Review: Thirteen Hours / Deon Meyer

Synopsis (Goodreads)

An unputdownable thriller from South Africa's #1-bestselling crime writer.

Some would call Detective Benny Griessel a legend. Others would call him a drunk.

Either way, he has trodden on too many toes over the years ever to reach the top of the promotion ladder, and now he concentrates on staying sober and mentoring the new generation of crime fighters — mixed race, Xhosa and Zulu. But when an American backpacker disappears in Cape Town, panicked politicians know who to call: Benny has just thirteen hours to save the girl, save his career, and crack open a conspiracy, which threatens the whole country.

A potent, suspenseful thriller, and a brilliant portrait of life in the country that will host the 2010 World Cup.

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My Take


Thirteen Hours was a very intriguing read and forced me to really focus. The characters are well defined, great detail throughout the book, and the overall story was really good. Everything in this book takes place within a thirteen hour period. The book is a long read at 584 pages, and jam-packed.

I know literally nothing about South Africa, which is the setting of the story (Capetown), or the language. Although this book was translated from Afrikaans to English, there were still some words that I had no idea what they meant (maybe they couldn't be translated...I don't know). Some of the names were hard to remember (and forget pronouncing them!) for me, so I made up nicknames for some of the characters. Within the chapters, there is a lot of switching back and forth between scenes, but I found that very necessary being that everything takes place within thirteen hours. It sometimes confused me a bit, but I kept moving on.

Even with all the above working against me reading this book, the story is just that good that I had to keep reading. Meyer tells a good story, and I think I see another Deon Meyer book in my future.
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