Gray Man is a popular book series comprising twelve psychological thriller and action novels written by the American novelist Mark Greaney.
The main character of the series is a ruthless mercenary who has a good heart. Initially working for the Central Intelligence Agency, Courtland “Court” Gentry decides to become a freelance killer for hire once he learns that the CIA has turned against him.
The Gray Man book series is greatly loved by readers. Critics have mostly reviewed it positively.
The first book, titled The Gray Man, has been adapted into a feature film that was released on Netflix in 2022.
|Gray Man Books in Order
|The Gray Man
|Agent in Place
|One Minute Out
|The Chaos Agent
Mark Greaney’s Biography
Mark Greaney, born in Memphis, Tennessee, is an American writer. His primary focus is on the thriller genre.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Mark worked as a waiter and bartender and later in a surgical technology company. During his time at the company, Mark worked on two novels, one of which was Goon Squad.
He wrote the novel The Gray Man, which became a huge hit with readers, based on the character Court Gentry from the movie Goon Squad.
Mark Greaney has also worked with his favorite author, Tom Clancy, on his last three books, Locked On, Threat Vector, and Command Authority. After Tom Clancy’s death, Mark decided to continue the Jack Ryan series.
He left the series after writing four novels. Mark Greaney’s first standalone work was a military thriller titled Red Metal. It was released on July 16, 2019.
Also read: The Mitch Rapp Book Series in Order
Who is the Gray Man?
Mark Greaney’s novels revolve around a character known as the Gray Man. A former CIA agent named Court Gentry goes by the alias “Gray Man” in the criminal underworld. He is famous in the covert realm as the ultimate killer for hire.
Court Gentry has never missed a target or failed a mission. He accomplishes the impossible and then simply disappears without a trace. Most people consider him a myth.
Gentry now works as a mercenary in Syria and Iraq. He is shocked after finding out that the team that was sent to rescue him has actually been ordered to get rid of him. Gentry realises the presence of forces that are deadlier than him.
He slowly discovers that the ones behind this conspiracy are powerful entities like Gentry’s former government and a once-trustworthy ally who joined forces to eliminate him.
The Gray Man decides to flee. He must make use of his extraordinary instincts and survival skills to keep his enemies at bay and kill not just for a living but also to stay alive.
Gray Man Books in Order
Mark Greaney’s debut novel, titled The Gray Man, is the first book in the series. It was published on September 29, 2009. There are a total of 12 books in the thriller series. The latest book, titled Burner, came out in 2023.
The first book in the Gray Man book series, titled The Gray Man, is a thriller novel published by Jove Books in the United States.
The story revolves around Court Gentry, a former CIA operative turned freelance assassin who is on a mission to rescue Sir Donald Fitzroy and his family in France.
Gentry learns that the former CIA officer and member of a giant French corporation named Lloyd wants him dead.
Lloyd is working with the Nigerian president, who wants Gentry eliminated for assassinating his brother. Court Gentry realizes that he has been betrayed by his former CIA handlers and decides to flee. He must use stealth and ruthlessness to survive his enemies.
The Gray Man has received many positive reviews from critics. Directed by the Russo brothers and starring actors like Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling, Wagner Moura, and Julia Butters, a movie by the same name was released on July 22, 2022.
The second book in the series is a sequel to “The Gray Man.”
The story takes place four years after the CIA handlers’ betrayal. Gentry had to eliminate his former brothers-in-arms to ensure his survival. He has now turned into a merciless assassin renowned as the Gray Man, a legend in the underworld.
Gentry works as a killer for hire. While still recovering from his wounds, Gentry is suddenly approached by a former comrade who wants him to undertake a special mission and work for a Russian contact. The job is not, however, to assassinate a person.
Court must be involved in a difficult mission to kidnap the president of an African country and then hand him over to the same CIA team that is trying to eliminate him.
With his former comrade blackmailing him, the merciless CIA team plotting to kill him, and a difficult kidnapping mission at hand, Court Gentry must execute his plans flawlessly to keep himself alive.
The first paperback edition of On Target was published by Berkley on September 28, 2010. It contains 544 pages.
Ballistic is a sequel to On Target and the third book in the Gray Man series.
The story takes place sometime after the events of On Target. Court Gentry has been running from the CIA for five years.
He has quit working as an assassin and is now living a quiet life in the Brazilian jungle of the Amazon Rainforest. But Court’s past chases him, and he is soon hunted down by a Russian crime lord named Sidorenko, who is seeking revenge against him.
Gentry is once again forced to flee. He decides to meet his only trustworthy friend, Eduardo Gamboa, a Mexican Federal Police Major who saved his life years ago.
Upon arrival in Mexico, Court discovers that Eddie was killed by an infamous drug cartel named Daniel de la Rocha, whom he was assigned to assassinate.
