Killing Floor (Jack Reacher #1)

Killing Floor Book Cover Killing Floor
Jack Reacher
Lee Child
Jove (originally Putnam)
October 30, 2012 (mass market); March 17, 1997 (original)

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.


Killing Floor is the first book in the 20+ year Jack Reacher series. If you had to describe this book in a single word, “thriller” would do nicely. Jack Reacher himself if your standard hero tough guy. Ex-military, a drifter, the man who never quits…you know the type. Whether tracking down clues to solve the mystery or taking out a room full of bad guys, Jack Reacher is your man. When some bad types mistake him for a hobo and try to make him a scapegoat, things get violent.

Everything you can expect to find in a 30-year old action movie can be found here. Jack Reacher, the hero with demigod level combat expertise. The one attractive woman in town who instantly shacks up with Reacher. Evil villains whose motivation is their own corporate interests. A small group of locals who want to help Reacher take back their town from the jowls of corruption. Gunfights, murder, mystery, vengeance, and everything else 80’s action movies were glorified for. Reacher himself makes for a good character because he is smart. Yes, he gets surprised a few times, but that is required in a thriller. He does have strong deductive reasoning from his military background as opposed to being a “just shoot everyone” action hero.

Bearing the action movies of yonder years’ style as its standard, the Killing Floor is not a realistic novel. There are plot holes, there are moments where Reacher pulls a rabbit out of a hat, and there are bits where sheer dumb luck saves the day. But you do not watch an action movie for deep, integral plots. You watch it so you can see evil, scheming people and their thugs get blown away by high caliber weaponry. Reacher himself is a hard mother-f’er who does not let anyone push him around. And he is more than willing to do a bit of pushing himself when someone ticks him off.

For readers who do like taking an analytical approach, this book is probably not for you. The writing is…ok. There are many spots where dialogue, grammar, etc. could have used some improvement. However, Lee Child has produced over 20 more of these things since Killing Floor came out so it is probably a fair assumption that the writing quality improves across the subsequent sequels. While the books did not blow me away, it is interesting enough to read the next one. So long as they stay action packed that will be good enough for me.

May 21, 2017

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