Lee Child was born James Grant on October 29, 1954, in Coventry, England. As a boy, he enjoyed reading novels by Enid Blyton and the Gimlet series by Captain W. E. Johns. He grew up in Birmingham, won a scholarship to St. Edward’s School (the same school that J. R. R. Tolkien attended), and went to college in Sheffield, reading law. He says that his skill in writing came from a physics teacher who valued concision over verbosity. Child spent eighteen years with Granada Television as a television presentation director and later union shop steward, then was let go with other veteran employees as an economizing measure. In search of a new career in his mid-forties, with a wife and daughter, Child gave himself a year to write a novel. After it was published, he moved to New York, his wife’s hometown, in 1998. He began producing Reacher novels at the rate of one per year. Although Reacher’s character and the plots he is involved in seem ideally suited for cinematic adaptation, plans to film Child’s work have not materialized.
Child shares certain qualities with Reacher: for example, both are tall, which led to Reacher’s name. Both defended older brothers in playground fights, both can tell the exact time without using a timepiece (a holdover from his television days, says Child), and both are New York Yankee fans. Killing Floor (1997) won the Anthony Award and the Barry Award in 1998, and Die Trying (1998) won the Thumping Good Read Award from the W. H. Smith Group in 1999. Tripwire (1999) won the Washington Irving Award in 1999, and Running Blind (2000) won it the following year. In 2005 Child won the Bob Kellogg Good Citizen Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Internet Writing Community and the Nero Award for The Enemy.