Thirteen Hours (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer opens with a frantic young girl running
through the South African night.  You do
not know if she will live or die.  Her
pursuers are hot on her trail. 
Vacationing in Cape Town has turned into a nightmare.  Detective Benny Griessel is her only hope,
provided he can stay sober and foil the men intent on killing.  Benny also has to solve the murder of a
record company executive found lying quite dead next to his drunk wife. Did she
kill him?  Benny doesn’t think so. The
pace is blistering! 

— Deon Stonehouse


It's early morning in Cape Town and Bennie Griessel, homicide detective with the South African Police Service, has a bad feeling. He's been sober for nearly six months--156 days. But day 157 is going to be tough. A teenage girl's body has been found on the street, her throat cut. The girl was an American--a P.R. nightmare in the #1 tourist destination in South African. And she wasn't alone. Somewhere in Cape town her friend, Rachel Anderson, an innocent American girl, is hopefully still alive.

In Thirteen Hours, the latest from the man hailed as the "King of South African Crime," Detective Griessel races against the clock to unravel two murders and track down Rachel Anderson in a single day. The book opens with Rachel on the run, terrified and unsure of where to turn. She manages to hide, but overhears one of the men say something about calling "their police." Can she even turn to the cops? Then the men spot her, and she takes off again. The chase is unrelenting. Meyer is an expert at grabbing the reader and refusing to let go. The pages fly by with a sense of desperation for Rachel's safety and a burning curiosity for why the men are after her--a secret Meyer keeps until the final pages.

There is a second murder investigation in Thirteen Hours, and it's fascinating. An alcoholic singer wakes up next to a gun and her husband's dead body. A famous lothario music producer, Adam had a few people who might have wanted him dead, including the husband of a gospel singer who committed "the Big Sin" with Adam on his desk the day before. Bennie Griessel dives into the case. He has real sympathy for Alexa, the suffering alcoholic. Temptation is never far away for Bennie, and seeing how her first drink eases her pains is dangerous. He also has some well-founded doubts about the crime scene. Adam was shot late at night, when Alexa would have been drunk and incapacitated. What's more, there are no shell casings from the spent rounds; Adam was killed elsewhere.

Meanwhile a telephone rings in a suburban home in Indiana. Rachel has managed to reach a pay phone in a deli and call her parents. They are distraught, desperate to help and start making their own calls. Phones start ringing around the country, up the political ladder, reaching across to the U.S. Ambassador in Pretoria, the South African police, and finally Bennie Griessel. He vows to Rachel's father that he won't rest until he finds her, and he doesn't rest, racing to track her down and bring her home safe.

Thirteen Hours was a #1 bestseller in South Africa, and received excellent reviews. "So engaging you can get paper cuts from turning pages too fast," the Mail & Guardian said. Another paper raved "the message is simple: Thirteen Hours is available, it does not matter how much it costs, just go buy it." (Beeld) It is that good. It's atmospheric--you get a sense of Cape Town as an outsider and an insider--and gripping from page one. You simply can't put it down.

About the Author

Deon Meyer is an internationally acclaimed, prize-winning author of six crime novels, including Heart of the Hunter, Dead at Daybreak, and Blood Safari. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives on the western coast of South Africa.

Praise For…

Deon Meyer is one of the unsung masters. Thirteen Hours proves he should be on everyone's reading list. This book is great!” Michael Connelly

Thirteen Hours has breathtaking suspense, psychological understanding, and one of the most inspiring detectives ever. Deon Meyer deserves his international reputation.”Thomas Perry

A smashing story. Imposing a strict time limit and a tight location on his plot, [Meyer] ramps up the suspense to an unbearable degree. Best of all, his sharply drawn characters really feel part of the new South Africa, where loyalties and beliefs must always be questioned.”Financial Times

A vividly drawn locale where political considerations affect everything, cliff-hanging suspense, and shocking plot twists, Meyer again has produced a winner. Highly recommended.” Roland Person, Library Journal (starred review)

Try picking up Thirteen Hours and setting it down. Try. You can't do it. I'm a pro, and I couldn't do it.'” Don Winslow, author of The Power of the Dog and Savages

There have been other South African crime novelists, but none are as deft at place as Deon Meyer. Thirteen Hours is Cape Town today, with all its exquisite beauty, tribal conflicts, loyalties and corruptions. Meyer weaves all this into a tightly plotted story with a twist that works beautifully and unforgettable characters.Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

A gem of a protagonist [a] wonderfully realized book. Deon Meyer continues to be one of the most underappreciated writers in the genre, especially in the U.S., but if he keeps turning out books like Thirteen Hours, I can’t see that situation continuing for long. This is my favorite novel of the year so far.” George Easter, Deadly Pleasures

Thirteen hours in the life of South African police Detective Inspector Benny Griessel make Jack Bauer's exploits look like child's play. [Thirteen Hours] progresses at breakneck speed.” Maxine Clark, Euro Crime

Terrific.” Hubert O'Hearn,

Twenty years after the release of Nelson Mandela, South Africa remains a troubled place, and Meyer’s novels give rare insights into the texture of everyday life. Above all, though, [Thirteen Hours] is a vigorous, exciting novel that combines memorable characters and plot with edge-of-the-seat suspense.”Joan Smith, The Sunday Times (UK)

The staccato story slips back and forth between the various strands at a breathless clip, doling out nuggets of plot in just the right amounts to have us salivating to know more.”
Ben Felsenburg, Metro (UK)

[Thirteen Hours] is gripping, tense, cleverly plotted and beautifully balanced between action, investigation and social comment. And all of it rises towards a crescendo that is pitched to perfection.” Material Witness (UK)

In Meyer we have more than a writer who entertains, and also more than a novelist who educates us about 'little cultural differences': his greatest attribute is that he sets us thinking about ourselves and our country and our future. Painlessly.”James Mitchell, The South African Star

[Meyer’s] novels are so engaging that you can easily get paper cuts from turning pages too fast. . . . Thirteen Hours is a ripping good read guaranteed to keep you up until the last word.” Yolandi Groenewald, Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

Thirteen Hours once again proves that Meyer is in a class of his own.”
Suzaan Hauman, LitNet (South Africa)

The message is simple: Thirteen Hours is available, it does not matter how much it costs, just go buy it. . . . You can’t read his books fast enough.”
Beeld (South Africa)

Blistering the fugitive girl's desperate flight, and Benny's equally frantic efforts to save her, deliver a heart-pumping yarn in an exotic locale.” John Sullivan, Winnipeg Free Press

Meyer brilliantly juggles all of the thematic balls, while maintaining an unrelenting sense of suspense. We do not know till the end who is after Rachel and why they want to kill her. We do not even know if she is implicated in some crime or wholly innocent. What we do know is that we want her to get away.” Yvonne Klein, Reviewing the Evidence

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802119582
ISBN-10: 0802119581
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date: September 7th, 2010
Pages: 412
Language: English