Review of “61 Hours” by Lee Child

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.

From the review of 61 Hours by the UK Guardian Feb 22 2010

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.

Rating: 2/5

Published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., 2010

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13 Responses to Review of “61 Hours” by Lee Child

  1. The countdown thing really jacked up my nerves with this one, and I think Child’s hook, if you will, is that the reader might think he is going to kill off Reacher. Which of course you know he doesn’t because there has been two sequels since. The latest book, The Affair, was fun because we go back in time to when he was still in the Army. I liked that change in MO, but Child really needs to change things up. The natives are restless.

  2. sagustocox says:

    I think the countdown was definitely a hook to keep the reader interested and wondering what the conclusion would be. I wonder if these books are becoming like the James Patterson books…very formulaic and predictable and oftentimes disappointing.

  3. I had heard great things about this series and read a few. They were good, yes, but honestly, the whole ‘own nothing’ thing just wore a bit thin.

  4. BermudaOnion says:

    I’ve never tried Child’s work and won’t start with this one. Thanks for the review.

  5. zibilee says:

    Oh, I would have been annoyed with the whole countdown thing, especially if the countdown was not quite fully delivered on! I haven’t read any of these books, but Sandy loves them. If agree with the poster above as well. The whole owning of nothing but a toothbrush would annoy the heck out of me. I need my stuff! Great review, Jim!

  6. The only Reacher novel I’ve read is BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE. I enjoyed that one, but I know the reason I enjoyed it was because Reacher had a team behind him in that one. I’m not as fond of the lone wolf kind of books, so I haven’t read another Reacher yet!

  7. I hate it when a book builds to a disappointing ending. Will skip this one. Thanks for the review.

  8. Arti says:

    Thanks for the review! Glad to read one on a popular, action thriller. I wonder if there will be any review of Michael Connelly’s newest book The Fifth Witness? He’s my favorite crime fiction writer.

  9. Books from this genre have to be very special to get my attention, so I’ll definitely pass on this one.

  10. bookingmama says:

    I’ve never read any of these books so I wouldn’t have any to compare to. I’d probably start with a different one though.

  11. stacybuckeye says:

    A cliffhanger?! I’ll probably forgive him when I get to this one since I do love me some Reacher.

  12. Terry Walker (Mr) says:

    Was there a follow up to 61 hours no-one seems to be forwarding info: I do hate “Cliffhangers” Help??

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