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Thirteen Hours (Thorndike Thrillers) Hardcover – Large Print, 15 Dec 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 631 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (15 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410432416
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410432414
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,939,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deon Meyer lives near Cape Town in South Africa. His big passions are motorcycling, music, reading, cooking and rugby. In January 2008 he retired from his day job as a consultant on brand strategy for BMW Motorrad, and is now a full time author. Deon Meyer's books have attracted worldwide critical acclaim and a growing international fanbase. Originally written in Afrikaans, they have now been translated into twenty-eight languages.

THIRTEEN HOURS was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger and won the Boeke Prize in South Africa - the first time in the prize's 16 year history that a South African book has won. His novels have also won literary prizes in France, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, and the film rights to seven of his novels have been optioned or sold.

Deon has also written two television series and several screenplays for movies. In 2013 he directed one of his original scripts for the feature film 'The Last Tango'.

Visit the author's website at and follow him on Twitter @MeyerDeon

Product Description


This terrific, action-packed thriller has superbly drawn characters and an enthralling setting. Deon Meyer is one of the best crime writers on the planet. (Mail on Sunday)

Deon Meyer is the undisputed king of South African crime fiction, and THIRTEEN HOURS demonstrates why. (The Times)

South African thrillers arrive with racial baggage, and it's a mark of Meyer's talent to see just how well the issues are balanced with a smashing story. Imposing a strict time limit and a tight location on his plot, he 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)

What makes this novel so outstanding is its setting... and Meyer's superlative talent for suspense... This is a vigorous, exciting novel that combines memorable characters and plot with edge-of-the-seat suspense. (The Sunday Times)

Far and away South Africa's best crime writer (The Times)

gripping and suspenseful crime novel set in a violent, post-apartheid South Africa (Culture Magazine (The Sunday Times))

A cracking read from one of Africa's finest (Shots ezine)

One of the sharpest and most perceptive thriller writers around (Peter Millar, The Times, on DEVIL'S PEAK)

Far and away the best crime writer in South Africa (Matthew Lewin, Guardian, on BLOOD SAFARI)

One of the most exciting thrillers I've read for a long time. (Lady Antonia Fraser)

Blood Safari is my first exposure to the man billed by his publishers as the "king of South African crime thrillers". For once the publicity spinners are not guilty of hyperbole -- Meyer is simply excellent. (Business Day on BLOOD SAFARI)

Pulsating and gripping (The Sunday Times on BLOOD SAFARI)

I rushed through it like one of Meyer's beloved BMW motorbikes in overdrive. A fantastic read. I know Cape Town well and he did glorious justice to the city's mosaic (Tim Butcher, author of Richard and Judy bestseller BLOOD RIVER, on DEVIL'S PEAK)

'A moving, expertly constructed story of a broken man's redemption' (The Sunday Times on DEVIL'S PEAK)

Out of post-apartheid South Africa comes a thriller good enough to nip at the heels of le Carré (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on HEART OF THE HUNTER)

A Christmas Choice for best thrillers in 2007 (The Times on DEVIL'S PEAK)

A glimpse of the soul of the new South Africa in all its glory, and with all the gory details of its problems and corruption...I marvelled at the intricacy of the plotting, I smiled at Christine's cheeky ingenuity, I felt Thobela's pain and Benny's desperation, and I was stunned by a denouement of awesome power and accomplishment (Guardian on DEVIL'S PEAK)

My favourite South African thriller writer (James Mitchell, Tonight, South Africa, on DEVIL'S PEAK)

'Meyer is a gifted writer...believable and disturbing' (Tangled Web on DEVIL'S PEAK)

'Deon Meyer, who writes in Afrikaans, portrays a world of terrifying uncertainty, in which those who fought for liberation from apartheid are having to come to terms with the knowledge that freedom is not enough to wipe out cruelty. A thoughtful and exciting novel' (Times Literary Supplement on DEVIL'S PEAK)

This guy is really good. Deon Meyer hooked me with this one right from the start. HEART OF THE HUNTER is a thriller with some weight attached and that is a rare find. (Michael Connelly on HEART OF THE HUNTER)

HEART OF THE HUNTER is a brilliant book. Deon Meyer does an excellent job of developing a whole range of characters who are affected by the changes in South Africa in different ways. And Thobela, a giant of a man in search of redemption, is a wonderful hero. (Michael Ridpath, author of THE PREDATOR, on HEART)

Meyer weaves an impressively tangled web and taut narrative keeps the reader guessing until the last couple of pages (Heat***, on DEAD AT DAYBREAK)

Like post-war Germany, post-apartheid South Africa offers fertile ground for reflective fiction ... Senior editor at Little, Brown, Judy Clain, a fellow South African, says, "Meyer has an extraordinary landscape - a changed world where the ghosts of the past play a huge role." (Publishers Weekly, on HEART OF THE HUNTER)

With simmering racial tensions, a bounty of natural resources, and a government whose members worked both sides of the cold-war fence, South Africa should prove fertile ground for many fine spy thrillers to come. Don't be surprised if quite a few of them are written by Meyer. (Booklist (starred review) on HEART OF THE HUNTER)

A fascinating portrayal...a black, assegai-wielding former freedom fighter who turns into a vigilante and goes on a killing spree; a high-class tart; and a policeman who drinks to drown the screaming that's waiting inside his head: "One day it will come out and I am scared that I am the one who will hear it." It does come out and he is the one who hears it, winding up the tension to a gripping, shocking climax. Highly recommended. (Jessica Mann, Literary Review, on DEVIL'S PEAK)

