KILLING FLOOR by Lee Child

I like action movies. I liked the Jack Reacher movie, even if I heard several times that Tom Cruise was miscast as the titular hero. So it’s probably no surprise that I liked KILLING FLOOR, even as I realized that I wasn’t exactly reading high literature.

Reacher is obviously the cornerstone of the story, an observant outsider with military police experience and the size and combat skills to lay waste to his enemies. He’s a one-man guerrilla army facing off against merciless bad guys who deserve all the punishment Reacher brings their way.

Child’s writing is best in the action scenes, where his short, choppy sentences complement quick actions. Throughout the rest of the story, the staccato rhythm of his sentences demonstrate Reacher’s unusual demeanor and thought processes — straight-forward with no extraneous words or ideas. It’s the kind of prose that doesn’t win praise, but shows an understanding of Reacher’s character.

The plot relies heavily on a series of coincidences, which takes away from the story if you take too much time to reflect on what you’ve read. In that way, this book really is like an action movie. We move from one scene to the next in quick succession, with all the action you could ever hope to see in a big-budget summer flick, and if you think about it too much, you’re probably missing the point.

Bad guys do bad things. Someone needs to stop them, and Jack Reacher steps to the plate. It’s a revenge novel, and Reacher is the perfect weapon for a reader who wants the bad guys to get their comeuppance.

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