Book Review: The Killing Floor

The Killing Floor by Lee Child (Jack Reacher #1)

Over the years, I’ve had numerous reviews mention that the main protagonist in my Avon Calling series, Betty Jones, reminds them of a female ‘Jack Reacher’ (from author Lee Child’s series of crime action novels featuring this character as the protagonist).

Though I always took it as a great compliment (Lee Child is a wildly popular and New York Times Best-Selling author so I could only hope to have anything in common with him!), I actually hadn’t read a Lee Child novel, so had to take my reader’s words for it.

So, I thought it was high time I read one of his Jack Reacher novels to see what they were getting at! (A less graphic version of the books is now also a movie series featuring Tom Cruise, but I hadn’t seen them either before reading this one.)  

What a great ride it was! I began, of course, with the first novel in this series, which is called The Killing Floor. This novel follows the misadventures of an ex-military policeman, called Jack Reacher, who finds himself at the centre of a homicide investigation after he drifts into the quiet town of Margrave, Georgia.

Though he’s not guilty of this particular crime (saying nothing of his past killing prowess in other circumstances), he has a very hard time convincing the local law enforcement of it. As he is drawn into investigating the homicide case in an effort to prove his own innocence, Jack begins to unravel a tangled web of deceit, corruption, and murder within the all-too-perfect town.

This was a fast-paced, action-packed novel, with lots of sharp-shooting, swift and sometimes rather-graphic retributions (pinned-to-a-wall-and-disembowelled-anyone?). Not for you if you don’t like gore. Jack is a no-strings-attached drifter, who keeps others at a very long arm’s length. There’s a love interest who is a great and very capable character and plenty of bad guys. Although you get a feel for who is at the rotten end of the stick pretty quickly, it takes a good while to set up the scene for the final showdown.

This book is not for you if you want deep literary characters and complex emotional relationships. This is pure action fantasy: misunderstood-good-guy-silent-stoic-hero-kills-stereotypically-bad-guys-all-over-the-place-and-always-gets-the-girl. That said, I found this book entertaining and fun (maybe with the exception of the really gory bits). It’s like James Bond on steroids, but a lot grittier. (*Spoiler alert – I appreciated that no animals or children were harmed in the making of this story (my pet peeve)).

I also loved the way the author was able to set a very strong and distinctive tone and style for the setting of the book. Overall, if you’re into crime with strong fighting action in novels with adult themes, get into this one.

I’ll be reading more of Jack Reacher in the future.

You can pick up a copy of The Killing Floor on Amazon here.

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