7 Best Authors Like Lee Child: Take a Dive Into Detective Life

Searching to get your Jack Reacher fix? Check out our seven favorite authors like Lee Child, the phenom behind the Jack Reacher series.

Born James Dover Grant, Lee Child was born in England in 1954. The author is known for his Jack Reacher series, which follows the life of policeman Jack Reacher, a former military member who travels the world seeking revenge on behalf of himself and others.

Child is famous for his hardboiled writing style. Some of the Jack Reacher novels are written in the first person, while others are written in the third person. In total, there are 26 books in the Jack Reacher series. If you’ve gone through all that Lee Child has written, and you’re ready for some more suspenseful writers to keep you on the edge of your seat, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn about seven suspense authors you’ll want to check out next.

1. David Baldacci

David Baldacci
David Baldacci via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Baldacci’s first novel, Absolute Power, was published in 1996. The book was made into a major motion picture directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. The author writes both legal thrillers and suspense novels. After the success of Absolute Power, Baldacci wrote 45 more novels and seven young adult novels. You might also enjoy our list of best Alistair Maclean books.

If you liked this guide to the best authors like Lee Child, you might want to check out our round-up of the best Alistair Maclean books. Want to find more authors? Just search ‘authors like’ in our search bar.

“All you have to do [to win a Pulitzer Prize] is spend your life running from one awful place to another, write about every horrible thing you see. The civilized world reads about it, then forgets it, but pats you on the head for doing it and gives you a reward as appreciation for changing nothing.”

David Baldacci, The Christmas Train
Long Shadows (Memory Man Series)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Baldacci, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 449 Pages - 10/11/2022 (Publication Date) - Grand Central Publishing (Publisher)

2. Robert Crais

Robert Crais
Robert Crais via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Author of the Elvis Cole novels, Robert Crais, has been praised by Lee Child as one of the best American crime writers today. The author’s debut novel, The Monkey’s Raincoat, was released in 1987 and won both the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original and the Macavity Award for Best First Novel.

“Some of us find our way with a single light to guide us; others lose themselves even when the star field is as sharp as a neon ceiling. Ethics may not be situational, but feelings are. We learn to adjust, and, over time, the stars we use to guide ourselves come to reside within rather than without.”

Robert Crais, L.A. Requiem
Racing the Light (An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel Book 19)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Crais, Robert (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 11/01/2022 (Publication Date) - G.P. Putnam's Sons (Publisher)

3. Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly via Wikipedia, Public Domain

American author Michael Connelly writes crime fiction, including detective novels. Many of his stories feature Harry Bosch, an LAPD detective, and criminal defense lawyer Mickey Haller. Connelly has sold more than 74 million copies of his novels worldwide. His 1997 novel Blood Work was made into a major motion picture.

“Los Angeles was the kind of place where everybody was from somewhere else and nobody really dropped anchor. It was a transient place. People drawn by the dream, people running from the nightmare. Twelve million people and all of them ready to make a break for it if necessary. Figuratively, literally, metaphorically — any way you want to look at it — everybody in L.A. keeps a bag packed. Just in case.”

Michael Connelly, The Brass Verdict
Desert Star (Renée Ballard Book 5)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Connelly, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 401 Pages - 11/08/2022 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown and Company (Publisher)

4. John Sandford

New York Times bestselling author John Sandford is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of the Prey series. The writer got his start in the literary world by earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Iowa before earning some of the most coveted honors in literature. His Prey series books star Lucas Davenport, a detective with the Minneapolis Police Department who is forced to leave the squad and run his own intelligence business.

“Was it possible that politicians and hedge-fund operators were some kind of garbled cosmic computer code? That the Opponent, instead of having horns and a forked tail, was a fat bearded guy drinking Big Gulps and eating anchovy pizzas and writing viruses down in a hellish basement? That prayers weren’t answered because Satan was running denial-of-service attacks?”

John Sandford, Mad River
Righteous Prey (A Prey Novel Book 32)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Sandford, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 412 Pages - 10/04/2022 (Publication Date) - G.P. Putnam's Sons (Publisher)

5. Vince Flynn

Vince Flynn
Vince Flynn via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Political thriller author Vince Flynn passed away in 2013. The writer began writing in a quest to overcome dyslexia. As he worked to express himself in a way others could easily understand, he discovered a hidden talent for story development. Throughout his storied career, he was known for writing novels, starting with Mitch Rapp, a political assassin. Flynn wrote six New York Times bestsellers and was known for creating works that translated well to the small screen.

“In that Declaration, Thomas Jefferson wrote “that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive… it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” We are invoking this right to rise up and alter the course of our government. You have had your chance to correct America’s course, and you have failed.”

Vince Flynn, Term Limits
Oath of Loyalty (A Mitch Rapp Novel Book 21)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Flynn, Vince (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 363 Pages - 09/13/2022 (Publication Date) - Atria/Emily Bestler Books (Publisher)

6. James Patterson

James Patterson
James Patterson via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Patterson is known for writing legal thrillers and has sold over 300 million copies of his books worldwide. In addition to writing suspenseful novels based in the courtroom, Patterson also writes Southern Gothic literature and stories surrounding sports, including baseball, football, and basketball.

“Life is hard, and a lot of people come home tired from work. If they’re gonna spend half an hour reading, they want some entertainment and a sense of achievement. So that’s what I give them. That’s all I’m trying to do. Is that really so wrong?”

James Patterson
Triple Cross: The Greatest Alex Cross Thriller Since Kiss the Girls
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Patterson, James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 497 Pages - 10/31/2022 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown and Company (Publisher)

7. Stephen Hunter

Stephen Hunter
Stephen Hunter via Wikipedia, Public Domain

Northwestern University alum and Kansas City native Stephen Hunter has written many crime thrillers, including Point of Impact, Time to Hunt, Night of Thunder, and Havana. The author has also written several non-fiction books, including Violent Screen: A Critic’s 13 Years on the Front Lines of Movie Mayhem, which details his former career as a film critic. Looking for more suspense novels? Check out our round-up of the best spy thriller books!

“The worst moment was always taps. It didn’t matter if the bugler played it well or poorly, in tune or out; there was something in the mournful ache of the music, and how it spoke of men dying before their time for something they only vaguely understood and being only vaguely appreciated by the people on whose behalf they died, that made it hurt so much.

Stephen Hunter, Dirty White Boys
Targeted (Bob Lee Swagger Novel Book 12)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Hunter, Stephen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 380 Pages - 01/18/2022 (Publication Date) - Atria/Emily Bestler Books (Publisher)

FAQs About The Best Authors Like Lee Child

What is considered the best Jack Reacher novel?

Many Lee Child fans believe Killing Floor is the best Jack Reacher novel. This is the first novel in the Jack Reacher series.

Who is the best suspense writer?

While determining who is the best suspense writer is up to personal opinion, many agree that Lee Child is the best. Others feel that Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Thomas Harris, and Dennis Lehane are the best suspense writers.

What suspense writer should I start with if I haven’t read any?

If you’re reading suspense novels, some great authors are Gillian Flynn, Stieg Larsson, Dean Koontz, and Lee Child.


  • Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.