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Lee Child Delivers an Outstanding Reacher Novel

  • Jun 10, 2010
A lawyer travels through the bitter cold and snow, arriving at a South Dakota prison in order to have a conversation with his client. Interestingly, the prisoner does all of the talking, the lawyer simply listens. Leaving the prison and driving back to his home, the lawyer makes a call on his mobile phone. Multitasking while driving isn't a good idea, and the lawyer discovers this as he loses control of his car while going over a very icy bridge.

In the opposite direction is traveling a luxury bus, half full of senior citizens, sightseeing through South Dakota, On the bus is a passenger much younger than the rest. He's kept to himself, sitting toward the back of the bus, but the seniors find that he is polite. He got on the last time the bus stopped, giving the driver cash for a ride. The driver, dozing a little, is startled when he sees the headlights of a car coming at him from the other side of the highway. An over reaction from the bus driver, a successful bit of defensive driving from the lawyer, the bus ends up in a ditch while the car continues on its way. Luckily for the driver and passengers, Jack Reacher is on the bus. He takes command, having the driver administer first aid to those in need, investigates the damage to the bus, and motivates the local police department to send a replacement bus to get the passengers out of danger of freezing to death.

The passengers and Reacher find themselves in Bolton, South Dakota. A small town with a large police force and no available hotel rooms. The cause is the three privately run prisons outside of town and visiting day is fast approaching. The new arrivals are put up with locals, kind enough to provide their available rooms to these people in need. But Reacher finds himself riding in a squad car with the deputy chief; there is a killer in town, determined to remove a witness of a drug crime.

Lee Child's 61 Hours is the latest installment in the Jack Reacher series. While Child could have, long ago, fallen into cliche and formula, he has, for the most part, kept Reacher fresh and interesting. 61 Hours raises the bar on the series.

The Reacher in this novel is not exactly the same Reacher you have come to know. While he is still a highly observant, tough, and resourceful ex-Military Policeman, there is a interesting and compelling undercurrent in this novel. Reacher has a real relationship with two women, one old enough to be his grandmother and the other is a current MP. The former has meaningful conversations with Reacher, ones that really make him think and examine the life he leads. The latter, while a long distance relationship, proves that there are people that care about him and are willing to support and nurture him. These two women mean more to Reacher than he cares to admit, but the results are evident. It also brings another dimension to Reacher, making this novel a unique entry in the series and elevating it to one of the best in the series.

Something must be mentioned about the weather depicted in this novel. While there are excellent secondary characters in this novel, the best one is the weather. As you move through the book, Child writes so convincingly of the cold weather in South Dakota that this would make an excellent beach book. While those around you are sweating, you will be experiencing chills, literally, from the prose. The cold seeps from the pages, It also affects the movements and reaction times of the characters, the performance of vehicles. The weather affects everything but the plot, which moves along at an excellent pace.

The entire book is a countdown to an event, sixty-one hours in the future from the start of the novel. Child reminds the reader frequently through the novel of the remaining time. We do not know what will happen, how the multiple story arcs interrelate, or the significance of the sixty-one hour countdown. All becomes clear, however not everything is answered. Thankfully, Child informs the reader that October 19, 2010, is the scheduled release date for the next installment in the series. 61 Hours is arguably the best book in the Reacher series, especially for those that have read every installment. New readers to the series will be introduced to a much more complex Reacher and a very satisfying thriller from an author at the top of his game.

