Killing Floor by Lee Child
A Jack Reacher Novel (#1)
[Also posted at goodreads]
We start off with some excitement and a disjointed mystery. A few chapters into the story and the reader feels engaged.
The great start is defeated by the following chapters that tell the passing of time and describing things like how the light changes the shade of the earth. Big words like ghastly and... Well that's the most complex word in a pretty smooth prose that's thriller cookie-cutter style; certainly designed to be approachable by those with a basic sense of the English language.
The other notable feature of the writing style is that it feels a little more like TV or a movie than literature.
Almost halfway through the book things pick up back into the story introduced in those first few chapters. It's visceral but predictable without many twists.
A little further in and it feels like Child had a thesaurus handy while breaking his inelegant prose with words like lugubrious and teetotaler but he returns to his simple kindergarten prose.
You don't see that oddly different again prose until you're into the last four chapters but by then, I was wishing the book was finished. It took me longer to read than the in-story time moved along.
Child often says what happened and then goes on to describe it; something like, "I blew his head off. I braced my wrist, pulled the trigger, and blew his head off from a zillion yards away. The metal bullet entering his temple and yammer yammer yammer." It's an okay device but it's overused, sometimes for a paragraph and sometimes pages of description about something you already knew and were ready to move on.
All in all, you could tear out 4/5 of the book and not miss anything important.
Is Reacher the Yankee Bond? Is he perfect? Should this all be a 45 minute episode of some tv show? Hey Thomas Magnum!