Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Matthew Reilly

Go To

To anyone who knows a writer, never underestimate the power of your encouragement.
Matthew Reilly

Matthew John Reilly (born 2 July 1974) is an Australian author who writes extremely fast-paced action novels. His books have been compared to Indiana Jones on fast forward, with some of the wildest and most sustained battles in an action thriller. His books often contain many examples of both fictional and real-world firearms and military technology, simply for plot advancement. They also usually contain multiple explosions and could be described as 'What can we blow up this time, and how can we make it more awesome?'

His books are:


Independent Books

  • Contest: In the New York City Library, aliens and one chosen human fight to the death.
  • Temple: William Race is a language professor tasked with translating a manuscript that will reveal the location of an Incan idol, capable of powering a doomsday device.
  • Hover Car Racer: A kid tries to win the Hover Car Racing World Championship. Notably released for free on the internet, as a serial, and Reilly sold the publishing rights for the princely sum of $2 AU.
  • The Tournament: A thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Tudor gets mixed up in a murder plot while attending a high profile chess tournament.
  • Troll Mountain: In a fantasy world where humans are under the thumb of oppressive trolls, an inventor named Raf braves their mountains to steal a cure for his dying sister. Initially published as an e-book only, originally in three parts, it received a print release in 2015.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Great Zoo Of China: An expert on reptiles is invited to a brand new zoo in China as part of a group of foreign journalists, only for events at the zoo to rapidly spiral out of control when the animals contained within — dragons, revived after millions of years of hibernation — start to fight back.
  • The Secret Runners of New York: A new student at an exclusive New York school discovers a secret portal to the future, just days before a massive gamma cloud will strike Earth and essentially destroy civilisation.

Shane Michael "Scarecrow" Schofield Series

  • Ice Station: Lieutenant Shane Schofield, nicknamed Scarecrow, is in charge of a Marine Recon squad that is sent to secure an ice station in Antarctica to investigate an alien craft. It's actually an invisible fighter/bomber lost when the corporation building it in secret there was smashed in an Earthquake. Everyone and their mother want it - to the point America's allies are willing to kill American civilians and soldiers for it... even the American government itself.
  • Area 7: The President has a transmitter placed on his heart that will destroy over a dozen major American cities if he dies. Scarecrow must protect him from a company of super soldiers while locked in a secret air force base.
  • Scarecrow: Scarecrow has a $18.6 million price on his head, and faces some of the world's most ruthless bounty hunters. To survive, he will need to discover the organization behind the bounty and stop their attempts to create a new Cold War through nuclear attacks.
  • Hell Island: A novella. Scarecrow fights an army of 300 genetically engineered apes, to test them for real combat.
  • Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves(retitled Scarecrow Returns overseas): An anarchist terrorist group seize control of Dragon Island, which houses a former Soviet superweapon. With only a few hours to stop the so-called "Army of Thieves", it's up to Scarecrow, Mother, a handful of Marines and civilians, and a few unexpected allies to save North America from destruction. It's actually not North America that's in danger. It's actually a CIA plan to obliterate China so America stays as the head economy. America is only taking some casualties to maintain a guise of innocence

Jack West Series

  • Seven Ancient Wonders(retitled Seven Deadly Wonders in America): Retired Australian soldier Jack West and his team of multinational commandos have to find all seven pieces of the Golden Capstone that once graced the Great Pyramid of Giza, before either America or a coalition of European superpowers can assemble it. In the right hands, it will prevent a deadly sunspot; in the wrong hands, it will grant one superpower a thousand years' worth of power.
  • Six Sacred Stones: 18 months after averting either destruction or domination, the "Dark Sun" threatens to violently shake the Earth's biosphere. Jack sets off to find the titular artifacts, which are the key to using the power of six other MacGuffins, the "Pillars". The catch: Max "Wizard" Epper, his mentor, was captured by a new player in the superpower war—the Chinese—and is guided with nothing but Wizard's notes.
  • The Five Greatest Warriors: Jack and his team have hit a dead end, and must find the location of the remaining Pillars and tap into their powers before the Dark Sun threatens to destroy the world and/or the Americans, the Europeans and the Chinese use it for their ends, aided by another clue: five of the greatest warriors in history.
