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61 Hours (Jack Reacher) Mass Market Paperback – September 28, 2010
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Every book starts with a grab-bag of ideas. I sat down to write 61 Hours with six things on my mind. First was the title...it just popped into my head and stayed there (and I knew I wanted the 61 to be written in figures, not words, so if you’re the kind of reader who arranges your shelves alphabetically--I apologize!)
Second, I knew it would once again feature Jack Reacher...over the last 13 books he’s built up such enthusiasm and loyalty among readers I knew I’d be crazy not to keep on reporting his adventures.
Thirdly, I knew I wanted very, very cold weather. My fifth book, Echo Burning, was set in the west of Texas in a heat wave, and the extreme temperature was seen as a real character in the story, so I wanted to try the same thing again, but this time at the opposite end of the thermometer. I was a little nervous at first, because one of my early writer heroes was Alistair MacLean, who wrote cold weather so well. But most of his cold stories were set up on the polar ice cap, or above the Arctic Circle, and I knew Reacher would have no reason to go there. In the end I chose South Dakota in the depths of winter as a location, and I’ll know I’ve succeeded if you shiver over every page.
Fourth, fifth, and sixth, I had three names to work with--winners of your-name-as-a-character charity auction lots. A gentleman named Mark Salter helped out with autism research and asked for his mother’s name to be in the book--Mrs. Janet Salter; and then for two separate literacy projects, a man named Andrew Peterson won an auction, and the man who won the other wanted his wife’s name included--Susan Turner. All three winners made very generous donations to the various charities, so I decided it was only fair to make all three into important, central characters.
The only problem was...Mr. Turner asked that the character named after his wife have a romantic entanglement with Reacher. Read 61 Hours to see if he got his wish!
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The book is set in freezing South Dakota in the middle of a snowstorm. Reacher has hitched a ride on a bus tour of senior citizens. When the bus crashes, he finds himself in Bolton, the location for a recently built prison and headquarters for a gang of meth dealers. A drug dealer is in prison, facing trial, and the key witness is under police protection. The deputy chief of police asks Reacher to help him figure out what's going on and to keep the witness safe. From the book's outset we are counting down 61 hours to a major event, although it is some time before it becomes clear what that will be.
One of the things I particularly liked was the way that we learn more about Reacher's army background, personal history and appearance than we have to date. He develops a relationship that is his most honest and open in a long time. As usual, he is able to see things and reach conclusions that the local police can't. In the words of one character, he's "the sort of guy who sees things five seconds before the rest of the world."
Readers should be aware that this is the first Lee Child book that is not entirely self-contained. It ends with a cliff hanger and the words "to be continued". If you don't want a five month gap between installments, you may choose to wait to read this closer to the release date of the next book later in the year (it's due October 19).
Thus, it is with growing dismay that I see the action sequences, that are so evenly distributed throughout the early books in the series, giving way to less action, more talking, less fighting (physically) the bad guys, and more developing clues. If you go back and read the other books from the very beginning, you find action sequences spread somewhat evenly throughout the book. There are enough clue-seeking, puzzle-solving steps interspersed to give the entire story a great flow. Who among us does not like to see the bad-mouthing, evil guys get a poke in the eye?
So, now we have 61 Hrs following in the footsteps of the most recent three or four books: set the stage, pose the problem, have Jack talk and puzzle and work his way through the clues, and only as the pages get thin (not many pages left), do you have some real action. Action as was put throughout the earlier books.
I say to Lee Child, step back, get the 10,000 foot view on the balance between action sequences and puzzle/dectective sequences, and start to give Jack some more bad guys to fight along the way. Heaven forbid that Lee's storehouse of plot structures and ideas are getting as tired as Jack Reacher himself seems to be. Spoken as a true fan, but as one who is becoming less so as each new novel rolls out of the word processor.
As fans of this popular series know, Reacher is an ex-army man who travels around the country with no suitcase. He is physically imposing, and his brainpower is as impressive as his stature. Wherever Jack goes, he gets involved in some sort of mayhem and this time is no exception. Because he has seen so much tragedy over the years, Reacher has become somewhat cynical and pessimistic. "Hope for the best, plan for the worst" is one of his favorite mottoes.
Jack soon becomes acquainted with an elderly woman named Janet Salter, whose testimony could help put away the leader of a large methamphetamine ring. Unfortunately, the bad guys know where she lives and have a strong motive to silence her. Salter, who is principled, courageous, quick-witted, and unpretentious, senses that Reacher is a kindred spirit and the two form a bond. Although Janet already has police protection, the setup is far from ideal. Reacher decides to guard Ms. Salter, who needs someone smart, strong, and resourceful to keep her safe--someone who can think out of the box and has the imagination and savvy to outwit and outfight most criminals.
Reacher remains as taciturn as ever, although he does let his hair down a bit with Janet.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was Lee Child's 14th Jack Reacher Novel and they keep getting better. 61 Hours was very exciting with lots of surprises including the ending.Published 4 days ago by Richard E. MacDonald
Best reacher book I have read. Enjoyed the characters and storyline though I skipped thru the character Plato thus 4starsPublished 5 days ago by reba reed
Great part of a great series! Childs knows how to keep the reader interested with constant surprises...Published 12 days ago by Kathryn Spira
Very good but I was a tiny bit let down in the last few pages.Published 15 days ago by Denise Chase