• Reacher series skips certain novels to focus on major plot points and character development, raising concerns for fans.
  • Tripwire is an integral story in Reacher’s journey that needs to be revisited in the future due to its excitement and dramatic moments.
  • Never Go Back and The Enemy are crucial novels that need to be included in the series to understand Reacher’s past and character development.

Amazon’s Reacher series doesn’t seem to be interested in adapting every single one of Lee Child’s novels, but there are certain entries in the series that the show just can’t skip over. Child’s novels often tell completely separate stories that don’t influence the rest of them – which makes it easier for readers to jump in at any point – but some of the books have major plot points that need to happen in the show. Jack Reacher’s journey is a complex and fascinating one, and certain things need to happen for the depth of his character to shine on the show.

The first season of Reacher was a loose adaptation of Killing Floor, the novel in which Jack Reacher first appeared. It serves as a great way to establish the character, introduce his backstory and display his talents for the first time. However, instead of moving straight into Die Trying, the story of Reacher’s season 2 is said to be inspired by Bad Luck And Trouble – the eleventh book in the series. This obviously leaves a huge gap and proves that Amazon’s show isn’t worried about skipping books, which raises some concerns for fans of the character.

Can’t Skip: Tripwire

Reacher and Kliner Jr. talk in Reacher

Although season 2 is technically going to take place after Tripwire, this is one of the stories that Reacher will need to revisit in the future. It could be done through flashbacks (or even an entire prequel series), but it’s an integral story in Jack Reacher’s journey. It’s the third story in the series, often cited as the best, and follows Reacher as he’s pulled out of retirement when somebody hires a private detective to find him. Not only is Tripwire one of Child’s most exciting books, but it also features some of the most dramatic moments in the entire series.

Can Skip: Echo Burning

Jack looks at animals' heads on the wall in Reacher

Echo Burning is the fifth book in the series, and it comes at a point when Child’s stories were just beginning to run out of steam. They would later pick up again once he figured out what to do with the character, but Echo Burning is just more of the same. It’s an interesting story about a woman whose dangerous husband has just been imprisoned, but it does very little to actually serve Reacher’s personal narrative. Reacher season 2 will replace several characters, but it needs to keep the main cast the same in order to succeed – and it’s hard to see how those characters fit into Echo Burning.

Can’t Skip: Never Go Back

Josephine Reacher smiling in Reacher

Never Go Back is the eighteenth book in the franchise, and it’s also the culmination of one of the few running threads in the series. It brings together story aspects from 61 Hours, Worth Dying For, and A Wanted Man, serving as a kind of grand finale to this particular narrative arc. Obviously, this narrative would need to be introduced before Reacher can tackle Never Go Back, but it’s the kind of huge event that needs to be included in the series at some point.

Can Skip: A Wanted Man

Reacher with his dog in the Prime Video show

A Wanted Man comes just before Never Go Back, and its only purpose is to get Reacher to the point he needs to be for that next book to work. There’s very little in A Wanted Man that actually holds any importance to Reacher’s journey – it’s just a placeholder for the character to travel out of Nebraska and to Virginia. Luckily, that would be much easier in the show and wouldn’t require an entire storyline to explain what he did along the way.

Can’t Skip: The Enemy

Reacher pulling a face in the Amazon show

The Enemy is an interesting entry in the Jack Reacher series because it’s one of the few novels that takes place before Killing Floor, making it technically a prequel to the entire franchise. The story follows Reacher while he’s still in the service, using his own questionable methods to solve a grizzly murder. The Enemy is crucial for understanding why he left the service and took on such a renegade lifestyle, so Reacher has to address this part of the character’s life eventually. It could answer several questions that Reacher season 2 might not be able to address while providing a fun narrative too.

Can Skip: Nothing To Lose

Jack Reacher lying down on a bed in Reacher

While Nothing To Lose is a pretty good entry in the Jack Reacher series; the main reason it should be skipped by the Amazon show is that it comes directly after Bad Luck And Trouble, which provides the story for season 2. Having a ten-story gap between seasons 1 and 2 means there should also be a gap before season 3, and there’s nothing majorly important in Nothing To Lose that needs to be addressed in the show. It also features some pretty unforgettable villains that would probably be a waste for Reacher.

Can’t Skip: Personal

Reacher and Kliner Jr. fighting in Reacher

Unfortunately, the more recent Jack Reacher novels are the ones that audiences frequently consider the worst – but Personal is an exception to that rule. It’s the nineteenth book in the series, and it’s the kind of standalone story that could be easily adapted into the show. It takes place in Paris and has an incredibly tense, high-stakes story just like Killing Floor and Bad Luck and Trouble. The book also comes directly after Never Go Back, so it would be a great follow-up if the show decides to adapt that massive storyline.

Can Skip: Make Me

Reacher on the phone in Prime Video's Reacher

While its story might be pretty forgettable, Make Me is mostly remembered for introducing the character of Michelle Chang to the series. She’s an ex-FBI agent who partners up with Reacher for a few stories, developing a romance that feels quite out-of-place in the series. It would be impossible for Reacher to adapt Make Me (or The Midnight Line) without touching on the Chang romance, but that’s a subplot that doesn’t need to be included in the show. It would only distract from Reacher’s action-packed style and probably wouldn’t be received too well by new viewers.

Can’t Skip: Gone Tomorrow

Reacher looking at a branch

Gone Tomorrow is another of those books that fall in the sweet spot just after Bad Luck And Trouble, when it seemed like Lee Child could do no wrong. It’s another intense, high-stakes story that navigates deadly terrorist plots and unpredictable double-crosses, with one of the series’ most intricate and complex storylines that would be perfect for a TV adaptation. There’s so much material in this one story, that it would be a crime for Reacher not to take advantage of it. There are plenty of exciting things to expect from Reacher season 2, but it’s not until stories like Gone Tomorrow that this series really picks up the most momentum.

Can Skip: Blue Moon

Alan Ritchson starting to smile in Reacher

As the 24th book in the series, Blue Moon is one of the reasons that Jack Reacher fans are so cautious about the more recent releases. It’s not that Lee Child’s writing has deteriorated or that Reacher’s story has run its course, but many of the later books are forced to get much more violent and melodramatic in order to stand out from the crowd. Blue Moon is so filled with deaths and narrative complexities that it becomes hard to connect with it – but the fact that it’s so far in the future means that Reacher won’t need to reckon with it any time soon anyway.

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