Lee Child - 61 Hours: (Jack Reacher 14)

Year of Publication: 
2010
Image: 

There was some excitement recently at the offices of Transworld, publisher of the British thriller writer Lee Child, who has so successful conquered America with his Jack Reacher adventures. Child usually produces only one novel featuring his tough ex-army action hero each year, but the latest book, 61 Hours, will be followed up with a speedily issued second new Reacher-related novel this autumn. 61 Hours -- admirers will, of course, have to have both. Sales of such Child novels as Gone Tomorrow have exceed 74,000 copies – and he continues his upwards ascent, singularly unimpeded. But the new book has Jack Reacher in the most extreme danger of his career.

South Dakota is shivering under an icy winter, and the roads are particularly treacherous. As a snow storm gathers force, the tyres of a bus skid and there is a crash, stranding the bus and its passengers. And if you think that this atmospheric set-up sounds like the perfect introduction to a Jack Reacher novel, how right you are: Lee Child's granite-tough hero has hitched a ride in the back of the bus, and finds himself (like the other passengers -- a particularly ill assorted group) facing the problems of surviving in sub-arctic weather. Needless to say, Jack is able to draw on more resources in such a situation than many of his fellow passengers. Some 20 miles away from the crash is a small town, where a key witness is being guarded against sinister individuals bent on murder. And another elements in this combustible mix includes an omniscient figure who is to have a crucial role in the dramatic events that follow -- even though this figure is many miles from the frigid landscape that Jack Reacher is marooned in.

All of this is typically suspenseful fare (in fact, the real surprise would be if it weren’t -- Child is one of the most reliable writers on the face of the planet). And there’s an ending quite unlike any other Jack Reacher novel you have read. Lee Child aficionados need not hesitate. --Barry Forshaw