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Killing Floor: A Jack Reacher Novel…
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Killing Floor: A Jack Reacher Novel (Thornike Press Large Print Famous… (original 1997; edition 2010)

by Lee Child

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4,4651481,098 (3.83)221
sbenne3's review
Good read for a thriller. I wanted to read the Jack Reacher books and decided to start at the beginnig. I am putting the second book on my list now !! ( )
  sbenne3 | May 6, 2012 |
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Firstly, I'm more of a fantasy or sci-fi man myself, so this wasn't a book that I would usually read (or listen to in this case). Crime thrillers don’t particularly capture my attention but with Jack Reacher by Lee Child I thought I’d try something different. Jack is an ex-military cop who drifts from town to town, gets involved in mischief, kills bad guys, gets the girl, acts first then thinks later, etc. He’s what Americans would call a “bad- ass”. I’m not going to provide a summary of the story, the blurb on the jacket does a great job at that, suffice to say that it reads like something out of a 1980s action movie.

As I listened to the audiobook I noticed that the narrator frequently paused. When checking out the text in the book itself I realised that this was due lots of remarkably short, sharp and punchy sentences (possibly to try to build up the suspense and tension?) and its all written in the first person. I can image that it would be a somewhat irritating novel to read because of this.

The characters themselves were very stereotypical: the lead was a tough male and not a particularly complex character: ex-military with black and white attitudes when it came to situations. Perhaps Reacher is developed more in further books in the series? At no point did you worry that he would be killed off despite the various threats to his life.

I felt somewhat sorry for the “strong” female character in the book: Roscoe. Although she is Reacher’s girlfriend she seems to be constantly the victim, requiring his protection and when she does come up with some theories on why the events are happening in the way they are, she turn out to be wrong. I guess my point is why try to promote her as this “strong” person when she’s clearly just another character?

Anyway, Reacher’s logical analysis of situations, interspersed with extreme violence, is what draws you into this book. The plotting is well placed leaving the reader wondering how Reacher will survive in the circumstances he finds himself in, but you know he always will … somehow.

Of course the plot is unbelievable and improbable but the book certainly was clever, entertaining and very well controlled when it came to letting the story slowly unfold. This is entertaining fiction and while there are lots of convenient coincidences they all add to the enjoyment. Child also clearly put some effort into researching impressive facts concerning how money flows in a country to what sort of damage a specific weapon or bullet will do.

Overall I enjoyed this book much more than I was expecting to, and I think others will enjoy it too. This isn’t a book for younger readers as some of the violence is graphic making it probably one of the best examples of man-lit (is that a real word?) around. I’m happy enough to give some more of the books in the series a read based on what’s on offer here.

“Evaluate. Long experience had taught me to evaluate and assess. When the unexpected gets dumped on you, don’t waste time. Don’t figure out how or why it happened. Don’t recriminate. Don’t figure out whose fault it is. Don’t work out how to avoid the same mistake next time. All of that you do later. If you survive.”

― Lee Child, Killing Floor ( )
  Rob.Thompson | Nov 22, 2014 |
A great crime thriller. I'm definitely adding Jack Reacher #2 to my "to-read" list. ( )
  dougcornelius | Nov 6, 2014 |
First in the Jack Reacher series. Greyhound bus - Blind Blake - arrested murder - jail - brother - police chief murder - counterfeiting. ( )
  boppisces | Nov 1, 2014 |
Terrific intense novel. Love Jack Reacher. He's the ultimate tough guy. He's a bit far-fetched in that he was too good at everything to be believable, but as an escape, it was fantastic. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 21, 2014 |
After reading the latest in this series, I had to read the first. It's a fast-paced action story with a likeable main character who fixes everything by the end of the story. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
Killing Floor had all the plot points that normally make me devour a book as quick as I can, but for some reason, I had trouble getting into this one. Plenty of action and decent suspenseful plot but the characters did not grab my interest. I will have to read a few more of the Reacher novels to see if this is my overall imnpression of the series or just this edition.

3.5 Stars ( )
  ConalO | Sep 21, 2014 |
This is the first Lee Child I have read and the first in the Jack Reacher series. I found it an exciting read which kept me wanting to turn the next page.Reacher walks into a mid-western town and becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving the whole town. Reacher is one of those characters who is the opposite to many of the 'thinkers' inhabiting thriller fiction today.He is rather an exponent of the shoot 'em.slug 'em and stab 'em school.
All in all this is a roller-coaster ride of a story which if read in the manner in which it was (no doubt) written,is an excellent read. ( )
  devenish | Sep 8, 2014 |
Pretty good story, but many phrases are used too many times. "Shrugged" is a major one. I kept rolling my eyes because it was used so frequently. Hopefully in subsequent books Mr. Child will refrain from this practice. ( )
  selinalynn69 | Aug 19, 2014 |
I read this as a paperback & it didn't wow me. I hadn't planned on reading any more in this series, but several of my friends really like the series, so I thought I'd give it another shot. Maybe I'd like it better as an audio book or now.

I didn't. Probably liked it less. Child's writing is repetitive. Often he seemed to be trying to make the point that much more exciting, but it just bored me. He writes like his readers are idiots & can't keep a point in mind for a few paragraphs. He also spends a lot of time describing the obvious & minutiae, but skips inconvenient details like Reacher's hygiene.

Reacher is too much in charge too often, & the constant build of him over other characters just got old. When he figured out how the counterfeiting was being done & told Finnley is one example. It's also an example of treating his readers like idiots. There were half a dozen obvious clues pointing to this revelation. I guess the women were impressed by his manly smell because he wandered around in the heat for days without a change of clothes or a shower & they still seemed to like him. There were a lot of other examples & they steadily eroded my appreciation of his character.

Child did the same thing with the shotguns making them into some sort of magical killing machines. A ten gauge shotgun is fearsome, but their killing cone is a direct ratio between their choke & load. Ask any decent goose or duck hunter, but I certainly wouldn't have feared for the women unless the guy was going to shoot directly at them.

Several plot holes were just too glaring, especially at the end. The amount of money paying off the town businesses, the supposed secrecy, & all was just too much. It's such a big secret that only business owners know after 5 years, but Reacher finds out after talking to a guy twice? He also said there must be $100K in the old guy's closet when a bit of math would put it at $250K or so. We need to believe Reacher has the estimates down in other places.

The mountain of money was silly. The bills weren't transported in by dump truck. They'd have been in boxes, should have been stored in boxes & then transferred into other boxes. To save time & effort, I would have ordered boxes just a hair bigger & not bothered unboxing the money at all since it was just being transferred.

What was the sudden rush to transport the money & why was the Coast Guard thing such a big shock? They were supposedly stockpiling money for just such an event, but leave it loose in a mountain that anyone who enters the building can see. So they figured it would be a few months away & have killed everyone off, but still haven't gotten it boxed up when their self-imposed deadline for shipping is one day away. They couldn't figure out any other way to transport it after the Coast Guard clamped down? After an entire year? Everyone is so shocked they were so brilliant in the scheme, but they couldn't plant money inside equipment or something? Please.

Reacher's surprise at the circus at the end was way overdone. I expected Child to & believe the story would have been much better served by killing Roscoe off at the end.


There were some good points in the book. Some of the scenes were well done & the story was a good one overall. I liked the way the odd, main coincidence was worked in. I have the 2d audio book in this series. I think I'll try to listen to it. I've heard the series gets better. It has to. ( )
1 vote jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
My first Jack Reacher read - loved it and it put me on a mission to read them all ( )
  gerhardw | Jul 9, 2014 |
The Killing Floor is a compelling, fast-paced mystery with a tough-as-nails hero and heart-pounding action. Some parts are unbelievable, especially since the book is a bit dated, but it still hangs together pretty well. I loved watching Reacher kicking ass and taking names. Overall, this is a great addition to the thriller genre. I look forward to reading more from Lee Child. ( )
  les121 | Jun 1, 2014 |
Read a third of the way in. Not bad, but really not my thing. ( )
  lyrrael | May 18, 2014 |
This is an excitng book and is the first novel by Child. It features Jack Reacher, who is tall and powerful He by chance stops at a town in Georgia, where coincidence has him accused of killing his brother. He is taken to jail where he brutally takes care of killer types in the prison. He never is in much doubt as to how to proceed to overcome his powerful enemies. All his plans work out, and he does a lot of fornicating as he proceeds to blow away those who would do him wrong. It is pleasant that evil is so thwarted and that nothing very often goes wrong. But when one reflects on the events they are seen to be mostly incedible. But that is not bothersome when one reads along in the fast-paced story. There is no subtlety in the prose and anyone looking for intricacy or uncertainty in the story will not find it. ( )
  Schmerguls | May 1, 2014 |
Violent book good story. Had read before but Harold got discs for Xmas for me so listened again. First jack reacher ( )
  afarrington | Mar 15, 2014 |
After reading chronologically, the first Jack Reacher book, I started with Killing Floor, the first Lee Child novel, written with Jack Reacher as the protagonist, a book which won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel when it got released in 1997.

Set in a small town in America, this was a fast paced thriller, with its not-so-small plots and conspiracies. There is a lot of action, some goriness, and a whole lot of entertainment. The book doesn't strive to be real and hence avoids from becoming ridiculous - you know what you are reading, and why you are reading it. One of the takeaways from thrillers is that with the research the author puts in, or supposed to have put it, one gets to know a whole lot of interesting tid-bits, which otherwise may not have come in one's way - this one for instance gave a crash (if lacking in details) course on counterfeiting operations.

I see no harm in continuing with the series. ( )
  PiyushC | Feb 16, 2014 |
I enjoyed it well enough, but not enough to rush out and buy the next one. It also took me an improbable amount of time to get through. Good but by no means great. ( )
  greppers | Jan 25, 2014 |
This is my second book of the series...I decided to read them in order.

Overall it was a decent read. The plot had enough twists to make it interesting but there is one aspect of the writing I did not really like. It is the fight scenes....You know that no matter how big the opponent, how skilled a fighter the opponent is, how many bad guys there are in the fight...Reacher is going to win and Reacher never captures anyone...he blows them a way in a straight on fight, an ambush or trick...the fight is anti-climatic... Reacher never loses unless he wants to. It kind of gets to be boring after a while.

Other than that it was a decent thriller/mystery ( )
  Lynxear | Jan 20, 2014 |
I enjoyed this one and will probably read another in the series. Similar in some ways to Jack Sandford (for level of violence) and Michael Connelly (for the mystery). I liked the creepiness of the town where the story takes place but I was slightly disappointed with the major plot. I thought that could have been a bit more, well, mysterious. But that's just a minor gripe. ( )
  Myckyee | Jan 18, 2014 |
A fast moving plot that kept me engrossed. Jack Reacher is one tough dude. Expect gore & not a lot of subtlety. Complete escapism but great for a winter afternoon. ( )
  sianpr | Jan 17, 2014 |
Books like this make me ask the question: Don't criminals like to read too? Sure, all of these artfully hideous murders and clever crimes seem entertaining now, but aren't actual criminals going to try these things when they know super-perceptive tough-guy Jack Reacher won't be there to stop them? I hope the police have time to catch up on all sixteen books in this series just in case.

Anyway, if you like action/crime stories starring stoic badasses who will shoot you in the back of the head if you piss them off, you'll probably enjoy this series. That's not entirely my kind of thing, but I was surprisingly engrossed with the story, especially as the mysteries started to build up. The overall plot is pretty standard, but it's fast-paced and twisty with a real feeling of danger, and you'll learn a lot about the particular type of crime that's hidden at the core of this small town.

There are times when Jack is a little too good at guessing what people will do, or makes an uncharacteristically thoughtless decision that only makes sense when you realize it results in a more interesting scenario for him to asskick his way out of. But nitpicking this book feels like a waste of time -- it's a junk food action story, and overall I liked it more than I expected to. Sometime when I'm in the right kind of mood, I could definitely go for another book in this series.
( )
  thatpirategirl | Jan 16, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this first book in the Jack Reacher series. I liked the crisp prose and the laconic narrator. I also enjoyed trying to puzzle out the mystery with Reacher.

Reacher gets off a bus because he is near the town of Margrave Georgia. As a Blues fan, he wants to track down the famed guitarist Blind Blake. He seems to remember that his brother told him that Blake had died there. But things aren't all good in picture perfect Margrave. Reacher is in town for just a few hours before he is arrested for murder.

