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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deon Meyer--Thirteen Hours
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...
Published on 4 April 2010 by Simon Clarke

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A serviceable thriller.
A good holiday read. Plenty of drama and action. I found the names a bit confusing (takes place on South Africa), but still I would say better than many I have read.
Published 19 months ago by R. S. Mathews


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deon Meyer--Thirteen Hours, 4 April 2010
By 
Simon Clarke (Hackney, London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Thirteen Hours (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars CAPE FEAR, 6 May 2010
By 
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This review is from: Thirteen Hours (Hardcover)
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.

Meyer's writing reminded me of Peter Temple's Australian novels. The style is less spare and the plotting less complex, but the characterization and the worldview are similar, and there is the same buildup of narrative tension. The two authors also achieve an appealing blend of familiarity and differentness in their Australian and South African settings.

Meyer's backdrop of the new South Africa is a special feature of this book. The SAPS is trying to find itself in the new world; elderly whites make a brave fist of seeing the best in the transition; Xhosas fear a purge as Zulus move into ascendancy with the succession of Jacob Zuma; coloreds find that they are just as stuck in the middle under the black regime as they were under apartheid and that it is up to them to come to terms with it; there is the ever present tension of sexual attraction across racial divides; and insecure people of all stripes take comfort in the protective dumbness of sullen bureaucracy. Somehow, though, despite his novel's setting in the under-belly of society, Meyer communicates a sense of optimism and excitement about his country. Thirteen Hours is gripping for sure, but it is also uplifting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Race Against Time, 16 July 2011
By 
Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thirteen Hours (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Page-Turner, A South-African Nightmare, 26 Jun 2011
This review is from: Thirteen Hours (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.

The characters are totally real and believable; from their barely concealed racial views; acceptance as the norm of the corruption within the force by colleagues, on whom their life may ultimately depend; animosity towards DI Benny Griessel, who they see as a drunken has-been and certainly not fit to be their case mentor, especially when they get to know of his promotion to Captain, meted out as a way of testing securing his loyalty and integrity.

In Benny himself, still on the rocky road to recovery from his alcoholism, we start to see a shadow of the former man emerging, scarred and scared, fearing his wife and family's rejection and afraid of his own mortality.

He is gaining an inner strength all the time, as his mentees realise that his skill in case solving has not diminished and begin to establish a strong working relationship with him. He is even able to take the ultimate blow, with some degree of equanimity and we leave him busily trying to re-invent himself and restore his battered pride

The only observation that I would make, is that there seemed to be many more words in this book, which were in the author's native Africaans and left untranslated. However, as many of these words were either derogatory slang words or swear words, then maybe that is not such a bad thing. In fact I did consider that this may have been orchestrated intentionally to make the book more of a social statement about the trials and tribulations that still prevail, in the life of a modern day South Africa. `Devil's peak' could have been set in any modern day, mulit-cultural society, however, `Thirteen Hours' has it's roots firmly set in the soil of a post apartheid SA, that is still struggling to come to terms with it's new found racial freedom and unable to shake off the inherent corruption and violence that has hitherto been prevelant.

A gripping, insightful read, that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page. Brilliantly executed by Deon Meyer
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GRIPPING STORYTELLER, 18 May 2011
This review is from: Thirteen Hours (Paperback)
Wonderful story teller. I am finding this difficult to put down. This is my first novel by Deon Meyer and I have ordered another two of his books. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cross between Peter Temple and 24, 22 Oct 2010
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Thirteen Hours (Hardcover)
A fast paced South African crime novel that reads like a cross between Peter Temple and the TV series 24. Benny Griessel is a homicide detective, a recovering alcoholic who is hoping to win his wife back. He is woken early with the news that a American teenage girl's body has been found on the street. He quickly realizes that a second teenage girl is on the run, in fear of her life. His day gets more complicated by a second murder, the husband of a prominent singer. He needs to oversee both criminal investigations. The story takes place over the course of one day and is broken into segments of approximately an hour. It's a race against time, politics, corruption and police inexperience.

The book is set in Cape Town and the city and its problems - power cuts, heavy traffic, bureaucracy - are an intrinsic part of the novel. "The trouble with this country," says one character, is "everyone wants to complain, nobody wants to do anything, nobody wants to forget the past." There are racial tensions between different ethnic groups: Afrikaans, English, Indians, Xhosa and Zulu. There is a large and complicated cast of characters, but they are all interesting, rounded and believable.

My only critique is that the pace is somewhat erratic, swinging between breathless action, grinding criminal investigation and social commentary. However the real time element keeps the tension up. This is highly recommended.

