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Image source: Lee Child

5 Books like Jack Reacher: Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

The satisfaction of reading any book in the ‘Jack Reacher’ series and others like them is the knowledge that the good guy always wins, and even if the bad guy gets away he gets what he deserves in another book. If you are a fan of books like ‘Jack Reacher’s’ series, check ‘Odds Against’, ‘Act of Treason’ or ‘Pacific Vortex’.

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Sid Halley, (‘Odds Against’, 1965) Mitch Rapp (‘Act of Treason’, 2006) and Dirk Pitt (‘Pacific Vortex’) are cut from the same cloth as Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’ series. All of these series are action movies complete with guns, impossible coincidences and great characters. Like Jack Reacher and his addiction to coffee, each has their own particular charm.

You can find some great movies like ‘Jack Reacher’ in this article.


Books Similar to ‘Jack Reacher’ series…

‘Odds Against’ (Dick Francis, 1965)

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Before Dick Francis wrote books, he was a jump jockey who rode for the Queen. He was one of the best riders in the business, so many of his books center around jockeys either in the world of racing or at least nearby. He didn’t have a lot of recurring characters; this book features one of the few repeats.

Sid Halley is a former jockey who lost the use of one hand in an accident. Since he could not race anymore he became a private detective who works in the racing world. In ‘Odds Against’, Sid has to investigate some shady dealings at the racetrack which puts his life at risk from some very violent thugs.

Francis’ method was that you needed to get the reader right from the start, just like a horse race. There are two problems with Dick Francis books: once you get started you will want to read all of them and he has passed on so there aren’t any more. His son Felix has taken up the pen and does a decent job.

Jack Reacher and Sid have a lot in common, both are smart, think fast on their feet and don’t mind wading in when they need to. You can read most of Francis’ books in any order but ‘Odds Against’ is the first of the Sid Halley trilogy.

Similarity Match: 90%
Trade Jack Reacher’s world of the military for the world of horse racing and you get Dick Francis.

‘Act of Treason’ (Vince Flynn, 2006)

Image Source: Vince Flynn Book List

A bomb goes off near a motorcade and the FBI and CIA can’t get to the bottom of it. Who do you call? Mitch Rapp is your go-to guy when you need someone who doesn’t have all those pesky rules getting in the way during an investigation. Morals aren’t a great hindrance to this guy either.

Rapp is another smart guy with a no nonsense attitude. Flynn also adds a layer of political intrigue to this book especially, though most of the Rapp books involve terrorists and politics on some level. His plots always deliver and unexpected twist and Rapp never disappoints with his plans to outwit the bad guys.

Vince Flynn was the advisor to the series 24 before his death in 2013.

‘Jack Reacher’ books usually involve smaller, local issues but Mitch Rapp tends to handle more global problems.  Mitch is also more likely to kill the bad guy. You can read this series in any order, though some plot elements do carry over from one book to another.

Similarity Match: 80%
If Mitch and Jack Reacher were in a fight, Mitch would be the one who enjoyed inflicting the most damage.

‘Pacific Vortex’ (Clive Cussler, 1983)

Image Source: Amazon

Clive Cussler is famous for two things, Dirk Pitt and fancy classic cars. All of the Dirk Pitt book feature cars, submarines, airplanes and unbelievable plots. If you can’t suspend your disbelief, don’t try a Dirk Pitt novel. While some aspects of ‘Jack Reacher’ books are a stretch, Dirk Pitt achieves the almost impossible. ‘Pacific Vortex’  is the 6th book in the series, featuring a missing nuclear sub and a mysterious underwater island complete with a beautiful girl.

You can read the books in order but it gets complicated as Cussler published some which actually occurred before previously published books. But it isn’t important as he fills you in on the back story.

Dirk Pitt books have a lot of gadgets and cars, Jack Reacher does not even own a car. Jack is more dependant brains while Dirk loves his gadgets, but they are both smart tough guys who have a strong sense of justice and get things done.

Similarity Match: 80%
The action is similar but the Pitt is more Bond-like than Jack Reacher. In a fight, I’d put my money on Reacher, he packs a bigger punch.


If You Like ‘Jack Reacher’, You Will Like…

I love the escapism of the twisty plots and the action. Jack Reacher, Dirk Pitt and Mitch Rapp all live the lives we imagine in our heads.

‘The Cabinet of Curiosities’ (Douglas Preston, 2002)

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Aloysius Pendergast is an FBI agent who looks into the weird and supernatural cases. He carries a gun, but is a terrible shot. His area is more intellectual than physical, like Jack Reacher he is intelligent and prefers to think through the case.


The mood in the Pendergast books is different, more spooky. ‘Jack Reacher’ fans will appreciate the clever plots.

‘The Wrecker’ (Clive Cussler, 2009)

Image Source: Goodreads

This is the same author as the Dirk Pitt books but the character is different. These books take place in the early 1900s and they have some historical background in them. Isaac Bell is like Jack Reacher in his strong sense of justice and calmer approach.

Both Reacher and Isaac Bell want to restore justice, Bell just has a detective license.


If Your Life Is a Boring Commute, Grab a Book like ‘Jack Reacher’ and Escape for a While

It seems like there are so many injustices in the world, you wish you could wade in, solve the mystery and kick some butt.

This genre is all about escapism and taking a break from life. Some people call them brain candy and sneer, but I find that the plot twists can be pretty clever and engaging. And they don’t cause any harm. Do you feel apologetic reading ‘Jack Reacher’ in public? I don’t.

Let us know in the comments how do you feel about this novels?

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