Killing Floor (Jack Reacher #1) by Lee Child
This first novel in the Jack Reacher thriller series was written in 1997. Decades later, the 28th novel has just been released (on average one novel per year not including short stories), proving the popularity of this lone crime fighter. Ex-military police, the main protagonist is at times a sorry character, traveling light around the USA, hitchhiking or via Greyhound bus, using cash and not leaving an electronic footprint of where he has been, or where he is going.
This first novel introduces the reader to Jack, providing sufficient background information on his family and life before his decision to leave the military and go where the fancy takes him. His military police training (above and beyond the usual standard) allows him to look after himself (and any innocent bystanders) in the event of a fracas (of which there are many). The opening chapter sees Jack peacefully eating lunch in a small town diner in Georgia, then, for no reason, surrounded by the local police on a murder charge. The remainder of the story introduces many other characters, both local as well as out of town, the FBI, state police, a clandestine investigation by the US Department of Treasury involving counterfeiting and smuggling. When a close family member of Jack’s is involved, the body count commences as he joins forces with the local police to find out the truth.
Quite a few twists and turns, the unveiling of traitors and unexpected heroes left this reader engrossed right to the last page. Onto book two Die Trying of which the SMSA holds a copy!