As a former military policeman, Reacher knows murder investigations and he also knows that his alibi is solid. He figures things will be straightened out quickly and he'll be able to move on. But a frame up leads to him getting more deeply involved. His involvement deepens even more when he learns that is was his brother who was one of the murder victims. They weren't close; Reacher hadn't seen him for years. But despite this childhood behaviors that said you protect your brother surface and Reacher decides that someone will have to pay for killing his brother.

The story has lots of violence. Between the villains torture murders and Reacher's casual murder of any villain he finds, the pages drip with blood. Reacher is an interesting character. He is rootless and likes it. He is detached from everyone and likes that too. When he pairs up with one of the cops, I could see a relationship that was doomed to failure. But his desire to protect Roscoe gave him additional incentive to solve the problems and find and kill all villains. By the way, who calls their love interest by their last name?

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of the Jack Reacher series. One of the advantages of coming to a series late is that I don't have to wait for the next book to be available. I think I have 16 more in the series to read. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jan 10, 2014 |
Although this is the first book in The Jack Reacher series, it is the third Jack Reacher book I have read. I enjoyed the action and the pace of my first two ventures into the series so I decided I would go back to the beginning and start reading them all.

Killing Floor introduces us to Jack Reacher, a man who has spent his whole life in the military and has now been discharged. He is enjoying the freedom of being able to go anywhere he wants whenever he likes. He is living like a hobo. He has no fixed address and carries no luggage. Carries only cash and leaves no trail of where he has been. Jack enjoys music, so when he hears from his brother that an old musician named Blind Blake used to play in a town called Margrave where he was eventually murdered, Jack decides Margrave seems as good a place as any to stop next. Then a dead body turns up, and who seems the most likely suspect in this small town - the blow in that just arrived on the last bus. Jack needs to get out of this one, he knows he is innocent and needs to make them realise it.

Lots of action (and violence) in this book, as I would expect. A good read. ( )
  Roro8 | Jan 1, 2014 |
When I first started reading this book, I did not like the writing style at all. It did grow on me and I found that it really helped keep a fast pace throughout the book. I enjoyed this as a good suspense / thriller / action book. I do plan to read more in the series, especially since most people think it doesn't really get good until about book 4 and I liked book 1. ( )
  Barb_H | Dec 10, 2013 |
Killing Floor by Lee Child

Author: Lee Child

Published 1997

Pages: 407

Genre: Fiction/thriller

My Copy: Paperback

Why: recommended by Nancy Pearl, been on my TBR for a very long time.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

The debut novel of the Jack Reacher series introduces us to Jack Reacher, an ex military cop, who is walking the U.S. without any ties and happens to stop in Margrave, Georgia where he is arrested for a brutal murder that has been discovered out at the Kliner warehouses. Jack is here because his brother had mentioned that the musician, Blind Blake, had stopped in this town. This book is filled with violence. I learned about different guns, bullets and weapons and the kind of damage they do. Margrave as far as towns go is a bit unusual. Everything is beautiful. Businesses appear to be doing quite well even though there really isn’t any business going on. Something is going on and people are dying violently. The Kliner Foundation is taking care of things in Margrave.

This book has been on my TBR list for quite awhile, since 2005, when I was gifted Book Lust Journal with an introduction by Nancy Pearl. The Journal contains The Pearl 100, a list of Great Reads. The Killing Floor by Lee Child’s was listed as a Summer Read, nothing much to overtax the brain but at the same time entertaining.

I would agree that this book did not overtax the brain and it was entertaining but I also had no trouble at all figuring out the bad guys. I wasn’t impressed with Jack Reacher as a character. I saw one person refer to him as lawless and that is an apt description. He falls in bed very easy with the female even though he has just found out his brother was brutally murdered. This is a long series, my husband loves these books, but I don’t like series and this is where Jack Reacher starts and stops for me. Still, I am happy that I read it. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
Killing Floor is a well plotted story, with good pace and a great main character, although still a little unbelievable. I am willing to see how Reacher develops in future books. The writing is, I think, too filmic and there is a lot of shrugging in the narrative, too much. I was going to give it 2*, but the ending was so satisfactory that it earned itself another. ( )
  femme_letale | Oct 6, 2013 |
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