Good writing has ... a balance and a rhythm. You can feel that much better when it's read aloud. --Laura Hillenbrand, author of Unbroken
I was only dimly aware of Lee Child's books starring Jack Reacher and had never been tempted by what sounded like a superviolent macho fantasy series. But the blurb on the library CD of "Gone Tomorrow" intrigued me, and that book's opening scene of -- a tense, suspenseful, wonderfully written series of events on a New York subway -- pulled me in and the rest of the story didn't let me down.
So I downloaded "Killing Floor," the first book in this series (which is indeed often superviolent and has a lot of macho fantasy elements). I was disappointed by the cliched opening sequences (corrupt Southern law enforcers trying to make a fall guy of our hero, seemingly a drifter and probably a Yankee) and a plot driven by far too many coincidences.
I persevered with several other Reacher books and really enjoyed "Persuader," "One Shot," and "Bad Luck and Trouble." Then I listened to "The Affair," a very good recent Reacher novel that's a flashback, an immediate prequel that makes some of "Killing Floor's" coincidences fall into place. After listening to Killing Floor a second time, I added a star to my rating, though it's not the best of Reacher.
If you're new to this series, my suggestion is to start with one or two of the more recent entries (although probably not the most recent one, "Worth Dying For," which has gotten terrible reviews from Audible listeners I trust, and probably not "Nothing to Lose," which I couldn't get even halfway through). If you enjoy those, you can "begin at the beginning," as Jack says in "The Affair."
These books have a very high level of violence, including graphic descriptions of torture. Reacher kills people with impunity--mostly really bad people, but some only moderately bad people and a few innocent bystanders. He always seems to find a beautiful female law enforcement official to ... entrance with his manliness. He walks away into the sunset leaving behind a trail of dead bodies and broken hearts. That should add up to nothing more than stupid macho fantasy, but I am neither stupid nor macho, and for some reason I find these books engrossing. Maybe it's the fantasy.
I got this book in one of Audible's sales for a low price and I am glad I did. I have read many books during the last few years and I will say that mystery novels are not my fortay. I usually don't read them, but I had heard a lot about this book and I thought I would give it a try. I am sorry to say that I was fairly disappointed. This is the type of book that is designed for entertainment only and not supposed to be complex. As a reader you don't have to think much at all. The reason being either the clues left for you as a reader are so obvious that they are laughable or they are so rediculously small that the author seems to be making things up as he goes. Next Reacher is a cool idea as a character and a protagonist, but Child tries way too hard to make him awesome. First of all he is 6 foot 5 inches tall and is all muscle, second he is a brilliant detective and genious to boot, and third he is an excellent marksman who is utterly confident he is going to win. He is the definition of a commic book hero who never really struggles to do anything. There is never really a tense moment in the book because he has everything "under control" at all times. The other problems with this book are that most of the characters are very shallow and are mostly uninteresting. Also, the part I found just plain stupid is Reacher's relationship with Rasco. I don't know about most people but I don't meet someone and say 20 words to them and then immediately start having sex with them. Lee's sex seens were very poorly done as well, he seemed to gloss over the sex like he had no idea how to write the seens, but wanted to include them so his books would appeal to more audiences. My final problem with this book is that nobody in the novel seems to be able to do anything action wise besides Reacher. Both Finly and Rasco are described as very capable police and both seem to be experienced, but neither of them seems to do any of the fighting in the entire book. That duty is apparently reserved for Reacher. The only saving grace of this book is that Dick Hill the narrator did a fairly good job. The publishers did a great job in selecting him as the narrator. It is true that he doesn't have much of a voice range, but his voice fits the character of Jack Reacher very well. In fact I was considering buying the second book to see if anything improved, but I listened to the preview and They changed the narrator. He sounded horrible to me, so I definitely am not buying book 2. If you like books where all you have to do is listen not think, whitch include lots of overdone actions seens then buy this book, but otherwise find something more complex and better written.
Tight noirish gripping beginning held for a few hours in very detailed page turning?, tension.
Then the book seemed to change to less original more cliched, and increasingly predictable until I lost interest except for plot resolution.
I thought that perhaps a ghost writer took over or an editor said make it much longer and the author lost the mood and his focus.
Anyway, it was interesting for the writing process and the way the characterization was very good and distinct for quite a while.
I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.
The first half was quite good, the second half was 80's cheesy action flick that was just way too ridiculous.
The FBI don't come and investigate the murder of a Federal Agent because they local police did't ask them to, come on? Ridiculous. And only one man can save the day, welcome to the '80s....
Killing Floor is the 1st in the long running and hugely popular Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. Reacher is the quintessential loner, disillusioned with the world and people, who wanders off the grid. With his large bulk and military experience, he makes a formidable opponent and easily makes local authorities suspicious. His sense of justice and survival makes him an endearing character.