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May 02, 2011
Enjoyed your review, Gregg!
June 12, 2010
I am halfway through and frankly this one just is not doing it for me. It may be because I am so tired traveling but I am bored with it at the moment. And for some reason the countdown "X hours to go" is annoying me to no end. Nice review!
May 02, 2011
Is the countdown like "24's" hourly time countdown (television series)?
May 03, 2011
Yes, every chapter is titles, as cdbaker has said, "X hours to go." Where cdbaker found it annoying, I thought it was a great plot device that seemed to ratchet up the suspense.
May 04, 2011
Adrianna, the "sequeal" is Worth Dying For, which wasn't even worth reading.
More 61 Hours: A Reacher Novel reviews
review by . February 22, 2011
Snow bound
The nomadic Jack Reacher hitches a ride on a tour bus in South Dakota, only to have it skid off the road during an intensifying blizzard. The town folk put up the stranded travelers in their homes, but the police can't provide immediate assistance because of a riot at the new local prison. When one of the cops learns of Reacher's background in law enforcement, they recruit him to provide protection for a key witness in an upcoming drug trial. In a departure for author Child, much of the …
review by . August 28, 2010
As I started reading Lee Child's current best seller with Jack Reacher, something was nagging me. Then I remembered reading his debut novel and then started looking at the many plot similarities between the two books.      In both novels, Reacher is helping the overwhelmed police department in a small town. In "Killing Floor," the action is in Margrove, Georgia. In "61 Hours," the setting is Bolton, South Dakota.      Both stories …
review by . August 05, 2010
OK, I have to start out by saying that I LOVE the Jack Reacher series by Lee Childs. Reacher is a fabulous "hero" figure - retired MP officer from the Army who continues to always be on the move, never carrying a suitcase, going in any direction to see what's down the road. In all the books, he winds up getting involved in dicey situations entirely not of his own making but somehow, feels an obligation to help the person in trouble. The resulting plot moves quickly, is rarely predictable, …
review by . August 06, 2010
I've been a fan of Jack Reacher novels since I read my first Reacher novel 4 years ago. Reacher is the successor to such tough guy/knight in rusted armor protagonists as Travis McGee and Spenser. These are good escapism books and the quality of Lee Child's writing is a couple of cuts above the average for this type of novel. If you are attracted to this kind of book, give Reacher a try. In 61 Hours, Reacher is on another road trip. That's how all the storys go. This one takes …
review by . June 22, 2010
61 Hours is the most odd and least satisfying of all the Jack Reacher novels to date.  I’ve really enjoyed the series so far, but let’s face it, sometimes the plots stretch credulity so badly as to make them simply boilerplate thrillers with a really cool and likable character.  But 61 Hours not only stretches credulity, it is the only Jack Reacher novel to date that I found somewhat boring and unengaging.  Add to that the odd, unbelievable, and unsatisfying cliffhanger …
review by . July 27, 2010
Loner Jack Reacher, the former MP who travels so light he buys new clothes rather than do laundry, is on his action-packed toes in this 14th thriller. It's winter in South Dakota, the snow is piling up and a real storm is on its way.    The 61-hour countdown (the story's framework) begins when a terrified lawyer takes dictated instructions from a prison inmate and passes them down the line to a drug lord in Mexico.    Reacher is hitching a ride with a tour …
Quick Tip by . November 05, 2010
This is not the best Reacher by far.....instead, this is a weak Reacher with a very open ending that did not go over with readers at all well.
review by . June 14, 2010
      It seems there are no more words of praise to be heaped upon Dick Hill's readings. As audio book aficionados know he's a whiz at thrillers, although he does a variety of genres. Hill has been named a Golden Voice and a Voice of the Century by AudioFile magazine, and has a trio of Audie Awards. His name on an audio edition promises an exciting voice performance. He has said that he takes a visual approach to narrating books, noting "I have a visual picture of …
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
Jack Reacher is sooooo cooool!!!
Quick Tip by . June 19, 2010
About the reviewer
Gregg Eldred ()
Ranked #72
It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … more
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About this book


After a brief stop in New York City (Gone Tomorrow), Jack Reacher is back in his element—Smalltown, U.S.A.—in bestseller Child's fine 14th thriller to feature the roving ex-military cop. When a tour bus on which he bummed a ride skids off the road and crashes, Reacher finds himself in Bolton, S.Dak., a tiny burg with big problems. A highly sophisticated methamphetamine lab run by a vicious Mexican drug cartel has begun operating outside town at an abandoned military facility. After figuring out the snow-bound, marooned Reacher's smart, great with weapons, and capable of tapping military intelligence, the helpless local cops enlist his assistance, and, as always, he displays plenty of derring-do, mental acuity, and good old-fashioned decency. While the action is slower than usual, series fans will appreciate some new insights that Child provides into his hero's psyche and background as well as a cliffhanger ending.Author tour. (May)
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ISBN-10: 0385340583
ISBN-13: 978-0385340588
Author: Lee Child
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date Published: 05-18-2010
ISBN: Hard Cover
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