room at the Motel", "Not a Drill", "Second Son", "Small Wars", and "The Picture of the Lonely Diner". The book was released on May 16, 2017, by Delacorte Press. These pieces concentrate on Jack Reacher's life, before, during, and after his military career.


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