“Killing Floor” was Lee Child’s first novel in his highly successful Jack Reacher series. Child undoubtedly created a great character–the lethal loner with a great mind and unlimited military skills and knowledge. Child also creates a compelling setting in this book, a small town somewhere in Georgia. These are huge accomplishments given that Child is British. Most people reading this novel would swear that Child is an American writer who spent a great deal of time in the South. His series turned out to be a massive popular hit in both print and film, so it would really be tough for me to say anything too negative about this book. I honestly liked the book a lot, even though I enjoy characters that have more flaws. The ex-military superhero is almost a cliché nowadays, but Jack Reacher is certainly one of the best.
Child knows how to write, but his style might upset grammar purists. He uses a lot of sentence fragments, but his words somehow “sound” good. Child pulls it off. He makes these fragments tell his story, which is a great accomplishment. I would guess that Child reads his work aloud as part of his writing process. That is why I say his reading “sounds” good. There are lessons here for an aspiring writer. You can “break the rules”, but you better be good at it. Child is very good at it.
This book presents Reacher as a little bit of a Sherlock Holmes by showing off his deductive skills as well as his martial prowess. I got a kick out of these, and I enjoyed watching his plot unfold as the story progressed. The plot is very plausible and surprisingly complex. The small town in Georgia is not quite what it seems. I found the fact that Reacher’s long-lost brother was investigating the plot from a different angle to be a little too much of a coincidence. In addition, I had to suspend my belief a bit when no one came to investigate his brother’s disappearance even though he worked for the U.S. government.
All in all, this was a great read for me. It was fun to watch a master at work.