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61 Hours: A Reacher Novel    by Lee Child order for
61 Hours
by Lee Child
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When the seniors' tour bus on which Jack Reacher has bummed a ride crashes on an icy bridge during a blinding South Dakota snowstorm, he and his fellow passengers find themselves stranded in nearby Bolton for the next few days. It doesn't take the former army investigator long to figure out that there's something big going down.

Nor does it take long for the police chief and his subordinates to discover Jack's own stellar background as a formidable investigator. The stymied cops waste little time in enlisting his aid in helping them guard elderly Janet Salter, who's been targeted by a drug cartel. Jack's links to army intelligence manage to break open the mystery surrounding an abandoned military facility just outside of town, one the police chief is sure is being used as a meth lab. But once he and Jack get inside, even more surprises await them.

Child builds up the tension and creates a literally chilling atmosphere while Jack battles the elements and a traitor within the police force as he lends his expertise and investigative skills to unravelling the origins and the mystery surrounding the abandoned underground military facility - and guarding a witness who quickly gains his deep respect.

What is also a refreshing twist is Jack's verbal sparring and information sharing with Susan Turner - current CO of the elite 110th Special Unit - the command that at one time was Reacher's. As he cajoles, finesses or cons classified information from Turner, readers are treated to another sneak peek into Jack's elusive past and are also left wondering if he and Susan's relationship will turn into something more.

On the negative side the vicious drug lord villain is a cliché and the ending is rather anticlimactic and unsatisfying as Child leaves readers hanging and wondering if Jack has survived his confrontation with the villain and his cold-blooded minions. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until October to find out.

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