Review: Killing Floor

Killing Floor

Killing Floor by Lee Child
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An odd start to a stunningly dynamic (Daily Mail) thriller series. Having Reacher holed up in a prison cell for the first few chapters and all. Strangely static, not really all that dynamic. Oh, well…

You can see what Lee Child wants to do here, with the book and the character. He wants to create an icon of ‘revenge porn,’ the physical kind, with fists and guns. But, he has to twist himself into knots – like Matt Hilton and his ‘Joe Hunter’ – so you’re thinking Tom Cruise and not Charles Bronson and Bernie Goetz. With this type of ‘hero’, there has to be a get-out clause, just in case we start getting all liberal about why he’s doing what he does. There was with Matt Hilton. One of several, is here on page 126: “No guilt, no remorse. None at all. I felt like I’d chased two roaches around that bathroom and stomped on them. But at least a roach is a rational, reasonable, evolved sort of a creature. Those Aryans in that bathroom had been worse than vermin.” You see what he did there? Not many going to argue that. Paragraphs are dropped in every so often, to ensure we know Reacher is staying on the right side of our moral law, if not always the law on the statute books. Child has to create a character whose actions we can’t, inside, argue with. Someone murders a member of your close family, you’d love to go out and ‘do something about it.’ And get away with it. How many times do we see families, in the aftermath of ’this sort of thing,’ being interviewed on TV saying they only want ‘justice,’ for their now departed ‘ray of sunshine’? Nope. Call it what it is; ‘revenge.’ Maybe I’d feel the same, I probaby would. And we’d really like to be like Jack Reacher in doing something about it.

The short. Sharp. Sometimes one word sentences. Especially at the start. Are a little wearing and unnecessary. Don’t do it people! Clearly, a ‘less is more’ feeling was prevalent when he began the Reacher series. In the right hands, yes, it can work, but only for a short while, not all the way through. However… So, Lee C has gone 100% after creating an American hero, that’ll sell by the shed-load to Americans. The style is American – it’s ‘a quarter of four’ and he ‘pops the hood,’ not the bonnet, for example. And, he goes out on a surveillance operation, in a Bentley?! Only a Yank…

Of course, it’s all about the money. He’s writing these to make money. Lots of it now, as he seems to be extremely popular. How can I say it’s a money-making exercise? He’s from Coventry and grew up in Birmingham (as all the best people do…). However, don’t they always tell young/just starting out witers, to write about what they know? So, a new, young Birmingham raised author writes about… a small town in the southern USA, obviously. And that too is a bit of a cliche. Everyone knows that small towns in the middle of nowhere, Deep South, USA, are run by crooked Police Sheriffs and Mayors and are ripe for long-coated strangers to drift in and clean up, falling in love with the local beauty while at it. OK, having his brother being coincidentally ‘involved’ was a neat touch, but otherwise, it idoes exactly what you expect it to do.

To be honest, while I haven’t seen anything to fully justify why he has become such a best-selling author, I did quite like it. It was an interesting experience. I can’t say I ‘enjoyed’ it enough to search out the next one anytime soon, but I didn’t dislike it enough to avoid reading it, should the opportunity arise.

Buy Killing Floor

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