Kemper's Reviews > Killing Floor

Killing Floor by Lee Child
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Feb 28, 11

bookshelves: crime-mystery, craptacular, thriller, jack-reacher

This reads like an '80s action movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A big tough ex-military guy drifts into a small town and is sucked into uncovering a vast criminal conspiracy through completely unbelievable coincidences. - Check.

Hero has a cool, manly sounding name: Jack Reacher. - Check

Hero is quickly given a personal grudge against the villains. - Check

Bad dialogue. - Check.

Stereotypical villains including corrupt businessmen and politicians. - Check.

Hero finds a few trustworthy allies, but is betrayed at some point. -Check

Hero shacks up with hottest girl in town within two days of meeting her. - Check

Hot girl gets kidnapped by bad guys at some point. - Check.

Stuff blows up real good at the end. - Check.

I know this is a really popular series these days, but unless it gets a lot better in later books, I just don't get it. I've read far better action scenes from guys like John Sandford who actually write thrillers that have plots that hang together and don't trot out every action movie cliche in the process. Plus, there are massive gaps in logic. A murder victim turns out to be a federal agent who is working on a super-secret case that is so important that it literally threatens the United States. Yet, after he's killed and it's reported, nobody else from the government even shows up to check it out. WTF? I can gloss over unrealistic procedural stuff in the interest of a good story, but since this isn't a good story, the plot loopholes are too horrible to ignore.

Another problem is that Child couldn't make up his mind if he wanted to write just an action novel or a detective story, and he tried to split the difference. Not good.

Reacher is the worst fictional detective I've ever read. Giant clues are put in front of him that anyone who has ever read a book or seen an episode of television since 1962 would instantly recognize, but he misses them. Yet, when called for, he can make ludicrous leaps of intuition that would make Sherlock Holmes scratch his head at the sheer implausibility of them. This might have been a better book if Reacher was just a revenge driven killing machine mowing through the bad guys without the pretense of playing detective.

This would have been 1 star, but I gave it an extra star because the main piece of the criminal plot is actually kind of clever and not something I'd read before. Unfortunately, it's the only original thing in this book.

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Comments (showing 1-50 of 191) (191 new)


Kasia It's like you've read my mind. Nicely put.


message 2: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim I'll admit to giving it 3 stars, but I was feeling generous that day. I'll never read another of the series. Good review.


Kemper Jim wrote: "I'll admit to giving it 3 stars, but I was feeling generous that day. I'll never read another of the series. Good review."

Thanks!


Mohammed Heh i thought this was the only good book of the series.

Stay away from the rest if this one didnt impress.

It gets so predictable,clichè like hollywood Arnold action...

Barry Eisler writer much better similar books that have nominted for thriller,crime awards.


Deanna This kind of sucks because I already own 4 of them. Drat. Too late to return them, too.


Ellie Perfect review. I picked it up in the airport because of all the rave 'stunningly dynamic' reviews, but was sorely disappointed. Not going to read another one.


message 7: by Kemper (last edited Jan 01, 2011 10:38AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kemper Ellie wrote:

Thanks. I'm baffled by the popularity of these. I've had some people tell me that the later ones are better. I may try another one at some point, but it'd have to be a vast improvement to get me to improve my opinion.


Stephanie Nice review, Kemper! I love these for their pure cheesy goodness the same way I love the Matthew Reilly Scarecrow series and also his Jack West series. Very fun, but don't expect too much, lol!


message 9: by TK421 (new)

TK421 I've never read any of these, and now I'm pretty sure I won't be trying Jack Reacher in the foreseeable future.


message 10: by Kemper (last edited Mar 01, 2011 07:28AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kemper I may have to try another one. I've had several people tell me to give one of the later ones like 61 Hours a chance.


message 11: by TK421 (new)

TK421 61 Hours takes place in in good 'ol South Dakota. Although the town is fictitious, it is in the area where I live.


James Thane I started this series with one of the books in the middle--can't remember which one now--and I really liked it. I read this one after a couple of the others and thought that it wasn't as good. Sorry you didn't like it. I think the series does get better from here, but the formula is basically the same. Think "Shane" brought into the contemporary world.


message 13: by Nathan (new) - added it

Nathan 80s action movie?! Sold!!!!


