Portal to the Pages

A quick glimpse into my thoughts on various fiction

Killing Floor – Lee Child

on March 24, 2013
Book cover of "Killing Floor" by Lee Child

Killing Floor

Having previously gone to see Jack Reacher in the cinema, and enjoyed it, I was interested in checking out the books that the movie was based upon. After waiting for the hype to die down (the books had numerous reservations against them in my library), I finally got my hands on the first book in the series (which I should point out is not the story that was portrayed in the movie).

Jack Reacher is an ex-military drifter, who is highly trained in criminal behaviour, as well as the usual skills that soldiers possess. Upon visiting the town of Margrave in Georgia on a whim, he soon gets caught up in a murder investigation – as both suspect and investigator. I’ll refrain from going into any details beyond that as how the mystery unfolds is paramount to enjoying this novel.

It was be foolish to state that I approached this novel with no preconceptions, as naturally the movie had introduced me to the character of Jack Reacher and therefore given me some idea of what kind of story to expect. This may have been a positive way to approach the book as it meant I had already accepted part of how the character was presented. Despite my best intentions, I couldn’t help but imagine the character of Jack as someone with a similar build to Tom Cruise, who played him in the movie. This made the character that bit more relatable than, for example, a huge muscle-bound superhero who also had brains to match his brawn.

I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed how the mystery at the centre of this novel unfolded. It was full of twists and turns and kept me guessing throughout. It was one of those novels where you can form your own theories about what’s going on and who’s behind everything, and sometimes you may be right but other times you’re side-tracked by some good old fashioned red herrings!

At times, there were certain events that seemed that bit too convenient or too out of left field. This didn’t happen often enough for it to be a major issue but their occurrences did irk from time to time. I won’t go into exactly what they were, as I don’t want to spoil the story, but there were some things that were central to the story that simply seemed much too far-fetched to ever actually happen as they did. While these did not take over the story or ruin it, they did require you to suspend your disbelief to a certain extent.

The only major gripe I had with this book was the portrayal of its (few) female characters. They each felt very one-dimensional and a bit false. Interestingly, this was also an issue I remember having with the movie. It came across as if the author was much more comfortable writing male characters, but felt that it would be unrealistic to have a novel completely devoid of female characters. I can understand if this is the author’s concern, however I would recommend that in future he avoids writing a female character in a main role.

The main female character was a police officer, who seemed to have little to no qualms in helping Jack Reacher operate outside of the law. The point could be argued that her character was used to provide Jack with access to the police investigation throughout, however a much stronger, male, character was also seen to be helping Jack throughout so I question whether this was necessarily the case.

Despite this issue, I still enjoyed Killing Floor and found it very difficult to put down. I will definitely put the future books in the series on my radar. I in no way regret reading this book and can see why it was chosen to be adapted into a movie. I look forward to crossing paths with Jack Reacher in the future some time.



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