The book was written and originally published in Afrikaans, but loses nothing in the competent translation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting South African Thriller, 7 Sep 2010
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirteen Hours (Hardcover)
Wow, is this book ever a page turner! And I don't use that in any derogatory sense, it is simply a rip-roaring crime novel with a ticking clock, gripping story, and indelible characters. Set in Cape Town over the course of the titular thirteen hours, the story is divided between two very different murder cases. One victim is a young white backpacker woman whose throat was cut in a churchyard, the other victim a wealthy record producer found in his home dead of a gunshot wound with his wife passed out drunk next to him. Each murder has a police detective assigned to it, but due to a recent shakeup in the force, these are brand new detectives with little to no experience in homicide investigations. One is a somewhat indecisive and deferential Zulu man, the other a brash, handsome coloured man, and neither has a firm grasp on what's required. Fortunately, they've been assigned a "mentor" -- Detective Benny Griessel the lone Afrikaner holdover from pre-Apartheid days, and thus the only person with much experience solving murders. He's there to advise, handhold, and point them in the right direction as needed.

As a result, he spends a good portion of the book racing around the city, negotiating traffic, and dealing with parking enforcement as he flits back and forth between the two investigations and HQ. Unfortunately, the copy I read had no map in it, which is kind of critical to this book, as geography plays such a crucial role in the story. Even so, the pacing is so pitch perfect that it's next to impossible not to get swept along for the ride. Griessel is acutely aware of his bizarre role and is far from comfortable in it, yet once the investigations start to gather momentum, he becomes thoroughly invested. The supporting characters are all well drawn, from the two detectives Griessel is mentoring, to a third woman detective, various coroners, wisecracking CSI techs, nightclub mafiso, and more. Similarly, the cultural context of the two murders are quite interesting, especially the small lesson in Afrikaner pop music that provides the backstory for one of the murders. The book is the best of both worlds: a riveting read that also provides a glimpse into the new South Africa.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "In this country the possibilities were complicated and legion, the agendas inscrutable. It was all antagonism and suspicion.", 9 Sep 2010
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Thirteen Hours (Hardcover)
In his best and most complex novel yet, Afrikaans-writer Deon Meyer recreates thirteen hours of life in Cape Town, South Africa, hour by terrifying hour, revealing more about the city's many criminal cultures than you may want to know. The police who try to keep the criminal underworld at bay are undermanned and undertrained. A series of police scandals has led the National Commissioner to establish a whole new South African Police Service (SAPS), retaining the best and most experienced officers within new departments, and hiring new recruits from all racial groups. Racial differences, tribal differences, and changing historical roles add to the complexities here as good people try to prevent crimes in a fraught and changing environment in which the Metro Police are also flexing muscles over control, and private security agencies perform their own investigations.

In the opening pages, a young girl, still in her teens, is tearing through the city, begging for help from people she sees, as she tries to escape five or six young men who are pursuing her. Her companion, who was also trying to escape these men, now lies dead, her throat slit and her backpack stolen. SAPS Captain Benny Griessel and his young, inexperienced staff are assigned to this case, and soon have their worst fears realized. The young victim was an American tourist, with all the governmental complications that entails on all levels. At the same time, the body of a music executive, shot in the head with his own gun, is found at home near his wife, an alcoholic who knows of his flagrant affairs and who has been lying passed out for hours. She appears to have shot him.

As Benny and his staff investigate, these separate stories interrupt each other as more information is revealed about each crime in the course of the day. The author keeps the suspense at fever pitch. Rachel Anderson, the girl trying to escape, must evade discovery for many hours, while Benny Griessel must keep all the leads for two separate cases going in the right direction and find Rachel before her pursuers do. The main characters' own backgrounds and family lives unfold and add depth to the novel, showing how they live, for better or worse, in the newly integrated society. As the novel develops further, the ins and outs of the not always honest music business, the roles of Russian owners and managers of clubs and bars, the weaknesses of police officers who may be offered enormous bribes, illegal immigration from other African countries whose governments are in total disarray, the problems of a drug culture, and the corruption which seems to be an unfortunate natural result of power all appear as well integrated themes and plot lines.

Despite the darkness of its plot, Afrikaans writer Deon Meyer honors hard-working and honest people of all races in this novel--Benny Griessel (white), bright new detective Vusumuzi Ndabeni (black), no-nonsense female investigator Mbali Kaleni (black), and pathologist, Tiffany October ("coloured"). These people and others like them are the future of the country and its hope, and Deon Meyer, an Afrikaaner, celebrates them within the context of a society in transition. Mary Whipple

Blood Safari
Dead at Daybreak
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4.0 out of 5 stars wow, 30 April 2014
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This review is from: Thirteen Hours (Kindle Edition)
You just cannot put this book down - Benny at his best. Deon wraps you up into a world of intrigue and leaves you exhausted by the end of it
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5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant purchase, 27 April 2014
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This review is from: Thirteen Hours (Paperback)
Great bargain, arrived at a great pace and is also in a brilliant condition. Thank you for a great deal!
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Thirteen Hours
Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer (Paperback - 12 May 2011)
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