Arjun totally agree with Kemper here..they seem to be killing federal employees left and right without any noticeable consequences


Kemper Arjun wrote: "totally agree with Kemper here..they seem to be killing federal employees left and right without any noticeable consequences"

Apparently budget cutbacks had hit them so hard that they could only send one agent out on a case and if he gets killed they can't afford to send anyone else.


message 16: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby did you bother reading any more of these?


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

You would think bad guys would have figured out by now some sort of contigency plan for the sudden appearance of drifters who happen to be one-man armies.


Kemper Tfitoby wrote: "did you bother reading any more of these?"

Nah, I've never been motivated to pick up another one yet.


message 19: by Kemper (last edited Nov 14, 2012 08:11AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kemper Anthony wrote: "You would think bad guys would have figured out by now some sort of contigency plan for the sudden appearance of drifters who happen to be one-man armies."

I know! If you're going to have some kind of large scale evil scheme you damn well better be prepared for that lone bad ass who is bound to show up and ruin your plans.


message 20: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby Kemper wrote: "Tfitoby wrote: "did you bother reading any more of these?"

Nah, I've never been motivated to pick up another one yet."


There's so much great stuff out there worth reading I'm glad you're avoiding giving this guy more money. But most popular fiction seems to be of this quality anyway.


Kemper Tfitoby wrote: "There's so much great stuff out there worth reading I'm glad you're avoiding giving this guy more money. But most popular fiction seems to be of this quality anyway.

I enjoy a manly man action thriller as much as the next guy but this thing was just so, so stupid, I haven't been able to bring myself to read more. But I have had people I trust tell me I should give some of his later ones a chance.


message 22: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby I'll recommend an alternative then ;)
Get Carter is British kitchen sink realism mixed with one man out for revenge at any cost.


Jason Baker Goodness this really does hit the mark. Child constantly adds details that are flat out wrong, ugh.... Also dear god the women...ugh. Just avoid this tripe.


Richard Most of the comments in response to Kemper bad review come from 4foot 7inch mummies boyz who only wish they had a tough bone in them, all that they hate and pull down is mirrored hate of the attributes they themselves lack, sad but true. Their stereotypical insults do nothing to mask they failures as men in their families.


message 25: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby Brilliant Richard. Thats the reason Tom Cruise felt the need to play Reacher in the movie i imagine.


Kemper Richard wrote: "Most of the comments in response to Kemper bad review come from 4foot 7inch mummies boyz who only wish they had a tough bone in them, all that they hate and pull down is mirrored hate of the attrib..."

Geez, Mom's gonna be really disappointed when I tell her what a wuss I am.

For the record - 6 feet tall. I have fired shotguns and driven pick-up trucks and unloaded semis with forklifts and paddled canoes down rivers and been in bar fights and even jumped out of an airplane once.

And I still don't like this book.


message 27: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby Kemper you're so badass


Kemper Tfitoby wrote: "Kemper you're so badass"

Not really, but I ain't exactly a sissy just because I think this book is dumber than a box of hair.


message 29: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby I reckon you could give Matt Helm a run for his money ;)


Kemper Tfitoby wrote: "I reckon you could give Matt Helm a run for his money ;)"

Let me just grab a fake passport and pack up a few things from my secret weapons cache and I'll set out to see if that's true.


message 31: by Tfitoby (new)

Tfitoby Well don't forget to document your exploits and if there are multiple encounters with double crossing dames to share the photographic evidence with us.


Kemper Tfitoby wrote: "Well don't forget to document your exploits and if there are multiple encounters with double crossing dames to share the photographic evidence with us."

Will do!


Krycek I'm actually a fan of the series, but I totally get where you're coming from in the review. But I saw an ad for the new Jack Reacker movie today...
Then I imagined Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher and in light of your review..and I laughed and laughed...

You know, I think Will Ferrell would have been agood choice for the new movie.


Kemper Krycek wrote: "I'm actually a fan of the series, but I totally get where you're coming from in the review. But I saw an ad for the new Jack Reacker movie today...
Then I imagined Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher and in..."


People keep telling me it got better and that I should give it another chance but Tom Cruise ain't helping to convince me.


Richard its not the best in the series, i'll give you that, somehow he manages to write a whole story from a hitch hiked lift.


message 36: by Kemper (last edited Dec 11, 2012 06:27AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kemper Richard wrote: "its not the best in the series, i'll give you that, somehow he manages to write a whole story from a hitch hiked lift."

