Killing Floor: Jack Reacher, book 1

Killing Floor: Jack Reacher, Book 1

‘KILLING FLOOR: JACK REACHER, BOOK 1’


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OPENING LINE:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A mysterious stranger shows up in town, only to discover that things aren’t quite what they appear to be.


PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY:

All is not well in Margrave, Georgia.
The sleepy, forgotten town hasn’t seen a crime in decades, but within the span of three days it witnesses events that leave everyone stunned. An unidentified man is found beaten and shot to death on a lonely country road. The police chief and his wife are butchered on a quiet Sunday morning. Then a bank executive disappears from his home, leaving his keys on the table and his wife frozen with fear.
The easiest suspect is Jack Reacher – an outsider, a man just passing through. But Reacher is not just any drifter. He is a tough ex-military policeman, trained to think fast and act faster. He has lived with and hunted the worst: the hard men of the American military gone bad.
Don’t miss any of Jack Reacher’s adventures.
©2004 Lee Child; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio


THE PLOT:

When Jack Reacher shows up in Margrave, Georgia, he is almost immediately arrested by the local police. This is because a dead body was discovered and a witness saw Reacher exiting the scene earlier that morning.
Thus begins a longer than planned stay for Jack Reacher in the sleepy town of Margrave. After a weekend in jail, where an attempt is made on his life, Reacher is cleared of the crime but comes back to discover that the police chief that had been so hard on him only days earlier is now dead as well.
Reacher still tries to get out of Margrave before getting too deeply involved in the town’s problems, but that idea is put to rest when it is discovered that the original murder victim is Reacher’s older brother Joe. Now Reacher must work to discover who is responsible for killing his brother and what kind of game is being played.
He works with the local police to solve the case but doesn’t work for them so in order to allow him the freedom of working outside the normal bounds of the law.
‘Killing Floor’ is a tremendous story. Everything that happens does so for a reason. Even Jack Reacher’s initial reason for showing up in town, this is where guitarist Blind Blake was killed, is paid off nicely in the end.
The story gets off to a good start with Jack Reacher’s initial arrest, and it never slows down from there. There is a lot of action and a lot of peril, and the final climactic battle is very well constructed.
I won’t spoil what is really going on in this small Georgia town, but I will say that it wasn’t something that I could guess right away, even if there are some big clues that were dropped early in the story.
If you’re not a fan of violence, you might want to keep your distance. The book contains some pretty graphic descriptions of murders and what was done to the victims. This is not one for the faint of heart. But if you like someone who knows how to kick ass and take names, Jack Reacher is the guy for you.


THE AUTHOR:

‘Killing Floor’ is the first novel ever from Lee Child. Anytime you can create an iconic character that would appear in several forms of media your first time out, you must have done something right.
There are things about the character of Jack Reacher that are a little cliche. He’s a renegade, a drifter, and he would rather live by his own rules and on his own terms. Pop culture is populated with characters that fit that same description, so the way you make your version stand out is with solid storytelling. That is what Child has done.


THE NARRATION:

Dick Hill does a wonderful job with the narration, injecting a lot of verbal personality into these characters. The voice he gives to Detective Finlay sounds a lot like an impression of James Earl Jones as Darth Vader.
Dick Hill is considered one of the best audiobook narrators of all time by a lot of people. It isn’t really hard to understand the argument when you consider the type of performance he gives here. He always strikes the right tone and gives the right emotional weight to a given scene.


THE PRODUCTION:

Just like the book, the recording date has a copyright of 1997. That makes how this audio track sounds all the more amazing. Other tracks I’ve heard recorded around that same time have a faded sound to them like they were on a cassette that had been played one times too many.
This sounds great from start to finish. There are no sound effects used on the track outside of a bit of processing for when a character is meant to be heard over the phone. No music is found on the track.
The end of the book contains an extensive preview of ‘Die Trying,’ the second novel in the Jack Reacher series.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

The character of Jack Reacher has a wide appeal. After reading ‘Killing Floor’ it is not hard to understand why. Reacher may be a bit of a cliche in some ways, but he is also very complex. Witness the conflict that rises within him when he discovers that the first murder victim is actually his brother.
The novel contains a lot of scenes where Reacher comes off like a bad ass that you probably should avoid messing with if you can help it. But if you put some of the violence aside, the story is well crafted, and kept me guessing the entire time. A good story can make you root for less than honorable men, and that is definitely in play in ‘Killing Floor’.


QUICK FACTS:

Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Killing Floor: Jack Reacher, Book 1 Lee Child Dick Hill Brilliance Audio Mystery & Thriller 06/03/2008 15 hours, 23 minutes 9/10

DISCLAIMER:

A copy of ‘KILLING FLOOR: JACK REACHER, BOOK 1’ was purchased from Audible for review.

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