Liked It2 of 2 members found this review helpful
“This is my first time reading a novel by this popular author. Since I am now volunteering at the hospital, I wanted a small paperback to keep with me on my breaks on Monday mornings and picked this up at the grocery store. I found this mystery to be a real “men’s book” but I enjoyed it very...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It2 of 2 members found this review helpful
“I really wanted to give this a 2 1/2 but since I can't I went with 2 coz I just couldn't bring myself to give it a full 3 stars. I didn't care for the writing style at all when I first started the book. The sentences were no longer than 9-12 words and everybody sgrugged constantly. Even over the...”see full review » see other reviews »
“I really enjoyed this story. The action was great, the mystery was satisfying, the characters interesting. An excited to read the next in the story. ”John B wrote this review 3 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What a book! From the first page it's action and suspense the whole way through. I'm now a fan!”Bruce Firehock wrote this review 5 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Engelse audioboek. Goed voorgelezen en een spannend verhaal. 1e deel in de Jack Reacher serie.”Harry B wrote this review 6 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great”Tendai wrote this review 6 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“pretty good. Welcome to the world of Jack Reacher - thx Tom Cruise! now I have another author/character/series to follow :)”kayel wrote this review 3 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
““The Killing Floor” reminds me of a story about another novelist. He had just had a novel published for the first time and someone complimented him, saying it was surprisingly good for a first novel.
“Oh, it’s not the first novel I’ve written,” said the novelist, “only the first one I’ve published.”
“How many other novels have you written?” asked his questioner.
“Six, including this one.”
“Well, what became of the other five?” the writer was asked.
“I burned them,” he replied.
Apparently, “The Killing Floor” IS Lee Child first novel in a series of well over a dozen that feature the same hero, and it is, indeed, surprisingly good for that. I’m impressed.
Child writes in first person, which is always a good idea for a novice because it is easier for both writer and reader to keep track of whose point of view the story is being told in. Simple. It’s told from the point of view of the first person who speaks to the reader. In this case, that is Jack Reacher, a strangely calm fellow considering how much trouble he gets into from the outset—without even trying to get in trouble.
I like the way Child begins with his protagonist, who is sitting calmly in a small town diner. He looks out the window and sees four policemen approaching. He recognizes right away that they are coming to arrest him, but all he does is wolf down his breakfast so that when it is inevitably interrupted, he will have eaten, presumably so as not to be hungry later in what could turn into a very unpleasant day.
How does he know that they are coming for him? Reacher comes to this conclusion with an intuitive leap, but based on a series of factual observations, so that although it seems a leap, the facts do support his conclusion. This tells the reader something about Reacher’s thought process. Awareness of everything around him, a good deal of logic, but ultimately an ability to take an intuitive guess that fits all of the relevant facts into a pattern. Sherlock Holmes would have said that when Reacher has looked at all of the facts and eliminated the impossible, what remains is the right answer no matter how improbable. Reacher does not conclude that he is being arrested because he has done anything wrong; he concludes it because the four armed police officers could be after no one else. This tells us more about Reacher: he is both smart and—at least in this instance—innocent.
Child next shows us that Reacher has a critical eye for police procedure. He critiques everything that the arresting officers do. He says nothing, he does nothing, but he recognizes where their training has been good and where it has been deficient. (I would guess that Reacher would assign the arresting team of officers a B+.) That tells us something else about Reacher: he might seem to be a drifter, but he has law enforcement training. We are presented at the outset with two mysteries, then. Who is Reacher or more specifically why is he a former law officer rather than an active one? And why is he being arrested if he has no reason to believe he has done anything wrong? (As a former law officer, he should know whether he has violated a law, unless it is some arcane infraction that no one knows about except the state legislature and the local district attorney.)
We also see that Reacher has both nerve and dignity. When he is ordered to get down on the floor, he decides that this is unnecessary. Instead, he simply holds out his hands so that they can be cuffed. Further, when the arresting officer reads him his rights, first stating that he has the right to remain silent, and lastly asking Reacher whether he understands his rights, Reacher remains silent to the consternation of the officer. But wait a minute. If an arrestee has the right to remain silent, doesn’t that include the right not to answer even the question of whether the rights have been understood? Reacher evidently thinks so.
We do not know that his name is Reacher at this point in the story. Later, a detective—the only detective in this one-horse-town’s police department—demands to know his name, and only then do we finally learn it.
The town, Margrave, Georgia, becomes a character in its own right. The strangest thing about it is that it is kept clean, well-painted and new-looking by the Kliner Foundation, which is run by a family that, along with the Teale family, seems to run the entire town.
