- 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.
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."
- Later, Reacher gets taken clothes shopping. As it happens, he's not very versed in clothes shopping.
- As of Echo Burning, Reacher hasn't gotten much better on this front. The Texas town of Pecos is now known as Pecan.
"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.
- 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:
- 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.
Neagley: Is it OK to bring guns into a church?Reacher: It's OK in Texas. Probably compulsory here.
- Later, we get this exchange:
- 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.
Maybe the main office lawyers had been concerned about liability. Maybe they had foreseen a steady deluge of infants raining on the parking lot blacktop.
- 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.
- There's a point where Reacher points out three things cops never do: "they don't vote Democrat, they don't drive Cadillacs, and they never use personal vehicles." The funny part comes when you notice he's saying this in front of a cop, who looks up and then just shrugs as if to say "well you got me there."
- This exchange with Sandy:
Reacher: I can't afford you.Sandy: I'm not a hooker.Reacher: Oh, then I really can't afford you.Sandy: Seriously, I work at the auto parts store.Reacher: What I mean is, the cheapest woman tends to be the one you pay for.Sandy: I am NOT a hooker!Reacher: [giving up] Well, a hooker would get the joke.
- At the end of the car chase in The Movie, Reacher hides himself in a crowd so that the police wouldn't find him. Then a random civilian hands him his hat so he could hide from the police.
- Then the people at the bus stop he's hiding at step in front of him while he shrugs at his neighbor.
- Also in the movie, the two Mooks who try to attack Reacher with a bat and a crowbar, only to be limited by the small space. They end up doing more damage to each other than Reacher, with the bat wielder even knocking the crowbar wielder out by smacking him in the face.
- This exchange before Reacher confronts the Zec:
Helen: You were wrong about my father.Reacher: Yeah, let's not make a big thing of it.
- Default Auto Parts