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.
In this remarkable impressionistic novel, author Kent Meyers focuses not on plot development and not on character analysis (however well developed the characters may be), but on the rippling effects of the death of young Hayley Jo Zimmerman on her community (TWISTED TREE, South Dakota). Meyers does not dwell on Hayley Jo’s fate for its drama or its sadness but for its seeming inevitability, a main theme throughout the novel.