I don't know what you're talking about. I don't remember any hitchhiking plot points in this. Reacher wanders into a town after getting off a bus and gets accused of murder.

Here's a safety tip: You might want to be sure you know what book you're actually thinking about before you jump on a review and just randomly start insulting people.


message 37: by Mike (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mike When I first started reading this book I shrugged at it,I wasn't sure if I liked it so I looked over at my wife and shrugged at her than she shrugged back at me so I just shrugged off her shrug and continue reading.So in conclusion I just had to shrug at this book that made me shrug so much.


message 38: by Bill (new) - rated it 1 star

Bill Couldn't agree more, Kemper. I have 200 pages to go and I'm calling it.


Kemper Mike wrote: "When I first started reading this book I shrugged at it,I wasn't sure if I liked it so I looked over at my wife and shrugged at her than she shrugged back at me so I just shrugged off her shrug and..."

My reaction was more head scratching than shrugging as I tried to figure out why it's so popular.


Kemper Bill wrote: "Couldn't agree more, Kemper. I have 200 pages to go and I'm calling it."

Probably a good call on your part.

However, I did see the movie with Tiny Tom, and I gotta admit that I kinda liked it. Between that and several other people telling me it gets better in later books, I'm going to try another one at some point.


message 41: by Justin (new) - added it

Justin Jones Thanks for spoiling the whole book.... -.- Great.... I really hate spoilers!


Kemper Justin wrote: "Thanks for spoiling the whole book.... -.- Great.... I really hate spoilers!"

You're welcome!

If you found any of that to be a spoiler, then I don't think you've seen an action movie or read a thriller in your entire life so I apologize for foolishly thinking that I could make a joke about the many, many cliched elements that this book engages in that are generic to anything of the type.

Or hell, maybe just quit reading if you think you're getting too much info? Nah. Just go ahead and blame me.

Also, I didn't spoil any elements that are supposed to be somewhat suprising.


message 43: by Justin (new) - added it

Justin Jones Hmm, I could have sworn I saw you write who the killer ended up being... Don't deny that that isn't a spoiler!


Kemper Justin wrote: "Hmm, I could have sworn I saw you write who the killer ended up being... Don't deny that that isn't a spoiler!"

Where? This? 'Stereotypical villains including corrupt businessmen and politicians. - Check.'

Considering that it's obvious from the second that they're introduced who the bad guys are, it's really not a spoiler. That's like complaining that someone spoiled Die Hard for you by telling you that Hans Gruber was a terrorist.

If you read the book, you'll find out that I didn't mention several key elements that make up what little plot there is. All I revealed here were the cliches that make the story tedious.


message 45: by Justin (new) - added it

Justin Jones But you mentioned a name... I didn't read after that cause I was afraid, you spoiled it. Maybe, I jumped to conclusions after not reading the whole thing, so sorry, for my annoying attitude!


message 46: by Kemper (last edited May 01, 2013 12:02PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kemper Justin wrote: "But you mentioned a name... I didn't read after that cause I was afraid, you spoiled it. Maybe, I jumped to conclusions after not reading the whole thing, so sorry, for my annoying attitude!"

I still don't know what you're talking about. The only names I mentioned in this are Jack Reacher and Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Sandford and Sherlock Holmes. None of them are the bad guys. In fact, three of them aren't even in the book.

So I'm clueless as to what you think I spoiled.


message 47: by Justin (new) - added it

Justin Jones Yeah, that was what I meant... I jumped to conclusions before reading the whole thing, I freaked out after seeing 1 name thinking that you spoiled it. But I was obviously really wrong, I just made a huge fool of myself... Sorry again!


Harry Very strange and yet enlightening. I think this is a great series with an unforgettable hero. You must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed, Kemper LOL.


Kemper Harry wrote: "Very strange and yet enlightening. I think this is a great series with an unforgettable hero. You must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed, Kemper LOL."

I've had some people tell me that the series gets a lot better, and I actually kinda liked the movie with Tiny Tom. But I found this one to be just ridiculous. I'm going to give another one a try at some point.


Harry I'll tell you why I loved this series. For starters: no flawed hero...how refreshing! Second: I liked Jack's philosophy as to his singularity/aloneness on this planet...very rare in fiction, let alone real life. I gobbled this whole series up like pop-corn, within a span of a month or so. But, hey, that's just me :-)


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