Killing Floor

By Lee Child,

Book cover of Killing Floor

Book description

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He's just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he's arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn't kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn't stand a chance of…

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Why read it?

11 authors picked Killing Floor as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This was Lee Child’s first Jack Reacher novel written after leaving a lengthy career in television. I read it years before I got the writing bug. Along with the rest of the world, I loved Reacher from the outset, a no-nonsense ex-US Army military policeman. A loner who believes in justice, he freewheels around America, walking into trouble and bumping into people with problems that he helps to solve. He’s a big man you can’t forget or miss; Reacher is six feet five.

I knew the theme was familiar, but the character was original, exciting, and tough. Frequently called hardboiled,…

Jack Reacher is probably the most well-known action protagonist of the century. In Killing Floor, the former military cop is incorrectly arrested for a crime, then winds up helping the local authorities solve it.

I liked this book because it fuses action elements with those from the mystery and thriller genres, with a touch of Western too. Reacher rides into town like a stranger cowboy. Not only can he punch out bad guys’ teeth, but analyze complex clues.

Though he works alongside the police, he isn’t afraid to break the rules. He ruffles feathers, but since he gets results,…

Child has made a fortune with his stories featuring the imposing character Jack Reacher who, like the guys in that old TV series, Route 66, wanders aimlessly around the country, always looking for new experiences. But he stays off the grid while doing so. Reacher is a loner and wants to stay that way. He’s a man you don’t mess with if you want to stay healthy. Though no shrinking violet myself, I get a vicarious thrill when bad guys attack him, not realizing who they’re up against, and come out on the short end. I select this particular Reacher…

This book introduced me to the world of Jack Reacher. His lifestyle fascinated me. The idea that he would simply hitchhike or ride public transport anywhere he fancied was so appealing. Add to that the intricate and multifaceted personality that Lee Child imbued him with and the intricate detail that was evident in all of the books and I was fascinated. I introduced my dad to the series and reading them together was a pleasure we enjoyed until he died.

The answer is simple. Jack Reacher. The depth of this character is phenomenal. After the first few pages I was hooked and have remained a fan of the series to this day. Since Child retired, the series had continued, but without the same connection that Lee Child had with his prime character. 

This is a masterful thriller—easily Child’s strongest entry in the Reacher series. The story is complex and original. The pacing and narrative are inch perfect from cover to cover. This book should be the template for all thriller writers. My father gave me this book when it was first released, with the promise that I wouldn’t be able to put it down. He was right. This book kickstarted my love of the genre, and I read it once a year without fail.

From James' list on thrillers that changed the game.

This is Lee Child’s first book highlighting the now famous Jack Reacher as main man. Here again, I can relate with Reacher and his military background and experiences. Reacher is a carefree drifter. He’s arrested for murder passing through Georgia. How he untangles the web of circumstances to gain freedom is a refreshing read.

As the author of the Jeannie Loomis novels, I know how hard it is to come up with fresh material for your serial protagonist. Lee Child, through his serial protagonist, Jack Reacher, not only comes up with fresh material, but I love the fast, pithy sentences he uses. The action, the descriptions, the small towns he ends up in, the danger the mystery, are always taken to the next level. That feeling like you've figured it out and then Child throws a curveball at's just great.

In my opinion, Killing Floor, has all of the ingredients of a dynamite murder mystery novel. Some novelists can write top-notch action and some can create compelling mysteries, yet it’s rare to find both of those skills displayed in a single book. The hero of the novel, Jack Reacher, is my favorite action character. He's tough and quiet and seeks justice. He's a former military policeman who has just arrived in Margrave, a small Georgia town. In the first chapter we see Reacher arrested for murder. As more murders take place in the town, Reacher attempts to clear his…

The book that introduced the world to the iconic Jack Reacher has it all: a one-of-a-kind protagonist who’s larger than life; incredible tension from page one; an outstanding hook—Reacher getting arrested while minding his own business one hour after arriving in a small Georgia town and being charged with murder; lean prose (ala Hemingway) that fits the main character; and something that few reviewers mention—the incredible rhythm Child infuses into his prose. Because I have a music background, the rhythmic cadence that appears in so many scenes added great depth to my reading experience.

From Chris' list on debut mystery-thrillers.

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