“Killing Floor” by Lee Child is the first book in the Jack Reacher novels. Once I realized that one of my favorite authors loves these books, I was determined to get ahold of them. I was not disappointed. I read “Killing Floor” by Lee Child in a day and a half and that was only because I had work to do and couldn’t read nonstop. I have now learned not to read these books if I don’t have the time to devote to them. I was hooked on the first page.
Jack Reacher we come to learn has been wandering the country for six months after being discharged from the military. He doesn’t have a home, doesn’t carry ID, and has no credit cards, no bills, and no possessions except for the clothes on his back. When he needs a new shirt, he goes to the thrift store and picks one up. He’s smart; he’s inquisitive – but only after being dragged into things. He wants to just be left alone and in “Killing Floor” he realizes very quickly that his wish will not be granted. The book starts off with him sitting in a diner eating breakfast when practically all the cops in the town show up to arrest him. He keeps his cools as best as he can when being arrested. “Again I didn’t respond. Long experience had taught me that absolute silence is the best way. Say something, and it can be misheard. Misunderstood. Misinterpreted. It can get you convicted. It can get you killed.” (Killing Floor, pg 3). There has been a murder in the quiet town and as the man with no home, Reacher finds himself the main suspect in the investigation.
Things moved very quickly in “Killing Floor”. It was quite a page-turner. It was one of those books that made your heart race as you read it, you find yourself so eager to learn what happens next that you do whatever you can to avoid having to stop reading. After being arrested and the whole mess that stems from that, Reacher realizes that something seriously huge is going on in the town he happened upon. This is reiterated when someone else turns up brutally murdered. “…there’s no point in spectacular work unless it serves a purpose. The threat of it beforehand works on the guy himself. It had certainly worked on Hubble. He had taken a lot of notice of it. That’s the point of a threat. But to carry out something like that has a different point. A different purpose. Carrying it out is not about the guy himself. It’s about backing up the threat against the next guy in line. It says, see what we did to that other guy? That’s what we could do to you.” (Killing Floor, pg 134). The investigator inside him cannot help but try to solve the puzzle of what is going on in the town, especially once he learns whom the first victim was.
Jack Reacher is a very intense character. His reactions to the whole situation in the town are cold, distant, detached. But it is this mindset and the physical abilities that he possesses that help him stay alive. “In an ambush situation, waiting is what wins the battle. If the other guy is wary, he’ll come early or late. When he figures you won’t be expecting him. So however early he might make it, you’ve got to be ready earlier. However late he might leave it, you’ve got to wait it out. You wait in a kind of trance. You need infinite patience. No use fretting or worrying. You just wait. Doing nothing, thinking nothing, burning no energy. Then you burst into action. After an hour, five hours, a day, a week. Waiting is a skill like anything else.” (Killing Floor, pg 314). I really liked this quote. To be honest, waiting is not a skill that I possess. But it has never crossed my mind how valuable it can be.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely – it was such a good read and quite a page-turner. I think that Lee Child is highly skilled at hooking his readers early on and keeping them interested. I couldn’t tear myself away from the book. It is probably not a book that you should pick up if you have anything pressing in your life that will prevent you from reading the entire book in one sitting, but other than that I think that a wide range of people would really enjoy this book. I am already drooling in anticipation wondering what will happen in the next book. Luckily, I have the first eighteen books of the series in my possession. So I will be covered for at least a few weeks.