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Lee Child

Paperback: 544 pages

Publisher: Jove; Reprint edition (April 25, 2006)

Readers of Lee Child who are already familiar with Jack Reacher but haven’t made the effort to dig up the volume that started it all should make the effort to get their hands on Killing Floor. The Killing Floor is Jack Reacher at his youngest and most passionate. It is easy to see why Lee Child continued on with the character turning Reacher into a franchise of his own. Jack Reacher is a tough as nails former Army MP Detective who thinks on his feet in terms more akin to those of an Army officer and a police officer than your typical tough guy.

For the uninitiated Jack Reacher is a retired U.S. Army major who spent his tours in the military police. Before you wonder what the big deal is about being a military policeman think about the people MP’s have to police – the world’s best trained killers. It wasn’t an easy job but Reacher was good at it. Taking his pension after decades of service and military downsizing Jack Reacher MP became Jack Reacher wandering soul. In Killing Floor Reacher wanders into the town of Margrave, Georgia for a little breakfast and to investigate the long cold case file of a Southern ragtime/blues guitarist named Blind Blake (there is no verifiable record of how Blind Blake died). While sitting at a diner having some breakfast the entire Margrave police force shows up to arrest Reacher for murder.

What follows is one of the most intricate and well thought out freshman mystery/thrillers this reviewer has had the pleasure of reading. There is just enough of everything in Killing Floor (though maybe a little too much Reacher the sex machine but it is endemic to the genre ever since Donald Hamilton put pen to paper). Killing Floor is from start to finish a very tightly told story. There is a rough and ready feel to the novel that is more polished in later Reacher novels. Killing Floor is definitely worth the read for readers new to Lee Child as well as those like me who started reading the series in the middle instead of at the beginning.