Court decides to pay his respects to the fallen comrade, but his arrival at Eddie’s residence stirs up interesting events. He must protect Eddie’s family, his widow, and their unborn son from the deadly kingpin Daniel de la Rocha and his assassins. War is approaching, and the Gentry must remain prepared.
The paperback edition of the book contains 467 pages. It was first published on October 4, 2011.
The fourth novel in the series focuses on the antagonist, codenamed Dead Eye.
Court Gentry has been a proud master assassin. His extraordinary skills and ability to appear and disappear will make people wonder if the Gray Man truly exists.
But while getting back at his old boss, Gentry runs into a killer who is just like him.
Russell Whitlock, renowned in the covert world as Dead Eye, has graduated from the same secret program that trained Gentry. He is completely aware of Gentry’s thought process, plans, skills, and moves.
Whitlock, now a free assassin, has been instructed by the CIA to eliminate Gentry. On the other hand, Court Gentry has been hired by Iranian agents to assassinate the prime minister of Israel.
Interesting events occur in the ever-changing environment. Goals and allegiances are frequently changed when survival becomes a top priority.
The Kindle edition of Dead Eye was first published on December 3, 2011. The paperback edition came out on July 31, 2018. It contains 624 pages.
Mark Greaney’s fifth novel, Back Blast, focuses on the Gray Man’s last mission under the CIA.
Courtland (Court) Gentry had once been the CIA’s best asset. While working on a rescue mission, he finds out that his masters have issued shoot-on-sight orders for him.
His former CIA team wants him dead for mysterious reasons. This news forces Court to flee and work as a freelance assassin named Gray Man.
Five years after these events, Court Gentry is determined to find out what made the Central Intelligence Agency turn on him. He comes to Washington, D.C., and tries to start his investigation of the men who sent him on his last CIA mission, Operation Back Blast.
But his investigation leads him to some deadly secrets that powerful people do not want uncovered. This, in turn, makes Court a target for more people.
Back Blast was first published on February 16, 2016 by Berkley Publishing Group. It has 513 pages.
The sixth book in the Gray Man book series is titled Gunmetal Gray.
Five years after being chased down by the CIA, Court Gentry is re-hired by the same agency as the Gray Man. But his first mission made him feel like he was better off working elsewhere.
Two Chinese agents try to eliminate Court in Hong Kong. This makes him wonder why the Chinese are on such unusually high alert.
Court’s investigation leads him across Southeast Asia to Donald Fitzroy, an old friend who is held in captivity by the Chinese. Fitzroy was hired to find Fan Jiang, a former member of a secret computer warfare unit that tested China’s security systems.
China now wants Fan dead. The Chinese are engaged in the operation to eliminate Fan, but Court’s mission is to find the rogue hacker first and bring all the intelligence he has to the US. Court must complete his mission and return alive.
Berkley Books published Gunmetal Gray on February 14, 2017. The book acquired the 10th position on The New York Times bestseller list. The paperback edition has 494 pages.
The seventh novel in the thriller series is titled “Agent in Place.”
The story is set against the background of the Syrian civil war. Court Gentry is working with a group of expatriates known as the Free Syria Exile Union.
He has been hired by the leader, Dr. Tarek Halaby, to capture the Syrian president’s mistress, Bianca Medina, so that she can be used against him.
Their goal is to free Syria from the tyrannical president Ahmed al-Azzam’s regime. Their mission, however, changes its course when the expatriates discover that the president’s mistress has a baby named Jamal.
The baby is the president’s only male heir, and he is kept hidden in a safe house in Damascus. Court pursues Jamal, but the organisation renders the boy useless to their cause.
The expats refuse to provide him protection against the Syrian president’s wife, Shakira, also known as the First Lady of Hell, and the infamous Swiss assassin hired by her. Court must find a way to rescue Jamal, bring down the president alone, and most importantly, survive.
The novel was first published on February 20, 2018. It acquired the 7th rank on The New York Times bestseller list. The book has received positive reviews. The paperback edition comprises 507 pages.
Another bestseller from Mark Greaney, Mission Critical is the eighth book in the series.
Court Gentry is working as a freelance assassin for the CIA. His handler, Suzanne Brewer, is often worried because of Court’s annoying tendency to work alone. She orders him to fly to Washington.
Court gets on a plane that lands in Luxembourg City. The security team brings in a hooded prisoner who is to be interrogated in England. Court has been told nothing about this mission.
When they land on an isolated airfield in the West Midlands, he perceives that there may be a prisoner swap. Court catches movement at a distance and realizes that the drop is an ambush.
Shortly, everybody on the plane is killed, and only Court survives. The CIA sends him after the mysterious attackers. The Gray Man must face an elite group of trained assassins alone and get out alive.