  • The Four Legendary Kingdoms: A decade after the original Capstone mission, Jack is kidnapped and forced to compete in the Great Games, facing off against more than a dozen fellow "champions" — including the one and only Scarecrow — to complete a ritual that will, once again, save the Earth. Along the way, Jack learns more about the secret history of the world, the origins of the ancient knowledge and technology that have kept it safe, and what threats loom in the Earth's future.
  • The Three Secret Cities: Takes place a few days after the previous book, and features the return of Aloysius Knight.

His books are written more like action movies than traditional thrillers; he likens them to stripped-down sports cars. Great literature it ain't, but the bottom line is the Rule of Fun. Reilly admits this, and says that the most important thing is that his books get people (especially teenage boys who wouldn't read higher-brow novels) to read.

  • Abusive Parents: Jonathan "Wolf" West Sr., the Big Bad of Six Sacred Stones and Five Greatest Warriors.
    • As revealed in Scarecrow Returns, Shane's father was this, either beating him or his his mother up because he couldn't achieve the military accomplishments Shane or his grandfather could achieve. In spite of that, he left Shane with twelve million dollars… which was all donated because he didn't want a "cruel man's money".
  • Action Survivor: Stephen Swain in Contest, William Race in Temple, Raf in Troll Mountain, Skye in The Secret Runners of New York.
  • After the End:
    • Strongly hinted to be the setting of Troll Mountain, as what is on the surface a standard medieval fantasy world also has a few relics from previous societies, plus scurvy exists in it exactly the same as in ours.
    • Secret Runners of New York features the characters travelling to a post-apocalyptic New York over two decades in their future.
  • The Alcatraz: One part of Seven Ancient Wonders involves breaking a prisoner out of Guantanamo Bay. Yes, the Guantanamo Bay.
  • Alliterative Name: Shane Schofield. And that's not even mentioning his codename.
  • America Saves the Day: Subverted in Seven Ancient Wonders, Six Sacred Stones, and Five Greatest Warriors, where America [and everyone else not represented by a person on the team] is the bad guy. Played straight in any novel involving Scarecrow.
    • Actually, played straight and subverted in Ice Station and Area 7; the former contains backstabbing moles planted in Scarecrow's group that are part of a larger, American organization, and the latter's bad guys are Americans trying to kill the President. The Army of Thieves is also revealed to be a CIA ploy to destroy China. So it's more like 'A couple of Americans save the day while the rest act like total dicks'.
    • And in Five Greatest Warriors, one of the members who join's Jack's team is an American.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: He branched out from his usual material considerably with the historical drama The Tournament, and continued with the family-oriented fantasy fable Troll Mountain. He explains in the latter's afterword that he just writes whatever interests him at the time.
  • Anonymous Benefactor: In the third book, Knight was hired to keep scarecrow alive by Lillian Mattencourt, partially due to the fact that the villains plan would hurt her business, mostly because she's bitter they refused to let her join their society out of sexism and maybe just partially out of simple humanity.
  • Anonymous Ringer: The President.
  • Anyone Can Die: Extreme. In Ice Station, Scarecrow starts with 16 Marines. By the end of the book, he has four left. One of them loses her lower leg, and another leaves the service between books due to the massive trauma suffered.
    • Not to mention Gant, Scarecrow's girlfriend and the fourth above-mentioned survivor, is killed off in Scarecrow.
    • Also Wizard in Five Greatest Warriors.
    • Scarecrow dies in Ice Station, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves, and The Four Legendary Kingdoms. He gets better each time.
    • It's become almost a running theme for Scarecrow to lose at least half his squad any time they go out on a mission.
  • Arc Welding: Scarecrow and Jack West meet in The Four Legendary Kingdoms. And then The Tournament is revealed to be a historical event in the setting in The Three Secret Cities.
  • Area 51: Ice Station mentions UFO storage facilities in Nevada, that are used to distract conspiracy theorists from America's experimental fighter planes.
    • Never explicitly mentioned in Area 7, but you know that there are other Areas, so connect the dots and...
  • Artifact of Doom: The sixth pillar.
  • Artificial Limbs: Jack's left arm.
    • Mother gets one in Area 7 after a killer whale chews her leg off in Ice Station.
      • And it has acted multiple times as a Chekhov's Gun. Or rather Chekhov's Limb.
