Killing Floor

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Rating:
5/5

Name: Killing Floor

Author: Lee Child

Year: 1998

Genre: Action / Thriller

Ok so for my first review back, I have read a book which I have wanted to read for a long time but have always found it unavailable in my local library until finally I checked a few weeks ago.

This novel is the first in the Jack Reacher series, Killing Floor.

Plot

The story begins on a Friday morning with Jack Reacher in an American diner eating breakfast and we learn he is an ex-military policeman who has since left the army and is now drifting across America. He then decided on a whim to get off the bus he was on heading for Atlanta and walk fourteen miles to a small town called Margrave in Georgia, a place he had heard about from his brother due to their fascination with a guitar player called Blind Blake.

Suddenly he is arrested by the police for a murder that occurred the night before at a warehouse he passed whilst walking to Margrave. The chief detective, Finlay, interrogates Jack and we learn that the body was found with gunshots to the head and had been kicked to pieces after death, before being hastily covered up with a sheet of cardboard. The face had been disfigured by the kicking so the body couldn’t be identified.

The only other piece of evidence was a slip of paper in his shoe which had a telephone number on it and the US motto backwards, E Unum Pluribus – out of few comes many.

Jack manages to cast doubt over Finlay’s accusations and tells him he believes their to be three people involved in the murder, a meticulous shooter who shot him in the head, a psychopath who destroyed the body and someone to cover it up. He persuades Finlay to call the number and it belongs to a man called Paul Hubble, who lives in Margrave. He is bought in Friday evening and confesses to the murder of the man – he is arrested but as Jack’s story hasn’t been fully checked out either both are sent to prison for the weekend.

When they arrive, they are meant to be placed in a separate area for people arrested on suspicion but not convicted but a “mix up” occurs where Jack and Paul are left in the lifer section with the worst convicts.

A gang in the prison threaten Paul with gang rape but Jack steps in and head butts the leader but in doing so, Paul’s glasses are smashed so Jack takes a pair from one of the gang as a trophy. Later that day however the two are attacked by another gang who look at both of them and attack Jack, starting a prison riot. In the chaos the guard returns and moves them into the safe area of the prison. Over the course of Saturday, Paul informs Jack the man found was an investigator he was using as he had been dragged into a criminal scheme which he wanted out of but refuses to tell Jack any more for fear of his life.

On Sunday morning the two are released and Jack is picked up by Roscoe, a beautiful policewoman who drives him back to investigator was his brother, Joe.

As Jack takes on a mission to find out what his brother, who he last heard was working for the Treasury in Washington, was doing in Margrave, the body count begins to rise as he gets closer to the shocking truth.

Thoughts

This is the first novel in the Jack Reacher series and it is a brilliant introduction to the series.

The book moves along at a gripping pace, in fact the events I mentioned above are only the first few chapters of the novel alone and there is plenty to satisfy any action novel fan.

The book reminded me of the OTT action movies of the 80s and 90s – things like Speed and Die Hard in particular and Jack Reacher is probably my man crush action hero. I definitely found myself reading it far too late into the night – something which I don’t believe my boss would appreciate when I’ve been straining to keep my eyes open :-).

Also the book is very strong as a thriller with even the tiniest details at the beginning of the novel taking on huge significance by the end. For instance, Child has Reacher read a news clipping at the start of the novel about the President’s plans to cut the Coast Guard budget which has forced them to stop their operation into stopping smuggling. In fact, even Blind Blake has a shocking reintroduction right in the books closing chapters. I also enjoyed that several times the book mentions theories and counter theories to what was going on which can sometimes be a little too unbelievable but none of the twists in the story seemed illogical to me.

Verdict

Overall, I strongly recommend checking this book out as it is a brilliant introduction to the series and I will definitely be looking to read more of this series.

Disagree with my review, or have a book you love and you would like me to review? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I will get back to you.

The book is available on Bookshop.org here.

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