Mission Critical was first published by Berkley Publishing Group on February 19, 2019. There are 513 pages in the paperback edition. The book ranked No. 5 on the New York Times bestseller list. It received generally positive reviews.
The most loved novel, titled One Minute Out is the ninth book in the Gray Man series.
The story takes place in Croatia. Court Gentry is assigned the task of assassinating former Serbian general Ratko Babic. Court discovers that Babic’s house is a waiting station for girls who are later transported and sold as sex slaves.
Upon further investigation, the presence of a global sex trafficking organization that spreads all the way from the Balkans to Hollywood is revealed. Court makes up his mind to bring it down.
Upon requesting the CIA’s help, the agency denies it and assigns him another task instead. Court must choose between going after the human trafficking organization and following the CIA’s orders.
One Minute Out ranked number one on The New York Times bestseller list, making it Mark Greaney’s first number-one solo entry. It was published on February 18. The book has 493 pages.
The tenth book in the series, titled Relentless, is a sequel to One Minute Out.
Intelligence operatives from all over the world begin to disappear mysteriously. Court Gentry is worn out and is healing from a wound, but he still needs to travel to various locations to execute his tasks.
His latest task is to rescue his comrade in arms, Zack Hightower, from a Venezuelan prison. While on the mission, Court comes across an American agent who previously went missing.
Court is ordered to bring him in but is interrupted by an unknown group of assassins. Court narrowly escapes with a crucial piece of information.
On the other hand, CIA agent and Court’s romantic interest, Zoya Zakharova, is assigned to infiltrate a private intelligence firm. However, the more information she receives, the greater the risk to her life. Maksim Akulov, a deadly assassin working for the Russian Mafia, is after Zoya.
Court and Zoya appear to be only two pawns on the international chessboard. They must remain alert to survive.
The first paperback edition of the book was published by Berkley Publishing Group on November 30, 2021. It has 736 pages.
Gray Man series: Books 1, 2, and 3
The first three books of the Gray Man book series—The Gray Man, On Target, and Ballistic were made available together for the first time in 2021.
Mark Greaney’s Sierra Six is a sequel to Relentless; it is the eleventh book in the series.
Court Gentry joined the CIA action team called Golf Sierra as a Six, or point man. Under Zack Hightower’s leadership, he was assigned to assassinate Murad Khan, a terrorist leader, as his first mission. This was twelve years ago.
However, in the present time, while completing a simple mission, Court spots Murad Khan. The terrorist seemed too lively for a dead man.
Court, not wishing to leave his job unfinished, decides to pursue Murad Khan and kill him once again.
The hardcover of this book was first published on February 15, 2022. The paperback edition was published a month later.
12) Burner (2023)
Mark Greaney’s latest novel, the twelfth book in the series, is titled Burner.
Alex Velesky, a banker at Swiss Bank, steals important data in the hope of exposing a criminal conspiracy. Instead, he finds something even larger and deadlier.
Before he can process it, he is hunted down by everyone, including the Russians and the CIA. He stores the stolen information in a burning phone, and everybody is after it.
Court Gentry is once again asked to assist in this mission. His goal is to retrieve the information contained on the phone. Ex-SVR agent Zoya Zakharova, who once tried to kill Court, is also assigned the same task. Things begin to take interesting turns when Court and Zoya face each other once again.
It is also revealed that Court’s former handler, Suzanne Brewer, has ordered the CIA to kill him. What happens to the phone is a different matter. Court’s priority right now is to not die.
The hardcover for Burner came out on February 21, 2023. It has 528 pages.
13) The Chaos Agent
The latest novel by Mark Greaney brings out our fear of Artificial Intelligence.
Many A.I. experts are getting killed across the world. Gray Man and his lover are unwillingly dragged in a deadly cat and mouse game with assassin bent on eliminating all the roadblocks between them and the Russian scientists in their hit-list.
Frequently Asked Questions
What order should I read the Gray Man series?
The Gray Man series should be read in the order they were published. The Gray Man series in order is as follows:
1) The Gray Man
2) On Target
4) Dead Eye
5) Back Blast
6) Gunmetal Gray
7) Agent in Place
8) Mission Critical
9) One Minute Out
11) Sierra Six
How many Gray Man books are there?
There are 13 Gray Man books by Mark Greaney.
What book is Gray Man based on?
The movie Gray Man is based on the book series The Gray Man by Mark Greaney.
Are The Gray Man novels any good?
The Gray Man novels are fast paced action thriller novels and #1 New York Times bestsellers with enticing rivalry between the protagonist and the antagonist. Gray Man books are replete with the best action scenes you can read in any thriller novel. The books are hugely entertaining and binge-worthy. If you loved Mitch Rapp series then you would certainly love Gray Man books.