  • Back for the Dead: Fuzzy, one of the characters in Seven Ancient Wonders is revealed to be dead in Six Sacred Stones, his head delivered to Jack West Jr. in a hatbox.
  • Badass Bookworm: Professor William Race in Temple.
    • Roger Ascham in The Tournament, A Sherlock Homage character in some regards.
    • David Fairfax in Scarecrow; he might be a desk analyst for the CIA, but at one point he manages to kill a professional assassin while questioning a doctor about exactly why he and others are being targeted by the current bounty hunt, and is later sent into the field to basically act as Schofield's proxy as one of the few people Schofield absolutely trusts.
    • Zack and Emma from Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves are just a bomb disposal expert and a meteorologist, but pull their weight in hepling out Scarecrow and the Marines.
  • Badass Driver: Scarecrow, after he took a stunt driving course.
  • Badass Israeli: The Jack West series' Benjamin "Stretch" Cohen. He can shoot RPG's out of the air with a sniper rifle!
  • Best Friends-in-Law: Jack West and JJ Wickham were good buddies before, during and after Wickham's marriage to Jack's late sister.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Raf from Troll Mountain has an ax with a dagger in the handle.
  • Blown Across the Room: Inverted. Book was blown across the room by the recoil, while Goliath had his skull cracked.
  • The Book Cipher: The heroes of Six Sacred Stones use a book cipher to send confidential messages to each other. The key text is the Harry Potter books, but the messages are sent via a The Lord of the Rings forum to make the key text harder to identify.
  • Briar Patching: In Ice Station, Scarecrow tricks Mr. Nero into setting off a pair of nitrogen grenades.
  • Broken Pedestal: Pancho finding out that his revered former commander was complicit to putting them in danger just to test the gorilla soldiers in Hell Island and is prepared to kill them even after they survive.
  • Bullet Dodges You: Warblers in the Jack West Jr. series.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Knight's utility vests, but averted with normal combat armor.
  • Cain and Abel: Jack and Rapier in the Jack West novels, given Rapier's Bastard Angst and feeling that their father (his boss and the Big Bad) favors Jack over him making him want to murder his half-brother out of the hopes of earning his father's affection.
  • Canon Welding: There are implications that the Shane Schofield books, the Jack West books, and Temple all take place in the same universe. Temple's Supernova is mentioned obliquely in Area 7, and the Maghooks that Schofield uses so much make an appearance in The Six Sacred Stones. Also, Sean "Astro" Miller, one of Schofield's team of marines in Hell Island, goes on to join Jack West Jr's team in Six Sacred Stones and Five Greatest Warriors.
    • Outright confirmed in The Four Legendary Kingdoms, the fourth Jack West Jr book, in which Scarecrow is a main character, and references are made to the events of Area 7 and Scarecrow. And then The Three Secret Cities even off-handedly reveals that The Tournament is also a canon historical event.
  • Carnival of Killers: In Scarecrow, Majestic-12 sets a bounty on the 15 people who could possibly foil their plan. Various groups respond, including Professional Bounty Hunters, Mercenaries, AWOL Military Units, Corrupt Corporate Executives...
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Bassario from Temple.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Andrew Trent
  • Chekhov's Armoury: His writing style uses more guns than James Bond. Put simply, if it's mentioned, it'll come into play. Guns, equipment, the surrounding buildings, the weather, the landscape...usually when Scarecrow blows part of it up.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Micro dots
  • Chekhov's Exhibit: Kevin
  • Chekhov's Gun: People using their birthdays as their PIN or the Fibonacci sequence as the password to a top-secret experimental airplane, or the sixth Mersenne number.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Scarecrow's flight experience, Fox's offscreen officer training.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Manual hovercar pit stops.
  • Child Prodigy: The villain in Scarecrow Returns was this in the CIA.
  • The Chosen One: Renco (except really maybe Race) in Temple, and Jack West Jr. in The Five Greatest Warriors.
  • Closed Circle: Reilly's used this a few times. Contest, Ice Station, and Area 7 jump to mind.
  • Closest Thing We Got: In Scarecrow, Schofield's ally David Fairfax- who typically works as an analyst for the CIA- takes it upon himself to try and save Doctor Thompson Oliphaunt, who has been identified as another target of a bounty hunt that Schofield is another target of, Fairfax explicitly stating to Oliphaunt that he admits he isn't much of a hero but he's all the other man has. Fairfax manages to defeat one of the assassins in the hunt who is attempting to kill Oliphaunt, while also getting the man to tell him what the current situation is about. Although the doctor is subsequently killed by another assassin, the assassin in question spares Fairfax because she was impressed with his courage.
