I read Killing Floor by Lee Child


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. . . and the jury’s still out. I haven’t finished it yet, even though I’m reviewing it, so maybe that’s a minus. I’m about three-quarters of the way through, and I just can’t finish it. I tried. Am trying.

My mom recommended it (well, not it specifically, she recommended Jack Reacher/Lee Child, and Killing Floor is the first Jack Reacher novel, so I started with it), and usually we like the same books. She introduced me to Stephen King. I introduced her to Dennis Lehane.

But I just can’t get into this one. I want to like it. Lee Child has written 17 Jack Reacher books so far; the latest one, A Wanted Man, was published in September 2012, so there must be something to them, right? Something beyond the cheesy 1980s action movie vibes of the first book? (Not a good vibe for a book published in 1997, by the way.)

The book starts off promising enough, with ex-military policeman/current drifter Reacher being arrested for murder in a shitsplat little Georgia town. That’s as exciting as it gets, though. The story’s told in first person, and usually I like first person, but not this time.

Reacher’s “voice” is comprised of short, choppy sentences. Usually that works. When there’s action, and things need to seem like they’re happening in fast, brutal bursts. But it’s used all the time. Even when he’s getting a haircut. Gets annoying after a while.

Also, plot-wise . . . it just so happens that Reacher’s brother is the murdered guy. It just so happens that the brother, who lives in Washington D.C., picked the same town, at the same time, as his aimlessly drifting younger brother. The two hadn’t been in contact for years.

Yet, somehow.

Child offers up a flimsy explanation in the form of a blind blues player’s grave being in the town, and Reacher deciding to go see that, but come on.

And the one female cop in the town falls for Reacher. Like, as soon as he’s booked. She brings him coffee and a newspaper. And as soon as he’s released, they’re hooking up. It’s like Child wrote this using a checklist.

  1. Mysterious hero arrested for crime he did not commit. Check!
  2. Hero’s brother is killed. Check!
  3. Hero vows vengeance. Check!
  4. Hot local cop babe falls madly in love with brooding hero, because no one’s heard of psychopaths or venereal diseases. Check!
  5. Lots of guns. Check!
  6. Violence! Check!
  7. Hero has an awesome military past, which includes him being an incredible bad-ass. Check! 
  8. Rich people are conniving assholes! Check!

Ehhhhhh. I’ve heard that the later books are better. I can understand that. And maybe I’ll pick one of them up. But right now, I’m going to finish Dennis Lehane’s Live by Night.

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