Friday, April 13, 2012

Undercover Review: Killing Floor

Review by Nick Ahlhelm

Lee Child’s Killing Floor can only be called New Pulp by using a rather vague definition of “new”. Written over fifteen years ago, it may not be the most recent offering from a New Pulp author, but it does do an amazing job of introducing a compelling pulp hero: Jack Reacher.

Reacher walks through life as only the lead of a pulp novel can. A former M.P., expert sniper, and trained killer, he gave up the military to wander. Without any real destination, he treads across the country in search of whatever might draw his fancy.

In Killing Floor, the first Reacher novel, it is an obscure blues musician that draws him to a small Southern town. The town seems to be a nice little town, rather wealthy but otherwise quiet and unassuming. Of course in typical fashion, Reacher’s first experience with the quaint town is when he’s accused of murder.

Reacher quickly starts to reason out what’s happening in the town, even as he’s given a personal stake in the crime when his own brother is found to be the second murder victim. Working alongside two local cops, one a big city guy drummed down to the tiny force, the other a local beauty that Reacher quickly falls hard for.

Killing Floor moves at a breakneck pace as layer upon layer of action and mystery are piled on top the next. Reacher shows himself to be human, but the kind of human able to reason out any problem, fight any man and do anything he puts his mind to it, even if it means improvising.

This reviewer would like to give more plot information, but to say anymore would almost certainly ruin some of the great moments that Child laid to the page. This is breakneck action, adventure and mystery of the grandest pulp tradition and well worth any pulp fan’s well earned dollar.

Killing Floor is available in both mass market paperback and e-book additions for reading convenience. Highly Recommended.


  1. Interesting that this book would be included as a 'pulp,' yet it fits perfectly. The situations, and they are vast in the series which spans approximately seventeen books, could be set in almost any time. I can picture Racher moving about in the depression era as much as I can as the present. Lee Child uses various literary styles as the books progress. Reacher can be first or third person, and his adventures span the cityscapes and country sides.

    My only gripe is the upcoming movie 'One Shot.' Tom Cruise is producing and starring as Jack Reacher. While Lee Child has given his blessing as to the casting, I can only see this as another in a long line of "Great Book -- Lousy Movies.".

  2. Mrdrcop,

    I started "Die Trying" just the other day and was a bit surprised by the sudden switch to 3rd person and multiple viewpoints, but it actually works surprisingly well.

    I hadn't heard about the movie, but I have to agree that Cruise as Reacher seems like terrible casting. I try not to let my opinion of actors shade my opinions of movie adaptations, but my dislike for Cruise is strong.


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