  • Cold Sniper: Snake. Stretch starts out at one, but gradually moves towards Friendly Sniper.
  • Colonel Badass: Inverted in Area 7 with Colonel Hagerty, who is a paper-pushing colonel who was never in combat.
  • Combat Pragmatist: You better believe that Schofield is going to use everything surrounding him to take you out. And the rest of his team have no qualms about fighting dirty if it'll save their lives. Truth in Television, real fights aren't clean. Same goes for Jack West Jr's team. At least those who are soldiers.
  • Condemned Contestant: The prisoners in Area 7
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Area 7 opens with an article from "The Conspiracy Theorist Monthly". (National circulation: 152 issues.)
  • Contest Winner Cameo: Steven Oakes, a Red Shirt killed on the same page he was introduced on.
    • Reilly does this all the time, running contests or charity auctions and letting the winners pick a name for one of his characters; they usually go with their own name or their kid's. Examples range from Jackson Dyre (a General from The Five Greatest Warriors, named for a radio contest winner) to Max Epper (Wizard's real name, from the son of an auction winner).
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted, mostly
  • Cool Car: Killian owns a garage full of expensive sports cars. They all get stolen for a car chase.
    • And by the next chapter, not one of them is intact.
    • Reilly himself fits this trope - he owns a Delorean.
  • Cool Guns: Reilly's books use the following guns:
    • Handguns: Beretta 92 M9, Glock, SIG Sauer, Desert Eagle
    • Machine Pistols: Škorpion
    • Submachine Guns: MP5, MP7, Uzi, FN P90
    • Assault Rifles: M4, M16, FA-MAS, AK-47
    • Sniper Rifles: Barrett M82
    • Launchers: Predator AT, Stinger AA
  • Cool Plane: the Silhouette, the Black Raven, the Halicarnassus. Only time will tell if the last one's replacement, the Sky Warrior, will be the same.
  • Cool Old Guy: The U.S. President in Area 7. Has his moments of snark and badassery, while still retaining the dignity of his office.
  • Cool Shades: Scarecrow's sunglasses that he wears to cover up the scars [read] on his eyeballs.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: Six Sacred Stones rotates this 90 degrees with giant boulders. And sometimes there are sliding stones instead.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Jack West Jr. and his team.
  • Creator Breakdown: The death of Reilly's wife hit him hard, and led to him disappearing from the Internet for several months and taking much longer than usual to put a new book out. And when it did come, it was the much Darker and Edgier The Tournament.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Jack gets literally crucified. But, because his executioners don't want him to suffer, they then drop a giant stone slab on him. He survives, thanks to his titanium arm.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: If you're a Matthew Reilly character, you might end up getting a hole drilled through your skull, crushed in a depressurizing diving bell, getting your spine ripped out by a giant cat, decapitated by helicopter rotors, crushed beneath an elevator, electrocuted in a pool of water, thrown into a jet engine, getting the bottom half of your body melted by volcanic mud, falling four hundred feet before a crate crushes you, getting your insides liquefied by a virus, boiled alive by microwaves, incinerated by the engines of a fighter jet, stabbed through the throat while being fed alive to crocodiles, getting a bunch of sulfuric acid poured on you in a coffin-sized space, sliced up by the turbines in a hydroelectric generator, and shot by anti-aircraft guns while not in a plane. What fun! And those are just the bad guys!
  • Cultural Translation: Jack West was given the call sign "Huntsman", a very large, non-aggressive Australian spider. The American version instead called him "Woodsman".
  • Dead Guy Junior: Book II.
  • Death Course: Seven Ancient Wonders has lots of trap systems like this.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Tournament is a far darker and more mature story than his usual work, to the point where it's honestly hard to believe it's the same guy.
  • Deconstruction: Troll Mountain, for the frequent portrayal of fantasy monsters as Always Chaotic Evil. The trolls do have a lot of violent, evil members, including their leadership, but there are also plenty of smart ones who get shouted down by the others. And the ones who attack humans are actually insane from near-starvation after being exiled.
