61 Hours is the 14th Jack Reacher novel written by Lee Child. I've read some 6 or 7 of his works and always felt Jack Reacher books provide adequate thrills and entertainment- nothing more, nothing less. The basic premise is always similar. Jack Reacher, the perpetual traveller, reaches a corner of USA and gets involved, mostly against his wishes, in some trouble and settles it by the end using his brain and brawn.
61 Hours uses the same formula. This time Reacher is a traveller in a bus carrying some senior citizens, while it breaks down and is forced to stay in Bolton, a prison town. He has to endure snow fall and heavily fallen temperatures while solving a mystery involving murders of crime witnesses, lawless bikers, a mysterious structure concealing hidden secrets from Cold War era and a powerful drug baron from Mexico.
I loved the overall plot. Its really thick and carries suspense adequately. Compared to other Reacher adventures, this one is more mellowed and introspective. And thrills come far in between. But it never hampers the pacing. I loved the detailed description of landscapes that Lee Child etches in his novels. That differentiate the otherwise similarly plotted from each other and provides each with a unique signature.
The title doesn't have any significance to the story. I felt it as just a gimmick and doesn't contribute anything to the plot. The countdown in every chapter appears to be added in later drafts of the novel. I feel it is included just to invoke a false urgency to the proceedings.
Likewise I felt that some of the suspenseful passages are too drawn out and lessens the impact of the story. You wait eternally, with bated breath, along with the characters, when entire passages are dedicated to every leaf turning and every snowflake falling, only to find that ultimately nothing happens. This event has a significance that is revealed later on but at the cost of some frustration to the reader.
But it really was a welcome change, reading a Jack Reacher book that is not just a collection of one frantic action set piece after other. The ending also was very different from usual fare. The ambiguous ending was unexpected, but gave more gravity to the story. And makes me want to grab the next book in the series...
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