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Killing Floor (1997)

by Lee Child

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Jack Reacher (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,5962301,001 (3.79)282
A discharged soldier is framed for a murder by the chief of police in a small town in Georgia where he has just arrived. When the soldier learns that the murdered man was his brother he breaks out of jail and carries out his own investigation.
  1. 21
    A Clean Kill in Tokyo by Barry Eisler (crazybatcow)
    crazybatcow: If you like how Reacher gets things done without worrying about niceties such as legality, you'll probably like Eisler's series too - though Eisler is a bit more descriptive and a bit less violent.
  2. 10
    Hit Man by Lawrence Block (crazybatcow)
    crazybatcow: Very similar main characters. Block's is a little less "gory" and is more like a series of vignettes than a plotted story.
  3. 21
    Promise Me by Harlan Coben (fleagirl)
    fleagirl: Big tough-guy with heart of tarnished gold, has knack for getting himself into trouble while getting others out.
  4. 00
    Japantown: A Thriller (A Jim Brodie Thriller) by Barry Lancet (OneOfDem)
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» See also 282 mentions

English (226)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (230)
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
Wow. This is a new author and a whale of a great story! In a small Southern town, the narrator is arrested when he stops in a diner for breakfast. He's accused of murder. He just walked off the bus, for heaven's sake. If I spill any more of the story, I'll spoil it. But this sucker is good - good in the Steven Hunter mode. If you like fast, crisp stories with sharp, likable characters... read this one now. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
"Ingenious plot and calm but deadly hero"

I'm obviously late discovering Jack Reacher, brought to him by the publicity around Cruise's movie (although only the weirdness of Hollywood would cast 5' 7'' Cruise to play 6' 5'' Reacher).

I listened to "Killing Floor" flying across the Atlantic and back. It was the perfect airplane read: fast pace, ingenious plot, lots of action and simple, clear prose.

But what sets the book apart is the Jack Reacher's "voice". He's more than an action hero. He has a world view all of his own and more than a few flaws. I'm not at all surprised to find that he spawned a long series of best selling books. I'm not sure I like him but I find him believable. more than a little scary and yet, somehow, also quite vulnerable. He's a man who has made himself a loner, detached from most emotions other than anger. willing to kill evil-doers without a second thought and yet driven to do what he thinks is the right thing in a charmingly old-fashioned way. He's a sort of anti-hero with a code of honor.

This is not the deepest of books but it delivers what it promises on every page.

If you're in the mood to escape into a world where a calm-but-deadly loner reluctantly but bravely takes the fight to the bad guys, this one is for you. But be warned, the violence is graphic, imaginative, convincing, memorable and frequent. ( )
  MikeFinnFiction | May 16, 2020 |
2.5 stars. A perfect “airport book”—short on believability, long on thrills, except for a longish build up. First-person Reacher is prob not as good as third-person, to go by this book. No big surprises but the action scenes are solid. ( )
  ChristopherSwann | May 15, 2020 |
A tight and entertaining thriller that was nowhere near as corny as I was expecting. The pages turn easily and the plot, despite some big coincidences, holds together quite nicely. Right from the book's great opening chapter, the character of Jack Reacher has soul and attitude, without any of the lock-and-load bluster or macho jibber-jabber that would sink a lesser creation. The tough loner walking into a small American town and righting local wrongs before riding into the sunset is an old trope, but it works – and the neo-Western that Killing Floor is proves to be much more durable than the cookie-cutter procedural it could have been.

Author Lee Child's prose is both a strength and a weakness. I like lean, functional prose and it works well here, for the most part. It fits the taut and composed nature of the Reacher character. But sometimes the commitment to the hard-boiled aesthetic leaves something to be desired, and its excesses can put a drag on the pace. Every single action and movement is written down; on page 21, for example, there's a whole paragraph about picking up a tape recorder, loading it and switching it on. This kind of stuff is just as awkward and unrealistic as more purple literary prose would be, only in the opposite direction (ease rather than difficulty). Too often my brain went slack and I found myself having to go back and re-read sentences in order to separate meat from bone.

I don't usually read books like this, though when I do I quite enjoy how easily the pages turn. I read books largely to keep my brain active and challenged, whereas books like this are designed to help you switch off for a while. That's fine – I'm no snob – but it's not what I look for. I suppose the problem with this type of stuff is not that it exists, but that there are a lot of quick-buck imitators and it's hard to know where the quality is. The Reacher series looks like it might be the closest thing to a guarantee. Somewhat to my surprise, I think I might actually be on the lookout for some more Reacher thrillers further down the road. ( )
  Mike_F | Apr 19, 2020 |
Lee Child's first Jack Reacher novel is disappointingly similar to many of his later ones. If this is the first book you read, you might find it interesting, but for someone who has read 10+ books before this one, it's pretty much a rinse and repeat business. Reacher ends up in a small American town and is forced to uncover its hidden secrets. He is helped by a policeman on the run from his old life, a beautiful woman and his own military experience. What makes this story work is the deeply personal connection Reacher has to the case. Other than that, the story barely stands out. The twist is foreseeable and the story progresses in a similar vein as most other works in the series.

Child's typical staccato writing style is strongly present here, and if there is something that is better in his later books, it is the flow of his writing. Dollar is more difficult to read than later books, mostly due to the unusual rhythm, but one should grow accustomed to the style quite quickly. Reacher's Sherlock Holmes-style deductive skills, the detailed violence, and the realistic world are as per usual, the best elements of the novel.

It's an okay start to a series with many average books, a couple of misses and a handful of really great adventures. ( )
  MrScallops | Apr 17, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Child, Leeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hill, DickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merla, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
My agent is Darley Anderson in London; my editors are David Highfill in New York and Marianne Velmans in London.
This book is dedicated to the three of them, in appreciation of all their efforts, which went way beyond the call of duty.
First words
I was arrested in Eno's Diner.
Quotations
Evaluate. Long experience 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 that you do later. If you survive. First of all you evaluate. Analyze the situation. Identify the downside. Assess the upside. Plan accordingly. Do all that and you give yourself a better chance of getting through to the other stuff later.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Jack Reacher loses his brother in this book.
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