  • Deus ex Machina: Any time that something goes wrong, the trusty Maghooks come out. Notably subverted when something is just a "tiny bit too far" for the hook to reach.
    • In another book, a Maghook runs out of propellant, to which a character remarks, "Come on, that never happens!"
      • It happens twice in that book. To two different people.
  • Desk Jockey: Colonel Hagerty, callsign: Hotrod—no, Ramrod.
  • The Determinator: Don't try and stop a Matt Reilly hero from finishing his mission.
  • Development Hell: Movies of his books are constantly in limbo. Someone should just show them to Michael Bay.
    • Reilly himself has stated that he would like to direct a film based off a book of his, so…
    • He moved to Los Angeles in 2015 to better supervise these efforts, including writing a script for a movie of The Tournament himself. He's also stated that a Jack West TV show is in discussion.
  • Dewey Defeats Truman: In-universe example in Hover Car Racer. After the Italian Run a newspaper prepares two versions of the front page but prints the wrong one, leading to Jason reading a story with the headline "The Death of Jason Chaser".
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: the Golden Capstone.
  • Distress Call: Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves would have had a very different ending if Dr. Ivanov hadn't managed to take off his plane when the Russian base is attacked at the beginning and broadcast an alert about the attack which is heard by Scarecrow and the others nearby.
  • Doing It for the Art: Reading any of the interviews in the back of Reilly's books will make clear that despite his frivolous subject matter, the man takes his stories very seriously and has never sent a book to be published unless he's absolutely sure it's as good as he can make it.
  • Door of Doom: The portal in Temple.
  • Door Roulette: A pair of Death Traps in Seven Ancient Wonders.
  • Double Knockout: Subverted in the fight between Schofield and Wexley.
  • Dragons Are Dinosaurs: Quite literally in The Great Zoo of China. They're a dinosaur species that were hibernating deep underground during the extinction, which have been checking now and again to see if the world has become hot enough for them all to come out, which is the reason that so many ancient cultures had dragon myths despite being isolated from each other.
  • Drowning Pit: A common type of Death Trap, and it doesn't always involve water…
  • Dumb Muscle: Goliath and Rocko
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Contest, his first written book, has much more sci-fi elements (to the point of including aliens) and a lot less emphasis on the military. Ice Station, his first published book, has less-but-still-prevalent sci-fi, such as the spaceship MacGuffin that turns out to be man-made and still quite advanced, while backstory on the ICG provides implications for Ancient Astronauts.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Supernova is designed to cause this.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: Contest. Notably, it happens beneath the elevator
  • Elevator Escape: Subverted several times in Contest.
    • At first, it seems successful in Area 7, and they even climb below the elevator for extra protection. Until several million gallons of water start pouring down the shaft.
  • Emphasise Everything: Sometimes happens during action sequences.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Black Knight (real name Aloysius Knight) is basically the darker version of Schofield, who became that way after he lost everything to the ICG - an evil organization that Schofield defeated. They even look quite similar - prone to wearing black, both have black hair, and both wear sunglasses due to various eye problems.
  • Evil Plan: a lot of the Big Bads run these through hell and back. And in the case of Area 7, goes into My Death Is Just the Beginning territory and beyond.
  • Explosions in Space: Averted. The destruction of the Chinese space shuttle describes it as "just cracking".
  • Expy: Many of the characters in the Jack West Jr. series could be seen as expies of the Fellowship of the Ring. Jack himself is Aragorn, the badass leader of the team; Wizard is Gandalf, the wise adviser; Lily is Frodo, the only one who can read the Word of Thoth/carry the One Ring; Alby is the Sam to Lily's Frodo, the dependable friend who gives her a reason to keep going; Stretch is Legolas, the member of a Memetic Badass race with Improbable Aiming Skills; and Pooh Bear is Gimli, his short, bearded verbal sparring partner and later best friend. Julius and Lachlan, as red-headed, fun-loving twins, are also expies of Fred and George and to a lesser extent Merry and Pippin. Most of these are lampshaded in the books through chat-site usernames, book code codenames and frequent allusions to both series.
    • In The Tournament, Roger Ascham is basically Sherlock Holmes a few centuries early.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Except for the last few pages, all of Area 7 happens within five hours.
  • Eye Scream: Ever wondered how Scarecrow got those scars?
