Lee Child was born in the exact geographic center of England, in the heart of
the industrial badlands. Never saw a tree until he was twelve. It was the sort
of place where if you fell in the river, you had to go to the hospital for a
mandatory stomach pump. The sort of place where minor disputes were settled with
box cutters and bicycle chains. He's got the scars to prove it.
But he survived, got an education, and went to law school, but only because
he didn't want to be a lawyer. Without the pressure of aiming for a job in the
field, he figured it would be a relaxing subject to study. He spent most of the
time in the university theater - to the extent that he had to repeat several
courses, because he failed the exams - and then went to work for Granada
Television in Manchester, England. Back then, Granada was a world-famous
production company, known for shows like Brideshead Revisited, Jewel in the
Crown, Prime Suspect and Cracker. Lee worked on the broadcast side of the
company, so his involvement with the good stuff was limited. But he remembers
waiting in the canteen line with people like Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud,
Natalie Wood and Michael Apted. And he says that being involved with more than
40,000 hours of the company's program output over an eighteen-year stay taught
him a thing or two about telling a story. He also wrote thousands of links,
trailers, commercials and news stories, most of them on deadlines that ranged
from fifteen minutes to fifteen seconds. So the thought of a novel-a-year didn't
worry him too much, in his next career.
But why a next career? He was fired, back in 1995, that's why. It was the
usual Nineties downsizing thing. After eighteen years, he was an expensive
veteran, and he was also the union organizer, and neither thing fit the
company's plan for the future. And because of the union involvement, he wasn't
on too many alternative employers' wish lists, either. So he became a writer,
because he couldn't think of anything else to do. He had an idea for a character
who had suffered the same downsizing experience but who was taking it completely
in his stride. And he figured if he brought the same total commitment to his
audience that he'd seen his television peers develop, he could get something
going. He named the character Jack Reacher and wrote Killing Floor as fast as he
could. He needed to sell it before his severance check ran out. He made it with
seven weeks to spare, and luckily the book was an instant hit, selling strongly
all around the world, and winning both the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for
Best First Novel.
Lee moved from the UK to the US in the summer of 1998.
He has three homesan apartment in Manhattan, a country house in the south of France, and whatever airplane cabin he happens to be in while traveling between the two. In the US he drives a supercharged Jaguar, which was built in Jaguar's Browns Lane plant, thirty yards from the hospital in which he was born.
Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.
Jack Reacher series
Killing Floor (1997)
Die Trying (1998)
The Visitor (2000); also published as Running Blind
Echo Burning (2001)
Without Fail (2002)
The Enemy (2004)
One Shot (2005)
The Hard Way (2006)
Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
Nothing to Lose (2008)
Gone Tomorrow (2009)
61 Hours (2010)
Worth Dying For (2010)
This biography was last updated on 09/10/2010.
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