Child has scraped together a good plot. Mysterious. Even when the reader might guess who the bad guys are, the question remains, what are they up to? (I did figure it out a couple of chapters ahead of Reacher, but it was good fun getting to that point.) We sense the baddies watching and operating behind the scenes, committing grisly murders every day or two, but remaining unidentified—even when seen—for many chapters.
Reacher is a charismatic guy. He knows how to handle himself in a fight, he knows how to charm people, and he knows how to take charge even when he has no official authority. He is only in town for a long weekend before he has been thrown in prison, threatened with death, offered over a thousand dollars (which he at first turns down for ethical reasons) and the use of a vintage car (which he readily accepts). There is also a love interest.
There is a lot of blood and gore, too. There is eye gouging, crucifixion and castration, some of it witnessed or performed by Reacher and some of it seen by him after the fact. If the reader is not offended by that, then this is an entertaining mystery cum character study that one might just enjoy immensely.
Child, the author, is British while his hero, Reacher, is American. This seems to be a small problem, although Child is married to an American and has spent a lot of time in the U.S. Reacher is a former military policeman (M.P.) who has been stationed all over the world. Before he joined the military himself, his father was in the service, so that Reacher has spent most of his life overseas. Still, there are disconcerting moments such as when Reacher refers to himself as someone’s minder. “Minder” in this sense is a britishism, but Reacher has spent time in the U.K., and possibly a lot of time; so he just might have picked up this usage. However, when the local police detective says that he is going to “organize” a colleague, meaning to engage and persuade the colleague to involve or deploy himself on behalf of the investigation, this is a British use of the word “organize,” and Detective Finley, a Bostonian, would be unlikely to use it even if he had heard or read it used this way. It just isn’t American. Then there is the question of referring to .22 caliber bullets as .22 gauge. Not sure whether that is a britishism or just typical British ignorance about guns. Yet Child has evidently done some research on the guns in the story. Still, there are numerous mistakes. He seems to say that the amount of U.S. cash overseas is 260 billion at one point and 26 billion at another. That is a heck of an error. Worse in my mind is his saying that the SIS was a predecessor of the CIA. I could see where a case could be made for that riddle being true, but I think Child actually meant to say that the OSS was the predecessor of the CIA. SIS was the British intelligence service on which the OSS and, later, the CIA were based.
The worst mistake is the sentence in which the black barber held up his “mahogany palm.” A black person’s palm is not mahogany.
Although one cannot rely on the factual research as being correct, the crime at the heart of this novel is a clever and simple idea. Frankly, Child tells that the idea is not original, but the criminals in his novel have done it on a larger scale than anyone had before.
The crime-solving aspect is only part of the joy of the book. Mainly it presents a remarkable character who describes himself as living on a plane where he never gives in to hesitation but just does what must be done. This attitude constantly challenges the moral reader. Jack Reacher shoots two men in the back at one point. This seems a bit steep, to use a britishism, but then Reacher opens the trunk of the dead men’s car and finds another dead body. He had not just gunned down men who were on their way to choir practice.
Child also plays with the convention that a confrontation with a major bad character should be sufficiently drawn out so as to be exciting. He has Reacher about to kill the bad guy unceremoniously, thinking to himself that it would be more dramatic to give the guy a fighting chance, but he rejects this as foolishness; nevertheless, when he goes to make the kill, he misses and a somewhat drawn out fight ensues anyway. Child fakes us out here.
The appeal of this series is clear. Jack Reacher is a good hero even if he is not the most moral hero. He has his own code, it is clear, and he sticks to it. He is also six foot five and 250 pounds of military-trained fighting machine; so the bad guys rarely have a chance. If some stories such as “The Terminator” are based on the idea that there is an unstoppable behemoth that the hero nevertheless must try to stop, then Jack Reacher is the unstoppable behemoth that gives the bad guys nightmares.”
“Nice adventure. Good character development and interaction. The author did a good job of interweaving various plot elements. For example, a casual incident with eyeglasses becomes a major plot point.”Jeff Hebert wrote this review Saturday, October 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Jack Reacher #1 - 1st in Series but I read the 10th Anniversary edition
in which he includes an explanation of why he decided to write a mystery thriller and how he developed the character of Reacher. Fascinating.
I literally had a difficult time putting this book down. I quit reading at night only because I could not stay awake. Great read.”
“The first Jack Reacher novel. Very good.”David G wrote this review Monday, October 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No