My goal is to eventually make my way through all of these must-read titles. These books have been around for so long and read by so many that another generic review from your average reader seems unnecessary. Instead, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what some of the experts have to say about the stories that paved the way for their own success… and how their perspective compares to my own reading experience. Today, I’m looking at Lee Child’s Killing Floor.
Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.
Marcus Sakey lays out the success of Child’s series focusing on Jack Reacher. “They’re published in forty-three countries and thirty languages and sell at an average of one per second. And the whole story begins here, with Killing Floor, and Reacher sitting in a small-town diner, eating eggs and drinking coffee.”
Sakey puts a lot of emphasis on Reacher as an everyman kind of hero, with his personal code of morality that’s easy to understand. He also praises the way that Child crafts his story, not only the plot but the writing. “When someone says they couldn’t put a book down, that’s only partly because they wanted to find out what happened; it’s also because the rhythm of the prose never gave them a chance.”
That’s an excellent point, one that often gets overlooked in genre fiction. Unfortunately for me, it just doesn’t ring true with this particular book.
Christine pointed out to me last month that all of my ITW reads so far have been either 2- or 4-stars. Whether that was subconsciously in my mind as I read and responded to this one, I can’t be sure; either way, I have my first 3-star ITW book. It was good, but not great. I enjoyed it, but it was easy to put down. I’ll add the Reacher series to my TBR, but I won’t devour them with as much enthusiasm as others.
Is it a must-read? Certainly fans of the series would argue it is, but for me there was nothing much about Killing Floor to make it rise above the rest.
Seventeen down, eighty-three to go…
Next month I’ll be reading Jack Finney’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers.