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61 Hours: Book Review

Reviewed by's Steph Zajkowski

It doesn't seem a year ago since I reviewed Lee Child's 'Gone Tomorrow' but it must be so.

There it lay on my desk, '61 Hours' - book fourteen in the Jack Reacher juggernaught series, ready to be devoured.

In keeping with the see-sawing settings of his novels, with this release, Child moves from Gone Tomorrow's global terrorism arena to the claustrophobia of small town South Dakota.

Trapped in smudge-on-the-map Bolton courtesy of a bus crash and a savage snowstorm, Jack stumbles into a deadly confrontation.

His original plan was to keep moving, but the next 61 hours will change everything.

A killer is coming to town - and it seems Jack, in the wrong place at the right time, is the only guy who can figure out who the killer is.

Snow, white-outs and blizzards prevail - in this novel it forms the metaphor for what Jack (and the reader) begins to realise.

Nothing in Bolton is what it seems; people harbour secrets, the truth is obscured and reality is blurred.

As the entire district suffers in winter's vicious grip, Jack finds himself nurse-maid to a vulnerable witness, who must be guarded round the clock.

Five miles out of town, a lone stone building holds the key to the secret consuming the town...

Rather than being a page turner, Childs' narrative doesn't so much rattle along, than drag.

As Jack methodically ticks suspects off his list of baddies, we plod diligently to the finish line with him.

The final chapter is where the whiz-bang, explosive, gun-toting confrontation we've come to expect from Jack happens. Jack is in real danger.

61 hours into the novel, the conclusion is thrilling, but also leaves questions - it's an ambiguous end which will have fans talking.

However, for the first time ever, I had to employ my own dogged persistence to get there.

As Child himself has said, 61 Hours is "more run of the mill." I couldn't have put it better myself.

So, having been on board with Team Jack for thirteen thrilling adventures, I feel like a cheating girlfriend just admitting it - Lee Child's latest outing is...tired.

Jack felt it. And so did I.

Title: 61 Hours
Author: Lee Child
Publisher: Random House
RRP: $39.99
Available: March 19th 2010