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Elbows, Knees, and Blows: All the Ways Jack Reacher Kicks Ass Over Seventeen Novels

This December, in Jack Reacher, the diminutive Tom Cruise will somehow star as the six foot five former Army MP title character of Lee Child's bestselling thriller series. Throughout seventeen books (the latest, A Wanted Man, was released last week), Reacher has, liked Kane in Kung Fu, walked the Earth (or at least America), getting into violent adventures that usually involve beating the hell out of bad men. Lots of elbows are thrown (if you learn anything from these novels, it's this: elbows over fists), lots of people are shot in the head. Much mayhem is had and we have logged it all. You're welcome.

1. Killing Floor (or, the one with Reacher's brother)
Reacher shoots two (2) people in the back; shoots three (3) people in the head; drowns a man; shoots one person’s leg off; breaks two (2) necks; kicks one person in the throat; headbutts another; cuts someone’s throat; pops a man’s eyeball with his finger; breaks four (4) of a man’s fingers; kicks a guy in the balls; saps two (2) dudes on the back of their head/necks; stabs someone in the face.

2. Die Trying (or, the one with the militia)
Reacher suffocates a man by jamming his face into a mattress; jams a cigarette into someone’s eye; smashes a chair into someone’s skull; shoots three (3) people in the head; smashes one face into a desk; smashes an elbow into someone’s head; smashes a forearm into someone’s head; smashes a rifle into someone’s head; shoots seven (7) people dead; breaks a neck; kills a guy by blowing up his truck.

3. Tripwire (or, the one with the guy with the hook-hand)
Reacher elbows someone in the face; gives three (3) punches to the head; knees one gut; delivers two (2) punches to the stomach; breaks one neck; smashes his forearm into someone’s forehead; shoots two (2) people in the head.

4. Running Blind (or, the one with the serial killer and the bathtubs full of paint)
Reacher elbows three (3) people in the head; hits someone in the head with a bat; smashes two (2) guys into a wall; punches a guy in the stomach; pistol-whips someone; breaks someone’s neck with a single punch.

5. Echo Burning (or, the one on the Texas ranch)
Reacher snaps someone’s finger; head-butts someone else; breaks two arms; bashes two (2) people with pool cues; knocks out some teeth; beats two (2) dudes with a pool cue while they lie on the floor; punches someone in the gut; kicks someone in the head; shoots two (2) people dead.

6. Without Fail (or, the one with the Secret Service)
Reacher smashes his elbow into two (2) faces; slices one forehead with a knife; shatters a forearm; shoots a guy in the head; shoots a guy in the throat.

7. Persuader (or, the one that takes place on the Maine coast)
Reacher kills two (2) people with a ten-pound rock; smashes a hand with his boot, twice; throws his elbow at various body parts five (5) times; delivers six (6) punches to heads; breaks two (2) elbows, shoots three (3) people; shoots someone in the head; kicks seven (7) times (five times to the same head); breaks one hand; breaks one wrist; breaks one arm; snaps one neck; punches one stomach; knees one groin; stabs knife into one brain; smashes a head into a wall/floor three (3) times; jumps on someone’s solar plexus Bruce Lee–style once.

8. The Enemy (or, the prequel)
Reacher hits three (3) people in the face with his elbow, head-butts someone else; throws two (2) punches to a chest; throws two (2) punches to a face; shoots someone in the head; shatters a kneecap; shoots someone in the shoulder; slams a dude’s head into concrete.

9. One Shot (or, the one that's been made into a Tom Cruise movie, out this winter)
Reacher hits someone in the face with his shoulder; kicks someone in the groin; throws a head butt; smashes his elbow square into a jaw; hits someone from behind twice; kills a man by throwing a knife into the back of his neck; stabs a dude in the throat and then breaks his neck; crushes a man to death in a massive bear hug; throws someone out of a window.

10. The Hard Way (or, the one that takes place in New York City's Dakota apartment building)
Reacher breaks someone’s wrist; kills a man by smashing a rifle into his head; rips someone’s throat out with a knife; blows a man’s head off; shoots a guy three (3) times in the chest.

11. Bad Luck and Trouble (or, the one where he teams up with his old Army mates)
Reacher punches someone in the gut; elbows someone in the head; throws two (2) face punches; bashes a guy with a car door; hits two (2) guys with a heavy table; uses his heel to break a guy’s fingers on both hands; throws two (2) massive punches to the back of the neck; head-butts someone in the face; suffocates two (2) people; shoots someone in the head; shoots someone in the stomach and sternum; hits a guy in the gut with a gun muzzle; throws someone out of a helicopter; breaks someone’s neck.

12. Nothing to Lose (or, the one that takes place in the towns named Hope and Despair)
Reacher throws six (6) punches to various faces; head-butts someone; throws five (5) elbows; kicks someone in the head three (3) times; knees someone in the groin, smashes one cop car into another; drives his knee into someone’s head; hits two guys with a thrown bar stool; punches someone in the throat; breaks several ribs by kicking someone; hits someone in the head with a chair leg; punches someone in the gut.

13. Gone Tomorrow (or, the one that opens on a New York City subway car)
Reacher shoots a dart gun into someone’s chest; shoots a dart gun into someone’s ass; pistol whips someone three (3) times; head-butts someone; throws three (3) elbows; throws two (2) knees; throws four (4) head punches; throws two (2) body blows; shoots someone’s ear off; shoots someone in head; shoots three people in the face; cuts five (5) non-throat body parts with a knife; cuts someone’s throat; strangles someone.

14. 61 Hours (or, the one that takes place in freezing cold South Dakota)
Reacher hits someone in the face with his elbow; kicks someone in the head; kicks someone in the knee; shoots someone in the face; smashes someone in the head with a flashlight; punches someone in the face; smashes two (2) heads into different floors; punches someone in the ribs; kills a man with one mighty blow to the jaw.

15. Worth Dying For (or, the one with the corn-fed ex-high school football players)
Reacher smashes someone’s kneecap with his foot; cracks someone’s elbow with the heel of his hand; throws a head butt; kicks six (6) faces; breaks two (2) wrists with a wrench; breaks an arm; punches two people in the gut; kills a man with one punch to the chest; breaks someone’s hand by head-butting their punch; smashes a shotgun into two (2) faces; kicks the shit out of two dudes; hits two (2) on the back of the head with a wrench; throws two (2) elbows to the face; throws two (2) punches to the head/face; mashes his forearm into someone’s throat; knees someone in the groin; shoots four (4) people in the head/face; shoots someone in the gut with a shotgun; runs over a man with a truck.

16. The Affair (or, the prequel where you find out why Reacher left the Army)
Reacher throws two (2) head butts; kicks someone in the groin, punches someone else in the stomach; throws three (3) elbows, one of which kills a man; breaks two (2) necks; punches two (2) faces; shoots a man in the head; smashes a head against a car dashboard.

17. A Wanted Man (or, the new one)
Reacher punches someone on the back of the neck, killing them; elbows someone in the throat; suffocates someone; smashes a guy into a wall with a truck; shoots six (6) guys; shoots two (2) people in the face; throws someone off a rooftop.