on 27 June 2011
Great opener to a series and kept me entertained, but "entertained" is definitely the right word as I was not kept guessing or intrigued by complex characters or subtle plot.
The clichés about Small Town America were many and, being a UK citizen writing about people and places of the USA, Child's made a little too much effort to sound American. Count how many times he uses the phrase ". . . as he nosed the car out of the parking lot . . . as he nosed the car into traffic. . . " - I actually started to laugh out loud. One of the characters is described in a way that made me envisage him as Colonel Sanders complete with white suit, string neck tie and rootin', tootin' manner about the way he patronises town folk!
That said, you may get the impression from the above that I am extremely critical, yet strangely, I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of the book and the amount of 'stuff' that happens on almost every page. It was sufficiently satisfying that I have begun reading the second book and, no doubt, I will find myself hooked on the series.
I suppose, in many ways, it's a bit like first discovering John Grisham: You can't deny the 'readability' of his books, but they won't exactly challenge your intellect.
Great solid read, don't pass over due to some poor reviews here.
on 13 June 2014
This is ideal if you do not sit reading for hours and like dipping in and out of a book. I can understand why some reviewers find the short concise sentences rather annoying as after a while the style can begin to grate on you. However the advantage of this is that it is easy to follow the plot and therefore if you cannot devote hours at a time to concentrating on a text, the style helps when coming back to the book after an absence. That is because the short sentences are easy to absorb
Not sure I will be reading lots of the Jack Reacher books but as an enjoyable easy read, this is certainly worthwhile
Having sort of enjoyed "The Killing Floor"
I tried reading the second book in the series and found the short sentences starting to become VERY annoying after a while. They stop all sense of story flow and in my opinion detract from any sense of excitement or suspense/intrigue. The best way for me to describe the style, would be the equivalent of an advert every 2 minutes on a televised film. It totally breaks up the flow of the action/dialogue.
It is a shame. I am sure Reacher stories are good. However I cannot continue to read them. Not in this stop start way. Four or Five word sentences. For hundreds of pages. It would drive me to despair. This shows what I mean. If someone talked to you. n this manner. Then started another sentence. When they should have continued. The previous one. I am sure you would. Go nuts!
AS you can see, it is like reading a string of 5 year olds sentences. It is very frustrating as I would like to read the rest of the stories, but maybe when they have be re-edited the books into grown ups sentences and paragraphs that you can read like a "normal book"
on 7 September 2014
This was a simple, obvious little story drawn out to a ridiculous degree. The author uses short, punchy sentences but my God he uses a lot of them! The story dragged interminably, with everything over-explained over and over, and one word never used where a hundred would do. I found myself skimming before I got to the halfway point. There were other problems too; I didn't buy the Reacher character at all, or his back story. I didn't buy the ridiculous coincidence of him winding up in the same town as his brother. But my biggest problem was that he was a homeless hobo, and a murder suspect, yet he was welcomed into a murder investigation by Finlay, given access to police records and told everything that was going on. He was even allowed access to a murder scene, and then was allowed to take over the investigation, I mean, what? Has the author never met a cop? No cop ever born, in any country, would have let Reacher within a million miles of the case. Plus, when he murders two men and hides the bodies, his cop girlfriend helps him! I mean, my God? This is my first Lee Child, and undoubtedly my last. Thank God for Harry Bosch.
on 24 March 2014
"I'm Jack Reacher," I said
"Really?" he said
"Yes," I said looking in the mirror at my brown hair, blue eyes, and rough rugged looking face.
"Jack Reacher?" he said, "The man who had an American father and French mother that married in Korea and moved around a lot so he mostly grew up in american airbases, and naturally entered into the force himself, became a major then was made redundant with severence pay and is now struggling to ingratiate himself back into society?" he said again.
"Yes," I said.
He steeplied his fingers for the fourth time. I noted his hands. They were good hands. They were Textbook hands. They knew their way around a gun. But he wasn't here to shoot guns, he was here to ask me lots of questions about plot and characterisation.
"So," he said. "you know what happens now right?" He said.
"Yes," I said, "We have to have a massively wooden conversation involving as many 'saids' as possible."
"Yes," he said, "all the saids." he said, "One said after another said until there's so many saids, that this reads like an eight year old's English assignment."
"Oh," I said noticing his hair. It had a textbook parting. It was hair that had seen a lot of action, and not all of it good. This was hair that had endured all the hardships of growing up as a young black male in a predominatly white neighbourhood, the struggle for promotion through the ranks, and a difficult relationship with his mother.
