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The 13th Hour: A Thriller Hardcover – December 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Doetsch's tricky thriller, an innocent man, Nicholas Quinn, is in police custody, suspected of murdering his wife, Julia, at their house in upscale Byram Hills, N.Y. Then a stranger gives Nick a watchlike device that allows him to change the past by sending him back, one hour at a time, for half a day. When Nick goes back in time, he discovers single events are the result of a complex web of causes. Saving his wife means untangling a plot that includes a robbery committed by corrupt cops, a horrendous plane crash and a mysterious family secret. Julia's fate seems to be inevitable, one way or another, and Nick's tampering brings death to friends and allies along the way. At times Doetsch (The Thieves of Faith) oversells Nick's anguish with breathless prose, and no character emerges as more than a cardboard cutout, but readers will enjoy the clever razzle-dazzle of a story whose parts fit together like clockwork. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Staring at the glass of the interrogation room, Nick Quinn realizes he has been accused of murdering his wife a couple of hours earlier. She was the love of his life, and he cannot convince the police officers of his innocence. During a break in the questioning, a man appears and offers Quinn a watch. This amazing device will enable Quinn to travel backward one hour at a time to save his wife’s life and bring the true killer to justice. As he uses the timepiece and works toward his ultimate goal, Quinn learns to his horror that changing the past has terrifying ramifications and that he could make things even worse than they were before the day began. Starting with chapter 12 and working backward, Doetsch spins a compelling tale of loss, grief, and injustice with an element of fantasy. As the events unfold in Quinn’s quest, the shocks and twists are uniquely affecting, as the reader technically knows what’s going to happen. If there ever was a novel that deserves to be read in one sitting, this is it. With a totally original and compelling story line, The 13th Hour is one of the best thrillers of the year. --Jeff Ayers
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to keep up with the time while writing. I really liked the book and feel there are more to come from this author
on the same subject and I will be happy to see them.
In "The 13th Hour", Richard Doetsch begins at the end, immediately revealing the story's outcome if all else remains the same, and his main character does nothing and simply accepts his fate. He has seemingly lost everything-his wife, his home, his reputation, his all-too-perfect life. And then he is asked to suspend belief, which he remarkably does, and over the next 12 hours the course of his life and all those he comes in contact with is changed, over and over and over again.
Some may say this book is nothing more than a re-hash of the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog Day", but with a murder or two thrown in (no groundhogs were murdered in "The 13th Hour"). The book is far more than that. It is a very good examination of how we as a society too often simply accept what is delivered to us, and how we don't always acknowledge our personal role in how we shape our lives. We see the central character move from taking a bull in a china shop approach to a more nuanced realization that simply being in the right place at the right time and acting for the right reasons can change the course of history.
My only reservations come in the form of some continuity and editing problems, and that later in the book I kept thinking that the characters can't possibly have done all that they did in the allotted hour.
However, I found the story riveting, fast paced, and intriguing to the end.
By the time most of the pieces are in place and you at least have a good idea of who the bad guys really are, Nick just keeps doing stupid things that lead to his capture. He allows himself to be approached by the villains time and again, and they just keep catching him and he narrowly escapes. Whereas a normal man would eventually say, "Ok, I'll stop this by just finding the bad guy and shooting him" since you know in an hour it's all going to change back anyway, our hero Nick just keeps confronting the bad guys and getting captured again and again, while watching his wife die four different times in the book. Rather than use the information to make smart choices, he just seems to get dumber as the pages go on. At first I thought it would be explained as some mental problems from the time traveling, but nope, it's just because the guy has no idea what he's doing.
If you can work beyond the aggravation of continually saying, "Why on earth did he just do that? He knows the guy is bad and wants to kill him! He knows what's going to happen!", you'll find the book an original story that really succeeds on some levels but fails just as bad on others. I'm not sorry I read it, but it's not one of those stories I'll keep on the shelf for another go round in the future.
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