    • The Great Zoo of China features an eye surgery scene described in quite nauseating detail.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Mario in Scarecrow Returns. Notable since most enemies from within the heroes' team in Reilly's works are often The Mole or otherwise never really on their side.
  • False Flag Operation: In Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves, the titular army are planning to use an abandoned Soviet superweapon to wipe out North America; however, their leader is a CIA officer conducting a long-term operation to destabilize China.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Living Tombs. Enough has been said.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: See Kill It with Fire.
  • Fire-Forged Friend: Stephen, Balthzar and Hawkins during the Gladiator Games the former two are made to participate in, and Hawkisn stumbles into investigating Stephen's dissapearence.
  • French Jerk: All of them pre-Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves. Good luck finding his books in France!
    • Subverted in Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves- none of the French involved are jerks, and one of them ends up as Scarecrow's new love interest, despite being sent to kill him.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: While escaping Wolf's forces invading the Neetha, Alby's forced between getting to the Second Pillar or rescuing Zoe from certain death by falling. He chooses Zoe.
  • From Bad to Worse: All of Ice Station. As the beginning of the next book puts it, "the mission went to hell on an express elevator".
    • Temple as well. From German special forces with murky motivation to Nazis wanting to wreck the world's economy to nihilists who just want to destroy the world.
    • And in Six Sacred Stones and Five Greatest Warriors, aside from Jack having to contend with Wolf's alliance, they also have to deal with the Japanese Blood Brotherhood, who wish to see the world destroyed in retaliation from losing their honor in World War II.
  • Gambit Pileup: Frequently. Most of his books have at least three or four sides at play.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The pieces of the Capstone, the Six Sacred Stones, and four of the six Pillars (two already provided beforehand).
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Maghook. Any time it gets pulled out, the chance of something awesome happens skyrockets.
    • In another book, there's also the Magneteux, which is an upgrade to the Maghook by the French.
    • An Indian version appears in Four Legendary Kingdoms.
  • The Group: Die Organisasie
  • Indy Escape: Stretch lampshades in Seven Ancient Wonders: "Let me guess. A boulder is going to come and chase us down the slope, just like in Raiders of the Lost Ark".
  • Indy Ploy: Schofield lives on this.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Very prominent in his works, especially notable in Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves when the Navy SEAL leader arrogantly brushes him off, and in Hell Island where everyone considers the Delta Force soldiers to be useless show ponies.
  • Karma Houdini: With Army of Thieves, Reilly finally developed an antagonist good enough to want to use again, so he just gets away at the end and even sends Scarecrow a mocking package to indicate he's still out there.
    • Crown Prince Selim in The Tournament, as per history, in spite of being a medieval sex trafficker. Though the postscript about the historical figures reminds us that his life was quite ignominious.
  • Kill It with Fire: In Five Greatest Warriors, how does Jack West's half-brother "Rapier" kill ninjas with guns in a dark tunnel? The answer; flamethrower!
    • CJ from The Great Zoo of China kind of falls into using this as her primary weapon.
  • Kill It with Ice: Liquid Nitrogen Grenades.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Alby in The Six Sacred Stones.
    "It's your mother," said Zoe. "Please be discreet."
    A missile whooshed by overhead.
  • Knight Templar: ICG. A black ops organization designed to make sure America has dibs on any helpful new technology or information, and infiltrate various organizations in their own country in case they have to kill everyone in them.
  • Legally Dead: Andrew Trent and later Schofield thanks to the ICG in Ice Station, Caesar in Area 7 (after being executed and revived).
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Turned Up to Eleven in Seven Ancient Wonders, with how West lost his arm.
  • Lighter and Softer: Troll Mountain is his first book explicitly written for families to read together.
  • Magical Defibrillator: Used to revive Caesar after he is executed by lethal injection. Because apparently it cures poison too!
  • Market-Based Title: Seven Deadly Wonders.
  • Medals for Everyone: Scarecrow ends up repeatedly decorated over the novels.
  • Medium Awareness: In Ice Station:
    Kirsty: When you…when you went under the hovercraft, I thought…I thought you were dead.
    Schofield: Hey. It's OK. It's all right. I'm not going to die on you. I am not going to die on you. I mean, hey, I can't die. I'm the hero of this story.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: Delta Force.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Jack West Jr. shows up guns blazing at the top of the The Great Pyramid at Giza after having had a garden the size of a mountain dropped on his head.