I stood up, walked to the table, grabbed a cup from the pile of cups, put the cup down on the table surface, took a spoon, put it into the coffee, dropped the coffee into the cup, took the hot kettle, poured some water onto the coffee, picked up the milk jug, poured a small amount of milk into the coffee, grabbed the spoon, put it into the cup, stirred it several times, then put the spoon down, picked up the cup and walked back to the desk and sat back down in the seat.
"You want one?" I asked.
"No thanks," he said, "I don't want to die of boredom before we get to the end of this scene," he said. He looked angry. He clenched his fist. It was the kind of fist that could hit someone really hard in the face.
I had to think quick. Had to think about exactly what else I needed the readers to know through my limited first person perspective. Then it came to me. I wrote a short note on a piece of paper and passed it under the table where none of you idiots could see.
"Oh yes," he exclaimed reading it quickly, "that reminds me," he said, "tell me all about why you walked fourteen miles down a road," he said," in the rain," he said, "with no money, credit cards, ID, or pants." he said
But it was too late. The reader had thrown my book off a ferry. On fire.
on 30 July 2015
My first, and certainly last, Jack Reacher book. Boring. Slow. Ridiculous plot. Written like this. All the way through. Really short sentences. Over and over. Gave up on it at 39% as I almost lost the will to live. As for the reviews which say thre are beter Jack Reacher books, they don't have much competition from this rubbish.
on 26 February 2015
This is not the first Jack Reacher book I have read so I did already knew who Jack Reacher is. Lee Child's creation is the modern day Conan. Meaning he is fully clothes, an expert on modern weapons (guns, switchblades, he could probably use a sword but does not yet), as well as unarmed combat. He is a big battle scared and tested fighter. He lives his life as a wonderer a leaf in the wind blown from one place to another usually finding adventure/trouble where he lands. The slight twist on the Jack Reacher character is that he has a Sherlock Holmes type of deductive skills.
Despite that fact that Jack does not use any flashy moves, his fighting style is to survive and take out the opponent as efficiently/ruthlessly as possible. These tend to be a head butt, snapping fingers, gorging eyes or nut shots. I really do enjoy the way Lee Child (through Jack Reacher's voice) explains the mechanics of the fight, from the best way to strangle someone to the counter.
On a whim Jack Reacher visits a sleepy small town, to look into a 63 year old murder. However he finds himself railroaded for a new murder as the only stranger in town. To start with the mystery is just a passing curiosity to him but when Reacher is personally involved, they mystery becomes a top priority, which must be solved even if he has to decimate half the people in town.
A great story and a great starting point to introduce fans to Jack. I especially like the way Child ties up all the loose ends, dealing with the aftermath as well. Not just saying the story is over buy the next book. The book is gripping and fast paced. Despite being over 500 pages, the book just seems to fly by. Very enjoyable read!!
on 8 August 2014
I had high hopes for this book but unfortunately it turned out to be the worst book I've ever read.
It's extremely juvenile. Jack Reacher is a macho, tough guy who can beat up anyone and says things like: "It's going to take more than four little country boys to get me. Who are they kidding? I've s*** better opponents than that." That's just one example, the book is littered with similar puerile nonsense.
The storyline contains too many coincidences to be credible and it quickly becomes tiresome reading about Reacher's latest super-human exploits, like single-handedly beating up two tough prison gangs in a single morning.
The worst aspect of the book, and the main reason for my low rating, is the annoying writing style. The author uses short sentences. Sometimes very short. This becomes irritating. Extremely irritating. Don't know why he does it. Makes it harder to read. Not easier. Spoils the flow. Drove me mad.
My first and last Jack Reacher book.
on 29 January 2014
The top investigator of the US Treasury Anti- Counterfeit Section Goes to investigate a case. He disappears for a fortnight and turns up shot dead and his body mutilated.His assistant / girl friend goes after him and is murdered on arrival at the local airport.
Is the Us Treasury Department interested, do they re-act to the unexplained lose and death of their top investigators, it appears not. The brother of the Dead investigate has to solve it by himself. His method appears to be slaughtering all in sight.
