four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
29-July-Aug-2007
By: 
Lee Child
user_rating: 
0

A-61 Hours.epsLee Child, a native of England but now a New York resident, is the best-selling author of 14 thrillers featuring the itinerant ex-cop Jack Reacher. Also Reviewed Gone Tomorrow ( 3.5 of 5 Stars Sept/Oct 2009); Bad Luck and Trouble ( 4 of 5 Stars July/Aug 2007); The Hard Way ( 4 of 5 Stars Sept/Oct 2006); One Shot ( 3 of 5 Stars Sept/Oct 2005); and The Enemy ( 3.5 of 5 Stars Sept/Oct 2004).

The Story: Gone Tomorrow, the 13th in the series, found Jack Reacher in New York City, deeply enmeshed in America's "War on Terror." Here, the former U.S. Army military policeman, after hitching a ride on a tour bus that skids on ice during a terrible blizzard, finds himself stranded in Bolton, a small South Dakota town with all sorts of troubles. First, there's a nearby crystal meth lab run by a Mexican drug cartel. Then there's Plato, the drug kingpin himself. Finally, there's a retired librarian who witnesses a murder. Reacher, trapped by the storm, starts to assist the local cops who wish to protect this key witness. But the clock is ticking ...
Delacorte Press. 383 pages. $28. ISBN: 9780385340588

Independent (UK) 4.5 of 5 Stars
"This case of crime and corruption explodes into one of the best thrillers I've read for ages. ... 61 Hours is destined to do big things on both sides of the Atlantic, and it really deserves it. Superb stuff!" Mark Timlin

Entertainment Weekly 4 of 5 Stars
"Here's a real-life mystery: Why is Jack Reacher not yet a household name, or an iconic movie character like Jason Bourne or Ethan Hunt? ... Best of all, this is a rare series book that reads like a stand-alone." Thom Geier

Guardian (UK) HHHH
"You get action, but also endless little Holmesian riddles, solved with the insight only a true outsider can bring. ... Celebrate the achievement of giving us addicts a new and mesmerising fix, when we thought all the heroes had been written." Euan Ferguson

New York Times 4 of 5 Stars
"What heats 61 Hours to the boiling point is Mr. Child's decision to defy his own conventions. ... We are not told what kind of event is 61 hours, then 60 hours, then 59 hours away--but it will clearly involve Plato, a tiny, sadistic Mexican drug kingpin who is linked to Bolton in some dangerous way." Janet Maslin

Telegraph (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"The ticking clock gimmick brings to mind another iconic Jack (Bauer, from the television series 24). This should look silly in print but it works disturbingly well." Jeremy Jehu

San Antonio Exp-News 3.5 of 5 Stars
"The action moves seemingly in real time. The suspense is strong and swift." David Hendricks

Critical Summary

61 Hours just may be one of the best novels in the Reacher series yet. Although not as fast paced as previous entries, it boasts "a Hitchcockian escalation of tension" that, despite the gimmick of a countdown, becomes all the more powerful because of it (Telegraph). It is also more of a "closed-town mystery of the sort that Agatha Christie favored," though, of course, Reacher remains the same uncanny, music-loving drifter fans have come to love (New York Times). Otherwise, Child exhibits his usual gift for characters (particularly the elderly librarian), sharp dialogue, and edge-of-your-seat suspense. Although 61 Hours ends with a cliffhanger, readers need not worry: the 15th Reacher novel is due out this fall.