For this story, Jack wanders into a small Georgia town in search of the local flavor about an old jazz musician and ends up in the middle of an evolving mass murder scene that even includes his estranged brother. Jack manages to stay alive in what has become classic Reacher style, while piecing together a global conspiracy mystery with the help of some locals. The pacing is well executed with a good mix of action scenes, tradecraft, and solid detective work. Of particular note is that this story is pre-9/11 and as such is fascinating to hear about someone flying by paying in cash with no form of identification.
The narration is superb with a wide range of voices. The tone and mood for Jack is rendered as best could be imagined. Reacher is a solid franchise with a great, likable main character.
I'm That Guy
It started pretty strong but I lost interest as it went on. I believe that is because the author lost originality and direction as it went on. Also, the narrator was awful with poor judgment in inflection and tone. The female voices sounded like a man talking like a woman, which he is mind you, but superior narrators don't make it seem so.
I listened to another of the Reacher novels, and decided to start from the beginning. No disappointments with this novel either. I can easily see why this series has the highest reviews. It's loaded with interesting characters, with a suspenseful action/ crime thriller that keeps you guessing up til the end. It's fast paced, and the character development is excellent. Dick Hill's narration can't be beat.
Heard about the movie, hadn't read or listened to any of Lee Child's books so I started at the beginning with book 1 in this series. Have to say that I was engrossed in the story line, the way the story unfolded and of course with the narration by Mr. Hill. He did a particular good job with the many characters in the story. I enjoyed this and will be down loading book two in a matter of minutes. More to come.
Rambo, Dirty Harry, with a hint of Sherlock Holmes – fun, exciting, suspense, escape.
This is the first book in the Jack Reacher series, sixteen books so far. It’s told in first person by Jack. He was a homicide investigator in the military police for thirteen years, hunting trained killers gone bad. He had to be able to out think them and fight them. He retired as a major six months ago at age 36. Now Jack just wants to wander, living off his severance pay, buying cheap clothes he can throw away rather than wash, no ID, no Driver’s License, no credit cards, using cash, being anonymous. He travels by bus and train.
Jack gets off the bus and walks into the small town of Margrave, Georgia, out of curiosity about a singer who lived there sixty years ago. Someone was killed around the time Jack arrived. The local cops arrest Jack for questioning. In the next few days the police chief is killed and someone else disappears. Jack begins investigating. Multiple attempts are made to kill Jack.
Wow! This was good! When Jack hears the details about the first murder, his analysis was amazing. I was pulled in and didn’t want to stop reading for almost the entire book. I can’t wait to keep going with this series. The plotting is great. No one is being stupid or incompetent – well, maybe a little by some of the bad guys who are not as competent as Jack. Jack is put into circumstances where I think how is he going to survive? But he does neat things and survives and wins. I loved what he did when he was wrongly put into the section of a prison with the worst of convicted murderers. I like seeing revenge and justice for bad guys. So I liked seeing Jack hurt or kill them without worrying about their civil rights. Cops can’t do that.
Roscoe is a female police officer. She and Jack fall for each other. There is a touch of romance and several sex scenes. The sex scenes are told not shown.
There were some gruesome torture scenes that might bother some readers, but they are described after the fact, not shown, which helps a little.
LOGIC AND COINCIDENCE COMMENTS:
Some reviewers complained that the author wasn’t technically accurate about weapons, procedures, and other things. I don’t care about that. This is fiction. I don’t require “fiction” to educate me. If it’s entertaining with good action, I’m happy to accept “technical fiction.” I do agree some things were too coincidental. Jack’s ability to guess someone’s alias and location was too far-fetched for me. Even Sherlock Holmes couldn’t have done that. But the rest was such a good ride I didn’t mind.
Narrator: Dick Hill was great. He has an amazing range. He did a deep black male voice so well that I thought it was another actor. And his female voices were fine.
Genre: mystery suspense thriller.
Ending: Very feel good, a winning feeling, bad guys got it.
Lee Child's style is detailed and authoratitive, and that makes many of his character's action believable when they might not otherwise seem that way. His protagonist is introduced from the opening line of the novel as capable, deliberate, and believable, and that carries him well through a very complicated and at times incredible plot.
The plot itself gets better as it goes along, despite a couple of hiccups and unlikely twists. You may find yourself just sort of accepting something more than believing it so you can continue along with the story. But by the end, the detailed sequences, the likable character, and even the emergence of a pretty decent and detailed detective story make the novel worthwhile.
The reader is great with Jack Reacher's voice, but not so good with female characters. He doesn't read them or interpret them well, although some of that may be the writer, too.
The virtures outweigh the shortcomings, though, and by the end it's a good novel that makes you want to find out what Jack Reacher does next, as well as hoping he plugs some of the holes in his plotting. A solid four in terms of serial "detective" novels, though the modern Lone Ranger of Jack Reacher isn't exactly a detective.