    • And then he once got crushed by a stone slab after being crucified to another stone, surviving thanks to his metallic arm, though it did take hours and several times unconscious for him to finally escape. A couple hours later, he's out, bloodied, and utterly pissed off!
    • And was dropped down a seemingly Bottomless Pit with a psychotic nihilist Marine, only surviving thanks to a weapon nobody knew he was carrying. Jack kinda makes his living out of doing this.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: The beginning of Five Greatest Warriors, although it's usually averted.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: Mother comes back at the end of Scarecrow, just in the nick of time.
  • Once an Episode: In the Shane Schofield series, Mother seemingly dying, only to survive by improvising. Lampshaded in later books.
  • One Last Smoke: Scarecrow uses this in his Indy Ploy to escape from a situation in which he is handcuffed, upside down, being lowered into a pool of freezing water containing hungry killer whales. He doesn't even smoke, by the way.
  • One-Man Army: Jack.
  • Padding: Averted. As mentioned above, his books are like stripped-down sports cars, and if something isn't blowing up it's because the protagonists are trying to get clear before it does or have run out of things to blow up.
  • Papa Wolf: Jack. Don't mess with his (adopted) daughter Lily.
  • People Jars: "Old Master" Mordechai and Vladimir "Carnivore" Karnov in The Five Greatest Warriors keep prisoners preserved in these. Until they die of old age.
  • Pinned Down: Very common.
  • Rare Guns: The Neo-Nazi unit uses H&K G-11s.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Literally in the fourth Scarecrow novel, although this is done to keep him and Mother out of the reach of assassins rather than to punish them for anything.
  • Robot Buddy: In Scarecrow Returns, we have the BRTE-500, named Bertie, who has an AI that lets him follow orders, learn, and even make tactical decisions. Originally meant for bomb disposal, it also has a 5.56 mm M249 machine gun, a blowtorch, a hi-res cam, a first-aid kit it can use, and MRE rations for its operators.
  • Rule of Cool: Most definitely a driving force behind much of his writing, followed by…
  • Running Gag: Faking us out about Mother being killed. To the point that when it actually happens for real, nobody will believe it.
  • Sacrificial Lion: One in every book.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: Based on the lengths of the race courses in Hover Car Racer, Tasmania in that book is less than a quarter of the scale it is in real life.
  • Sequel Escalation: A self-stated goal of his.
  • Sequential Symptom Syndrome: The Sinovirus.
  • Shark Pool: Jonathon Killian's dungeon, among others.
  • Short-Lived Aerial Escape: In Temple, 2 helicopters try to escape, but a giant cat kills everyone in the first shortly after it takes off, and the out of control copter takes out the second one.
  • Shout-Out: He named a bounty hunter team, IG-88, after a robot extra on ''Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.''
  • Shown Their Work: He has military advisers to make sure he gets things right. Although sometimes he ignores them because of plot requirements or Rule of Cool.
    • Contest takes place in the New York Public Library, and even includes a map of it at the beginning of the book.
      • Though the original edition made a few errors as Reilly was largely guessing at the library's layout (officially it was set in a Fictional Counterpart called the New York State Library). Under the circumstances he got it remarkably close, and the updated edition currently out fixes any mistakes (mostly inserting hallways between rooms). On the other hand, all Australian editions retain the original layout, with recent printings including a note from the author about the changes in the American edition.
    • In Temple, he manages to cram a surprising amount of Inca factoids into an intense action novel. Real Inca too, not Mayincatec.
    • In Six Sacred Stones, he includes a bibliography.
  • Spanner in the Works: In Scarecrow Returns, if it weren't for Ironbark, the SEAL squad leader who went in ahead of Schofield and was thought to have been killed with his entire squad, the Lord of Anarchy might've won early.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: This is Matthew Reilly we're talking about…
    • He's more-or-less the Michael Bay of literature, but with better plots.
      • He's actually noted in an interview that he enjoys writing books because movies are limited in the scale of stuff they can blow up by budgets and safety laws. Reilly could level a city block without a problem (and with the way his books go, that's probably up next).
    • This is Lampshaded when it becomes known as Schofield's signature tactic.
    Fairfax: So, what have you destroyed today?
    Schofield: I've flooded a Typhoon-class submarine, leveled a building, and launched a ballistic missile to destroy a maintenance facility.
    Fairfax: Slow day, huh?
  • Stun Guns: Zoe uses one in The Six Sacred Stones.
  • Super-Detailed Fight Narration: Reilly spends pages and pages describe every detail of a fight that he can.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Veronique Champion is basically a French version of Libby Gant in Scarecrow Returns. They even have the same call-sign.
  • Take That!: The Jack West series features an Ancient Conspiracy who have frequently rigged elections for their preferred candidate. But Donald Trump was not one of them; the Americans were just stupid enough to do it on their own.
  • Taking You with Me: Schofield was prepared to do this to kill the villain in Scarecrow (who is a civilian and thus could not be shot) by jumping off the window with him down to a cluster of rock spikes below. While fully intending to do so, Aloysius Knight saves him in time.
  • The Swear Jar: To "protect" Lily from the soldiers' bad language. Or to just buy her lots of presents, either way.
  • Team Mom: The Marine codenamed Mother is a subversion. While she is protective of her team, it's to about the same extent that everyone else on the team is. She's also one of the most foul-mouthed and violent members—"Mother" is actually short for "Motherfucker".
    • "A six-foot, shaved bald female Marine with a heart of gold", his words. (sorta)
  • This Is a Drill: And it goes right through Snake's head. Ouch.
  • Threatening Shark: Or any number of other creatures. If a man-eating animal shows up, you'd better believe that animal will eventually be eating some man.
  • Train Job: Jack's team hijacks a prison train in The Six Sacred Stones to free Wizard and Tank.
  • Tuckerization: General Jackson Dyer was chosen on a radio show, and actually lasts 29 pages. That's huge.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Hell Island, or so you are supposed to believe.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Hover Car Racer opens with "A few years from now..."
  • Twice-Told Tale: The Jack West Jr. series require the exact same suspension of disbelief as Indiana Jones, being realistic action adventure for most of the story until the supernatural comes in at the end. In addition, most if not all characters and locations can be matched to those in The Lord of the Rings, including the Great Pyramid standing in for Mount Doom.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: The Jack West series. At least the Seven to Five.
  • Up to Eleven: Every single one of his action sequences would make Michael Bay drool.
    • A good example is the car chase midway through Scarecrow. It's set on a cliffside road above the sea, and involves seven cars (all but one of which have a driver and a gunner), two big rigs, three helicopters, two fighter planes, and a destroyer. Once it's done, only one car, one truck, one helicopter, and the destroyer are intact.
      • And one or two chapters later, Scarecrow has sunk an entire aircraft carrier.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Solidly averted: Mother, a bicep-rippling, foul-mouthed, utter badass Vasquez clone if ever there was one, survives everything thrown at her, including killer whales. While Gant, often described as very attractive, gets guillotined. (And unlike many other recipients of horrific injuries in Reilly's books, she doesn't get better.) For extra aversion points, at the time, Gant is Scarecrow's girlfriend.
  • [Verb] This!: In Area 7, Scarecrow says "Confirm this." before firing two AMRAAM missiles at a Chinese space shuttle.
  • The Voiceless: The Bug in Hover Car Racer. He only talks directly to Jason and his mother (not his father though), and even the readers don't hear him. Except at one particularly dramatic moment.
  • Weaponised Exhaust: Jet engines make a pretty efficient crematorium.
  • White Sheep: Oz is more moral than his parents and sisters 'The Secret Runners of New York.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Marshall Judah has a fear of heights while Pooh Bear can't stand crocodiles enough not to follow Jack West through them, though he understands.
  • Wild Card: Mustapha Zaeed in Seven Ancient Wonders, and Princess Iolanthe in The Six Sacred Stones and The Five Greatest Warriors.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Two cases in Hover Car Racer. The more obvious one is Syracuse claiming that 10 out of 2000 equals 0.005% (it's actually 0.5%, or a proportion of 0.005); the less obvious one is in one of the early leaderboards - Jason has more points than would be possible for someone at such a low ranking and at that point in the year.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Mother considers the Scarecrow far too badass to be called 'Shane', until he's about to commit suicide.
  • Young Future Famous People: The Tournament is narrated by a thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Tudor, and also features a similarly young Ivan the Terrible.
  • Your Head A-Splode: This is why the characters use hollow points.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: