I remember reading this book in 2014 during my second stay in Texas. I'd never heard about Jack Reacher before - I know, I know. But the friend I was staying with at the time recommended the books to me. So I bought the first one and got addicted.
"Killing Floor " tells the beginning of the story of Jack Reacher, ex-army mayor turned vagabond, dealing with civilian reality after a whole life on military bases all over the world. In a way, Lee Child created the perfect "American Hero" - simple, innately good, friendly and with a clear sense of right and wrong. But to me? He was more the perfect anti-hero. Maybe because I'm not used to everybody having and using guns all the time? Maybe because I'm usually not one for putting everything into neat little boxes? Not sure, but really, Jack Reacher should have annoyed and irritated the crap out of me.
But he didn't and that's probably what made me such a big fan. Yes, the mystery is not all clear cuts and believable solutions. But it was suspenseful, interesting and kept me guessing. There was plenty of action, but I never got bored. Child has a nice way of describing the technicalities "behind the scenes" that I just ate up - and checked with my ex-army SO, because I was so fascinated. Surprisingly enough, as unreal as some of it seems - big parts of it, especially about the fighting and the weapons, were very well researched and spot on. Which is something I absolutely love in my books!
Another thing is the writing. I can see why some people get annoyed by it. BUT. If you have a simple, good, easy going ex-army mayor, you really think he should talk in endless sentences, think in purple prose and describe his actions with a lot of subclauses? Really? Because I don't think so. This a rare instance where the writing really fits the topic and I enjoyed that very much. Even the special "lingo", although I actually had to do some research of my own there. But that was probably because I'm not a native speaker, and not well educated on the arms &army front.
All in all, the story and the character just got me. Hook, line, sinker. Especially because more often than not, I wasnt even sure if I liked Reacher or not. He is honest and blunt and wants to make things right. But he goes against principles I feel very passionate about. One of them is: no thing's ever black and white. Except it is - in Reacher's world. And he has no problems killing people he finds guilty or who attack first. Which, quite frankly, goes against a lot of things I ever learned or believed in about justice, law and humanity. But in the end, I still somehow enjoyed reading the story of Jack Reacher. In fact, I've read all the books in the series. This conflict never left me completely, but I actually developed a taste for it. I still find me thinking about these stories, even months after I read them - because my inner debate about agreeing or disagreeing with Reacher never really stops. And when books leave an impression like that? One-way ticket to the all-time-favorites shelf.