Sticking with the theme of writing reviews about books I have read recently, I finished the first Jack Reacher book last week. I have been told for years that I would love this series so I was reluctant to start it in case all of a sudden it was all I wanted to read, as there are now 18 books and I need to be reading other things really. I bit the bullet though and picked up Killing Floor.
Killing Floor by Lee Child begins by introducing us to a man in a diner in a Margrave, Georgia, a town that has not seen a major crime in over 30 years. Margrave has just however been the site of a homicide, and our mystery man is unfortunately being arrested for murder, he does not accept his rights, he does not give his name, he is not guilty. Why is this man being framed and who really is to blame? As Jack Reacher begins to open up to the local chief detective they begin to work together to solve the mystery, and as secrets spill from the pot they start to uncover an ingenious plot that has corrupted a whole town.
I knew pretty much from the first chapter that I was going to love this book. The opening chapters have that mystery to them that has you completely gripped. Even though Reacher seems a bit dodgy you still find yourself endeared to his edgy manner because you are both clueless to what is going on, Reacher finds himself in an awkward spot and you are stuck there right along with him. He is really very charismatic.
If you have seen the film, which by the way is not based on Killing Floor so you can read it without worrying about knowing what happens, then you will know that Tom Cruise plays this charismatic gritty character quite well. Tom has got the stony faced stare down, it's like Blue Steel but more intimidating. But Cruise really doesn't have Reacher's other great features, he looks nothing like him (six foot five, ha!) and he doesn't seem to exude the same level of confidence that comes from knowledge and skill, not just cockiness. Basically, if you have seen the film, you will probably like the book more.
I wasn't fussed about the romance in the story, mainly because you know that it isn't going to end well. I sort of see Reacher as a bit of a James Bond figure, but a bit grubbier. He is always going to get the girl, but never keep her around. The characters seemed a great match but when one is still living in her home town and the other is a bit of a stray wandering from place to place you just know he isn't going to stick around. I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about that though because it really is just a subplot that helps the story along.
The pace of the story was fast, but not so fast that you felt tired after reading. The circumstances presented you with an event every few chapters that slowly helped you put together what was going on and I liked this, it kept me wanting to read, but it did not necessarily have the characters covering a lot of ground or jetting all over the world which kept the pace even. I didn't want to put the book down but when I needed to I didn't feel like it would be hard to remember where I was and pick back up again.
I haven't felt so much like I wanted to go get the second book straight away since I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse books, that urge to go to the nearest bookshop and snatch it off the shelf and start reading straight away doesn't happen often with me. I did however hold off from buying book two for a week (mainly because it was out of stock, and ordering online just wouldn't be the same) and I have put it on the shelf and will not read it just yet. Maybe I can treat Child's books as a treat after reading a certain amount of other books, or just keep it for when I need a certain pace of book. I am definitely looking forward to picking it up.
Im going to give this four stars, but only because I don't want to give it five and then one of the others in the series blow me away, so who knows maybe I will have to amend this score at some point!