Note: This review is by my husband Jim.
After thirteen previous books, Jack Reacher, 6 feet 5 inches tall, is still 265 pounds, has no possessions except a travel toothbrush, and is quite capable of disarming and maiming two large biker gang members simultaneously with his bare hands.
In 61 Hours, Child writes with his usual terse, fast paced style, and the bad guys get their usual comeuppance.
This book, however, falls short of expectations in an important respect. The title implies that something very momentous is about to happen at precisely 61 hours after the opening scene leaves Reacher stranded in a small South Dakota town in the middle of a very cold spell of a very cold winter. Child frequently tells the reader just how much of the 61 hours remains in an apparent attempt to create tension from the approach of H-hour. However, the effort falls a little flat because the characters (except for one bad guy) are not aware of the deadline. Moreover, for two-thirds of the book, even the reader does not know the significance of H-hour. Only when the arrival of the ultimate bad guy is less than an hour away do the characters become aware that the moment of crisis has arrived. The dénouement takes place another hour later.
Another critique I have is that I could recognize the ostensibly secret bad guy a mile away, a fact that mitigates what should be a surprise ending. That being said, the book is action-packed and moves along well enough to be a good read for a plane ride. However, if you have a connecting flight, you might want to be prepared with the next book in line, called Worth Dying For, since this is the first and only one of Child’s books so far that ends with a cliffhanger.
Published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., 2010