Killing Floor by Lee Child – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

KillingFloor

Bane of Kings reviews Killing Floor by Lee Child, the first in the bestselling Jack Reacher series, published by Bantam Books in the UK.

“A fantastic page-turning thriller with a breakneck pace.” ~The Founding Fields

I’ve wanted to start the Jack Reacher series for a long time now, so a few days before Christmas; I gave into the pressure and brought myself the first novel in the series, entitled Killing Floor. Although it’s not Fantasy or Sci-Fi, I’d think I’d try something different for a change that wasn’t David Baldacci or James Patterson. Despite the fact that theoretically you can pick up any Jack Reacher novel and read it without getting lost as to what’s going on, I decided to start from the beginning. First off, here’s the blurb for you, borrowed from Amazon.co.uk:

Margrave is a no-account little town in Georgia. Jack Reacher jumps off a bus and walks fourteen miles in the rain, just passing through. An arbitrary decision, a tribute to a guitar player who died there decades before. 

But Margrave has just had its first homicide in thirty years. And Reacher is the only stranger in town. So the murder is pinned on him. As nasty secrets leak out and the body count mounts, only one thing is for sure: They picked the wrong guy to take the fall.

Killing Floor introduces Jack Reacher, the tough ex-military cop of no fixed abode. Trained to think fast and act faster, with an eye for the women, he is truly every thinking reader’s perfect action hero.

The entire novel, much like The Dresden Files series, is told in first person and although that leaves us open to bias I believe it was done pretty well in the case of Killing Floor, despite a few issues that I had with the way the book was told. For example, It often annoys me when it’s just the same old, ‘he said,’ and then ‘I said,’ and then, ‘she said’, over and over again, and there were several incidents where I felt that Child could have easily replaced them with other words that would have been more appropriate to the situation. Also, another thing that bugged me, there was a repetitive use of simple sentences where a longer, more complex one could have easily been replaced, for example, on page 233: “They had come for us in the night. They had come expecting a lot of blood. They had come with all their gear.”

 However, I’m probably just nitpicking, because I really enjoyed Killing Floor. Child introduces us to the badass character that is Jack Reacher and is a character likeable enough to leave us wanting more. The supporting cast, although not looking to be hanging around longer than book one, are likeable enough (especially Officer Roscoe, Reacher’s love interest, and the honest detective Finlay) to make us want more of their characters.

As Killing Floor is primarily a no-holds barred, adrenaline-pumping, action novel, there are plenty of awesome fight scenes and Child proves that he can keep the reader turning the pages to find out the outcome (although you know that Reacher will come out on top). Indeed, there are very little non-fight scenes in the novel, and the scenes that aren’t spent fighting are spent advancing the plot. There’s little wasted space here, ensuring that the plot moves along at a breakneck pace.

Killing Floor is pretty much a brilliant opening novel, and will no doubt have the reader wanting rush out and get Die Trying as soon as they can. The plot is unpredictable until the last quarter of the novel when everything moves into place, but the first three quarters of Killing Floor will keep you guessing. Child also manages to develop Reacher’s character, proving that he isn’t just the 2-D character commonly found in poorly written thrillers.

The writing style in Killing Floor is clearly action-orientated, and I guess 70% of the time Jack Reacher gets himself into trouble. But, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned by reading Child’s first novel, is that you don’t mess with Reacher. You’re going to lose. And I think, as the novels go on, that’s one thing that Child is going to struggle with, and that’s predictability. With such a long running series focusing on one character, you probably will start to get the feeling that Reacher is invincible, especially if you’re like me, a (very) latecomer to Child’s series.

Now then, all that’s left for me to say, I believe, is – Bring on ‘Die Trying’, the second book in the series. For a complete list of Reacher novels published so far, check below.

Verdict: 3.5/5

 More Jack Reacher: Killing Floor, Die Trying, Tripwire, Running Blind/The Visitor (US, UK), Echo Burning, Without Fail, Persuader, The Enemy, One Shot, The Hard Way, Bad Luck and Trouble, Nothing to Lose, Gone Tomorrow, 61 Hours, Worth Dying For, The Affair 

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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