61 HOURS by Lee Child

Book Quote:

“I was born as scared as anyone. Maybe more so. I lay awake crying with the best of them. But I got tired of it. I trained myself out of it. An act of will. I rerouted fear into aggression.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky (MAY 18, 2010)

61 Hours alludes to a countdown that may presumably end in disaster. As the latest Lee Child thriller opens, a crooked lawyer conducts some shady business at a prison and then skids on the frozen roads of South Dakota, causing a bus carrying a driver, twenty seniors, and our hero, Jack Reacher, to crash into a ditch. Reacher, who is six foot five and physically fit, lends much-needed assistance to the bus driver and passengers, who are stranded near a town called Bolton. The local police send a rescue squad to bring in the victims before they freeze to death in the bitter cold.

As fans of this popular series know, Reacher is an ex-army man who travels around the country with no suitcase. He presents an imposing physical presence 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, he has become a cynic and a pessimist. “Hope for the best, plan for the worst” is one of his mottoes.

Reacher soon becomes acquainted with an elderly woman named Janet Salter, who is the sole witness to a key drug transaction. Her testimony could help put away the leader of a large meth ring. Unfortunately, the bad guys know where she lives and have a strong motive to silence her. Salter, who is a classy, courageous, tough, quick-witted, and unpretentious lady, senses that Reacher is a kindred soul and the two quickly bond. Although Janet already has police protection, the setup is far from ideal. Reacher decides that she 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. He appoints himself to the task. In addition, he provides miscellaneous advice and assistance to local law enforcement officials.

Unfortunately for Janet and Reacher, they are in more trouble than they realize. A sadistic criminal mastermind living in Mexico is planning a major operation, and he is pulling the strings in Bolton. In addition, Reacher is up against possible police corruption, a mystery concerning an old military installation, and a series of severe snowstorms and bitterly cold temperatures that make moving around difficult and dangerous. Events will eventually come to a critical mass when the mastermind and his henchmen converge on Bolton.

Throughout, Reacher remains fairly taciturn, although he does let his hair down a bit with Janet. He also confides a few secrets to the woman who has his old command, the CO of the elite 110th Special Unit based in Rock Creek, Virginia. She is a valuable liaison who provides Jack with critical information that will help him figure out what he is up against. In return, he helps her close a difficult case of her own. Child’s no-nonsense prose style, lavish use of rapid-fire dialogue, and suspenseful plot will keep readers invested in the book’s outcome. There are thrills aplenty here, violent confrontations, and an explosive and electrifying conclusion, during which Reacher is forced to make some tough and morally dubious decisions. The ambiguous finale may not please everyone; however, the author shows courage and originality in wrapping things up unconventionally. My one quibble is that the identity of one of the bad guys is telegraphed too early. Still, this humdinger of a thriller will brings chills to Reacher fans, even those who do not reside in a state where the mercury can dip to thirty degrees below zero.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-5from 686 readers
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press; First Edition/First Printing edition (May 18, 2010)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Lee Child (and Jack Reacher!)
EXTRAS: Excerpt
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May 18, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper, US Northwest, y Award Winning Author

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