Good action and pace, but the plot is beyond belief. Harry Potter has more credibility..
on 1 April 2016
I have read several Jack Reacher books (all out of sequence!) and found them all to be very entertaining. As is often the case, the first is the best and the Killing Floor follows this principle. Of course it's not plausible but hey, this is fiction and meant to entertain and it does that on every page. If you like a good 'yarn' and if you always like the good guys to win against all the odds, and you don't mind a bit of blood and thunder, then this is for you. Well done Lee Child......
on 13 July 2013
I remember back in High School my English class were given a creative writing exercise. I can't remember if it revolved round a particular theme, or it it was just a "write whatever you feel" thing, but I wrote about a guy being held hostage in the Middle East and what he imagined doing to his captors if he had the chance. I don't know if this was around the time Terry Waite was released, as that's a bit of a bizarre subject matter for me to had written about back then (I'd almost always opt for something sci-fi), but it was a revenge fantasy from the point of view of the captive. He never escaped, but he imagined doing so, and getting even on the way out.
I got it back a week or so later with a disapproving look from Mrs McCallum with large capital letters on the front in red pen informing me that I watched too many violent videos. Fair point Mrs. M. My short story was as bad as it sounds. Poorly written, flights of fancy, violence for violences sake and absolutely the kind of thing you'd read from a 13 year old who knew every Schwarzenegger movie made up to that point inside and out.
If you'd told me that Lee Child was my idiot 13 year old self when he wrote this book, I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest.
It was the most stupid, arrogant, chauvinistic, simple, pre-pubescent book I've had the displeasure of reading, but read it I did. I must have read a third of the way through it trying to convince myself it was satirical before it became more and more apparent Child was writing this trash seriously.
The problem with Reacher is that he is invulnerable. There is never any real threat to him. Oh he get's a couple of smacks along the way, nothing serious, but in return he kills indiscriminately and extremely violently. Over the course of the book, by my reckoning, the bad guys kill 5 people, whereas Reacher kills 15. He's an absolute psycho. Now that in and of itself isn't a bad thing, there's nothing like a great anti-hero, right ? Reacher isn't even that.
He's always right despite doing very little detecting or investigating, as the ridiculous coincidences and lucky breaks just come tumbling at him in this story, wiping out any sense of believability. Stuff like he manages to acquire the firearm of the previous Chief Of Police in this tiny desert town, but it ain't a Police issue .38 special, oh no, it's the Israeli built .44 Desert Eagle. Of course it is. There isn't so much of an investigation as evidence/persons of interest fall right into his lap. He displays deductive reasoning like an amateur Sherlock Holmes at one point yet switches it off after that, as at 47% (thanks Kindle) I had the whole thing figured out, yet it took Reacher to 63% before the pieces started to fit together.
Child also tries to ape the snappy effortless prose of the likes of Ellroy by having the book written in the first person by Reacher, so that everything is written in short stacatto sentences, the longest of which never exceeds 15 words. Everyone is called by their last names ( I honestly couldn't tell you the first names of Finlay, Roscoe, Teale, Kliner, Baker, Kliners son, Hubble etc), it's like it should be read by an old grime covered 1950's detective with a dry mouth and clicky tongue, whilst gargling gravel and chewing a brick on a long hard wet night.
The women in the book exist for no other reason than to be rescued or to have sex with Reacher, because he's so damned attractive of course. It was extremely hard to read this as the previous book I'd read was the first Game Of Thrones, which has fantastically strong, three dimensional female characters. To read this just made me wonder if I'd gone back in time 50 years.
Then we come to the writing itself which was a bore. The constant repetition of phrases and the simple language destroy any sense of tension. There's a car chase and shootout sequence that any other writer could make exciting, but for the 4 or 5 pages it covers, Child never once lets you forget Reacher is driving a Bentley. He drove the Bentley. The Bentley turned. The Bentley accelerated etc etc.
It took me till nearly the last third before I clicked onto the fact that I could highlight passages on my Kindle and save them for later so I could laugh at their idiocy, the two choicest and spoiler free ones being : "The hall had four walls and a floor and a ceiling" and "It was as distinctive as the most distinctive thing you could think of." Powerful words indeed, Mr. Child.
This book is pure wish fulfilment if you are a 13 year old boy, an idiot and have no real grasp of the way the world works, or how women are supposed to behave towards you, or how interesting conflicts can arise.
So to finalise, as Lee Child himself would no doubt write :
This was the worst book I'd ever read.
"This is the worst book I've ever read", I told my wife.
"That's the worst book you've ever read ?", she asked me
This was the worst book I've ever read.