***The Killing Floor

Greyhound bus, Cleveland

(photo: wikimedia.org)

By Lee Child (narrated by Dick Hill) – This is the first Jack Reacher novel (1997), and the first I’ve read. They’re so popular, fans must either get past the flimsy logic behind Reacher’s choice to become a Greyhound-riding drifter or Child at some point strengthens that case. Like Jo Nesbo’s first Harry Hole novel (reviewed here), you know from the get-go that Reacher’s woman will be an endangered species before the plot runs out.

Maybe male writers just have to get that damsel-in-distress-rescue-fantasy-thing out of their system, but I wish they would. It’s too transparent an attempt to give their protagonists some depth via a meaningful, but brief relationship with really good sex. These relationships have to be short, though, so they don’t spill over into sequels and doing the laundry, picking up the kids, and the other minutia that would inevitably follow if the relationship continued.

The plot had a pretty big “huh?” in it, too, though I quite liked the image of homeless Jack Reacher tooling around the Georgia countryside in the borrowed Bentleys. (Spoiler alert: The “huh” was, if the Margrave powers-that-be hired detective Finlay because they mistakenly thought he was slow-witted—because of what Finlay says was the worst job interview in history—wouldn’t their FBI agent confederate, who knows Finlay, have set them straight?) Superb narration by Dick Hill!