Book Review: Lee Child’s 61 Hours

Posted December 11, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Lee Child’s 61 Hours

61 Hours


Lee Child

It is part of the , series and is a thriller in Hardcover edition that was published by Delacorte Press on May 18, 2010 and has 383 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Killing Floor, Die Trying, "Second Son", Tripwire, Running Blind, Echo Burning, Without Fail, Persuader, The Enemy, One Shot, The Hard Way, Bad Luck and Trouble, Nothing to Lose, Gone Tomorrow, Worth Dying For, The Affair, A Wanted Man, "Deep Down", Never Go Back, "High Heat", Personal, Make Me, "Small Wars", Night School, MatchUp, The Midnight Line

Sixteenth chronologically in the Jack Reacher suspense series and fourteenth publication-wise. This one takes place in South Dakota.

In 2011, 61 Hours won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award; in 2010, it was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery and Thriller.

My Take

I was disappointed in this one, partially because Reacher is definitely slowing down mentally. I knew who the bad guy was halfway through…and I am usually slow at picking it up! And, yeah, I missed all those action sequences that have been in the previous stories. Although, Reacher is getting older, maybe he’s slowing down. Dang it. The countdown that kept cropping up in the story drove me nuts as well. It was an artificial bit of tension that didn’t really create any.

I did love watching Reacher do his magic, telling them: how to find where the biker got killed, where the army captain is, how to break him, the whereabouts of the non-escapee,

Too funny: Marines do their winter training in San Diego.

Wow. Just reading his file…it’s mindblowing. Really makes ya wish there were more Jack Reachers in the military. For real. Yeah, that description of him as “beyond outstanding in hand-to-hand combat”, that it’s “like having a running chainsaw thrown at you”, yeah, that sounds like Reacher in a fight. Interesting info on that seventy-third citation for a six-year-old Reacher. It would have made more sense if it had been for the events in Second Son.

It’s a little scary, even if it does make sense, that the military routinely handed out drugs to the soldiers. One of those ideas that sound good, like using heroin to help with pain control during the Civil War.

Five minutes. All Reacher asked for was five frickin’ minutes…

The Story

Pure chance. Just the luck of the draw that Reacher happened to be on this bus. That a blizzard came up. That the lawyer skidded. That Reacher ended up stranded in Bolton, South Dakota. A small town with a big “corporate” presence and a rare witness willing to testify.

A witness they want silenced. The kicker is the deal the town made with the primary employer in town. If the siren goes off, the entire police force responds, leaving Janet Salter completely unprotected.

Peterson recognizes Reacher’s type. He wants to use him; Holland thinks he’s psychotic.

Peterson wants her safe. Plato wants her dead.

The Characters

Jack Reacher is an ex-M.P. who has been roaming the country for the past ten years or so. No job, no fixed abode. Carrying nothing but his ID, ATM card, a toothbrush, and a strong sense of justice. And an uncanny ability to get inside anyone’s head.

Chief Tom Holland and Andrew Peterson, his second-in-command of the Bolton PD, have a problem. The chief’s wife died and he has a daughter. Peterson’s wife is Kim and they have sons.

Janet Salter is a retired, seventy-year-old librarian, who wants to do the right thing. A professor of Library Science at Oxford University where she used to help run the Bodleian. Then she came back to the States. To run Yale’s library.

Major Susan Turner now commands the MP Corps 110th Special Unit. The one founded by Jack Reacher.

Plato is a really, really short crime boss who lives in Mexico. He wants the chain broken. Nothing to point back to him. And he revels in hurting people. Directly or through their families. The slightest hint of insult will be avenged.

There’s a biker gang that lives on abandoned military property a few miles outside of Bolton. The cops just can’t get the proof that they’re cooking and dealing meth.

The Cover and Title

The cover is chilling in its blue and white with the time counting down and a snowy landscape of a rutted road and bare trees and bushes.

The title is all they’ve got. They just don’t know it’s a countdown from 61 Hours to death.