I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading 61 Hours, by Lee Child. I had read good things and bad things about Child and needed to make my own mind, so I decided to read his latest novel. So what’s the verdict? To me, it’s okay. But just okay. The story is another story of drug lords and thugs, and deals gone wrong, with a witness to get rid of. The setting is interesting and plays a big part in the plot: you find yourself in the middle of a snow storm in South Dakota and the entire world literally freezes. Except that it’s overused and after being told for the umpteenth time that the protagonists have never experienced cold like that, you just want to move on. Jack Reacher is the main character in the book, and, apparently, because I’ve never read anything else by Child, Child’s books always feature him. Reacher is ex-army, with no ties and a lot of baggage. Fine. But he’s good at everything, he always guesses what the bad ones are thinking and will be doing, he’s so strong that nobody can beat him, he’s loyal, in a word he’s just too good and too perfect for me. A killing machine with a heart. The story features a countdown (61 hours) that is slightly annoying because used too much. And when a second countdown appears for a short while two-thirds into the story, you want to scream “enough”. Last negative for me, it’s a little too easy to guess who the bad cop is. Having said that, it’s an easy read, there is good tension and suspense, even if it gets bogged down in the middle. Oh, and by the way you won’t know what happens at the end… you’re kept guessing what happened to Reacher so that you want to buy the next installment in the series, Worth Dying For. I find this a cheap marketing device. It’s okay to leave a few minor elements unsolved, such as relationships, but when they are fully part of the story, it’s just not on, sorry. My final verdict: a good book for a long flight.
Tony Martin, a Melbourne-based author, does not like Lee Child! In May this year, he wrote a hilarious post about a past interview of Child. You can find the post here. There’s a lot of truth in what he has to say!
And here’s an interview of Lee Child, if you want to know more about Jack Reacher and 61 Hours.