Saturday, July 3, 2010

Killing Floor and Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

I usually don't like crime novels.  Just not into it.  I've listened to several of John Sandford's Prey series on audio book but I just can't get interested.

Lee Child's character Jack Reacher is different.

And what initially grabbed my attention upon starting the audio book version of Gone Tomorrow was voice actor Dick Hill's performance.  Literally within the first paragraph of the production I was asking aloud "What the hell is this?" to an empty car.

Hill brings a rich, deliberate cadence and precise diction to his performance while at the same time giving Reacher a subtle, tough New York accent.  I say he's in the top three of my favorite voice actors, up there with George Guidall and the late Frank Muller.

But even with a great performance, the books have to stand on their own and both Killing Floor (the first in Child's Reacher series) and Gone Tomorrow deliver.

Jack Reacher is, in his own words, a hobo.  Retired from the Army after 13 years as an MP specializing in homicide, he has taken to the roads, constantly moving from town to town, his only possessions those that fit in his pockets.  In Killing Floor, he hops off a bus at midnight and walks 14 miles into a tiny Georgia town hoping to learn some history about a blues musician he likes.  While eating breakfast in the town's diner, he's arrested for murder.  "He hasn't killed anyone, at least not here, not lately."

In Gone Tomorrow, which comes much later in the series, Reacher is riding the NYC subway and his MP's instincts are triggered by a fellow passenger who's displaying all the telltale signs of a suicide bomber.  He approaches to talk her out of it.  But in the end, she's not the terrorist he ends up looking for.

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