- In Die Trying, Reacher is trapped in the back of a truck whose ceiling was hit with a shotgun blast. He gets bored and counts the individual holes the pellets made (there are one hundred and thirteen), which leads to this numbers-related spiel:
One hundred and thirteen was a prime number. You couldn’t make it by multiplying any other numbers together. Hundred and twelve, you could make by multiplying fifty-six by two, or twenty-eight by four, or fourteen by eight. Hundred and fourteen, you could make by multiplying fifty-seven by two or nineteen by six, or thirty-eight by three. But one hundred and thirteen was prime. No factors. The only way to make a hundred and thirteen was by multiplying a hundred and thirteen by one. Or by firing a shotgun into a truck in a rage.
- In Tripwire, Reacher has just returned to New York from the Florida Keys, investigating a detective who'd come looking for him. The most sensible thing to do, he reasons, is to check the yellow pages, but he doesn't have a very convenient start.
But the yellow pages showed no private investigators called Costello. Plenty of private Costellos in the white pages, but no professional listings under that name. Reacher sighed. He was disappointed, but not surprised. It would have been too good to be true to open up the book and see Costello Investigations—We Specialize in Finding Ex-MPs Down in the Keys.
- Later, Reacher gets taken clothes shopping. As it happens, he's not very versed in clothes shopping.
Reacher: There was a place I went in Chicago. I think it was a chain store, short little name. Hole? Gap? Something like that. They had the right sizes."
- As of Echo Burning, Reacher hasn't gotten much better on this front. The Texas town of Pecos is now known as Pecan.
- About two-thirds of the way into the book, Reacher finally spends an evening with Alice. The narrative has been describing Alice in physically flattering terms ever since Reacher laid eyes on her, which is the standard for girls he's attracted to. And then she invites him over for dinner. Only once Reacher is over there does he discover that Alice wasn't planning on much. The whole exchange is a brilliant back-and-forth, but then it ends on this note:
"So it doesn't bother you?" she said. "That it's just a meal with a new friend and then back to the hotel on your own?"
"I never thought it would be anything else," he lied.
- When Alice and Reacher are looking at Carmen Greer's medical reports for evidence of domestic abuse, they start at the beginning. The narrative launches into a long, immaculately detailed paragraph about the circumstances and procedures of her daughter Ellie's birth, from gynecology to fetal monitors to times of day for the process of labor, all concluding that Ellie was born perfectly viable — and then it helpfully notes that the birth report did not mention facial bruising, or a split lip, or loosened teeth.
- In order for Alice to help him, Reacher had to help her with a case involving a rich, old, white guy who refused to pay, for an accident in which a poor family's son was killed. To "persuade" the guy, Reacher scammed his way in to the guy's house, confronted the guy, then started to throw expensive items out of the house until he signed a check (and the poor guy couldn't call the cops since Reacher had ripped out the telephone wire with a makeshift grappling hook from some rope and a pistol). Afterwards, just to be an asshole, Reacher then knocks over an expensive grandfather clock with a smile.
- Towards the ending of Without Fail, Reacher and Neagley are preparing for the story's final confrontation, and start their morning in a motel. (Bear in mind that these are two tough-as-nails military veterans.) First, Reacher overhears Neagley singing in the shower in the next room over. Then he goes to get a hot shower himself, which apparently makes Neagley's shower go cold, seeing as she screams suddenly when he turns the water on. He wisely turns the water back off and waits his turn, and neither of them mention a word of it afterward. The entire sequence is completely understated, but sticks wildly out of place in an otherwise deadly serious part of the story.
- Later, we get this exchange:
Neagley: Is it OK to bring guns into a church?
Reacher: It's OK in Texas. Probably compulsory here.
- In Bad Luck and Trouble, Reacher's comments on 'New Age Defense Systems': "What kind of name is that for a weapons manufacturer? Like they kill you with kindness? They play pan pipe music until you save them the trouble and slit your wrists?"
- In The Hard Way, Reacher and Pauling try to find out who bought a chair they found. They eventually locate the correct vendor, an old man running his own store, who offers to tell them what he knows in exchange for five dollars. Reacher offers him two-fifty plus the chair.
Old man: Four bucks and the chair.
Reacher: Three bucks and the chair.
Old man: Three and a half and the chair.
Reacher: Three and a quarter and the chair.
Old man: (no response)
Pauling: Guys, please. (Pauling gives him ten dollars and the chair)
- In Never Go Back, Reacher talks about his primeval urge to wander and spread his DNA around like the Vikings. His companion, a Girl of the Week, tells him to shut up; he has a paternity suit waiting.
- In The Enemy, a disillusioned and embittered Reacher finally confronts the Corrupt Bureaucrat Willard, with a gun in his hand. He gives a terse but vicious speech about how everything's been ruined for him now, and then points the gun at his own temple. Then he says, "Just kidding", and shoots Willard in the head.
- In One Shot, Reacher watches a (muted) TV commercial involving a 'young woman in a filmy summer dress romping through a field of wildflowers'. He can't figure out what the commercial is for. Possibly the dress. Or makeup, or shampoo, or allergy medicine. It's an understated moment, but his bemusement at the vagueness of TV commercial imagery is priceless.
- Not long after, he's staying in the third floor of a Marriott hotel, and lamenting that he can't escape through the window. He suspects that the window can't even open.
- In Night School, there are quite a few funny moments, many courtesy of the banter between Reacher and Neagley:
- Reacher's half-assed attempt to not tell Neagley what his attendance of the titular "school" (a cover for a secret assignment) is actually for.
Reacher: It's a school.
Neagley: No it isn't. The course title doesn't even make sense.
Reacher: They never make sense.
Neagley: This one is worse than usual.
Neagley: They wouldn't do that to you. Not while Garber lives and breathes.
Reacher: I can't discuss it. It's too boring.
- Reacher finds himself trying to track a clandestine agent in a city by looking at a map. The area in question includes four small parks: "Which meant maybe eight benches available, and probably pigeons to feed, which was what spies did in the movies he saw."
- Later, Reacher and Neagley are floundering while trying to find someone from the military.
Neagley: No one knows what to do next. No one knows if it's something or nothing.
- An agent from a particularly unstable part of the world has to go watch a soccer game on TV. He doesn't mind, since it's part of his cover. Besides, as he casually notes:
- At one point, a colleague of Reacher's asks via phone for a personnel jacket to be delivered to their hotel room. The moment she puts down the phone, there's a knock on the door. Reacher is momentarily very impressed, before remembering that reality doesn't work that way.
- Reacher and Neagley discuss the possibility of spending a large fortune on stolen military supplies, and making it look like any other inventory error. They don't seem to have a lot of ideas for what the supplies could be. Mainly, they just talk about Reacher's (military-issue and mistakenly shipped) pants for a while.
Neagley: You think someone just bought a hundred million dollars' worth of pants?
Reacher: Not specifically pants.
- Reacher's reaction to some brightly-painted buildings is to wonder if they're supposed to be kid-friendly. "Reacher couldn't see how. He had been a serious kid. He felt the relentless cheerfulness would have driven him mad."
- A Running Gag through the story is Reacher rubbing it in Germans' faces that they lost World War II. Eventually, he gets to a point where a German officer just lets the Americans take charge, "possibly because of realpolitik, which was a German word for knowing when you're beat."