A sombre but terrifying thriller, and some parts will ignite even those readers with the iciest of hearts...Meyer plays the best of mind games with his readers (Mail & Guardian, South Africa, on DEVIL'S PEAK)

Tough in-your-face crime writing that spares nothing in language, visceral scenes of blood and mayhem (for Meyer is adroit at choreographing descriptions of slaughter), and never wavers from the compelling pace of the story. It also has a mean line in humour that comes through in the snappy dialogue. (Sunday Independent, South Africa, on DEVIL'S PEAK)

an explosive mixture (Peterborough Evening Telegraph)

the staccato story slips back and forth between the various strands at a breathless clip, doling out huggest of plot in just the right amounts to have us salivating to know more (Metro Scotland)

[Benny Griessel is] 'a gem of a protagonist... This is my favourite novel of the year so far.' (Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description


Winner of the 2011 Boeke Prize in South Africa and shortlisted for the 2010 CWA International Dagger for Best Translated Crime Novel of the Year.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Simon Clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 4 April 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Deon Meyer's latest novel,his sixth to be translated
into English from Afrikaans,is an exhilarating read,and
shows him to be one of the best and most exciting of
crime writers.
As the title suggests,the story takes place within a
period of 13 hours.The engaging Detective Benny Griessel
is down on his luck.He is an alcoholic,struggling to stay
off the booze,his wife has left him,and he is uncertain
of his role and place within the new South African Police
Service.He is asked to mentor up and coming detective
inspectors,when two crimes occur.An American backpacker
is murdered,and her female companion is on the run from
the killers,and elsewhere a music executive is found shot
dead in his home.The former crime becomes a diplomatic
incident as Griessel has to save the young woman.
Amidst the unrelenting suspense,Meyer portrays some
interesting characters,and gives us a view of some of the
problems in South Africa.--A riveting ,well-plotted and
throughly enjoyable novel.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Diacha on 6 May 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Deon Meyer's "Thirteen Hours" is a taut and finely written police thriller set in Cape Town. K.L. Seeger's translation is pitch perfect - though of course I cannot vouch for its accuracy - and achieves an attractive differentness by maintaining some expressions in the original Afrikaans.

Benny Griessel is a veteran of the South African Police, reborn post-apartheid as the more politically correct South African Police Service. In this book, he is promoted and assigned to "mentor" up and coming black and colored detectives. He immediately ends up covering two cases and as his superiors become increasingly concerned about their political and PR ramifications his role moves from advisor to officer in charge. The first involves two American backpackers fleeing for their lives from a ruthless, well-organized and well-connected gang. The other involves the murder of a record company executive and the attempted framing of his alcoholic wife. Meyer shifts the close-to-real-time narrative back and forth between the cases at approximately two-page intervals, building up a sort of "24" sense of suspense.

Meyer is strong on characterization. Both his minor and major characters are three-dimensional. Griessel is well developed and despite being burdened with the overworked baggage of the fictional cop - alcohol issues, collapsing marriage, difficulties with authority, and a bathetic effort to connect with his long distance, grown up daughter - has a special individuality. One of the missing girls' parents speaks with him on the phone from Indiana and immediately knows he can trust him. This is not simply a matter of integrity but of commitment and competence. Griessel believes in what he is doing and what he is going to do and the reader believes in him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharpshooter on 10 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am sure many people found this a good thriller. Very sadly I couldn't get into it.The characters did not speak to me and although I tried I didn't find them interesting enough to care about. I didn't even finish the book. This doesn't mean other readers would not enjoy it. I am very aware that with books it is different strokes for different folks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit on 16 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Post-Apartheid South Africa has undergone many traumatic changes. But for homicide detective Benny Griessel, nothing much changes except for the murder victims, the politics, unsettled race relations and his own personal problems. Benny is saddled with "mentoring" newly promoted black, or "colored," detectives. Of course, he is the only experienced white.

The plot involves two murders and a kidnapping, each a potential PR disaster for the SA government. It is up to Benny and his untested troops to save a captive American girl who witnessed the murder of her fellow tourist. Meanwhile, a well-known music executive is found shot in his home with his pistol lying at his feet, his alcoholic wife asleep in a chair.

Deon Meyer has written six novels and "Thirteen Hours" is probably the best (not taking anything away from its predecessors). It is taut, moving and deeply memorable, and is highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fiction Books on 26 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the second Deon Meyer book I have read and like `Devil's Peak', `Thirteen Hours' is a real page-turner that gripped me from the first word, to the very last.

The clock is ticking from the word go, as thirteen hours is the deadline to solve the case of the American teenage tourist who is brutally murdered, the tension being heightened even more with the book being broken down into time-lined chapters, making me ultra aware of the passing of minutes, indeed seconds!!

The storyline is gripping and full of tension, as a police system in seeming disarray, undermanned with insufficiently trained, inexperienced officers; who come up against a system full of corruption, racial and sexual prejudices, strive to bring two separate, seemingly unrelated murders, to satisfactory conclusions, whilst maintaining some level of integrity and professionalism.

The build-up is cleverly crafted and full of suspense, as the two apparently divergent cases, slowly begin to have common links, with clues and information being introduced sporadically during the course of the day. The book jumps between plots frequently as the action hots up and Benny Griessel fights to keep control of the situation in both investigations, in his role of mentor to the new recruits that have been assigned as investigating officers.

The pace of the plot has natural peaks and troughs as we take short breaks from the action, which carries on in the background, when new clues are introduced, thus linking a fast paced action novel with the more methodical aspects of a police procedural, a format which worked well for me and held my interest throughout.
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