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Thirteen Hours Hardcover – 1 Apr 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Apr 2010
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340953594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340953594
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 23.5 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,071,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


What makes Deon Meyer's novel so outstanding is its setting - the new South Africa, where jaded white detectives are still getting use to working with black and coloured (in the country's parlance) colleagues . . . Meyer gives rare insights into the texture of everyday life in a country still troubled 20 years after the release of Nelson Mandela. (The Sunday 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... Above all though, this is a vigorous, exciting novel that combines memorable characters and plot with edge-of-the-seat suspense. (The Sunday Times)

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

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

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

Deon Meyer is the best known contemporary South African crime writer. His six books have won a number of awards, and he was the first to honestly reflect the current realities of the new South Africa in his books. (Michael Stanley in The Guardian)

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

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

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)

Book Description

The finest novel yet from the undisputed king of South African crime writing, winner of the 2011 Boeke Prize in South Africa and shortlisted for the 2010 CWA International Dagger for Best Translated Crime Fiction.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cover 3/5 Nothing special

Content - Quite liked the first 100 pages as the chase hooked me in but I gradually lost interest as it became just another thriller with mixed up police characters. I may have missed it but the reason for the girls being chased never turned up ... or did it? I did wonder whether I had found another series of books to read. I may try another but I am not in a rush.

Alexander of the Allrighters and Ywnwab!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting book with multiple stories during the same time period. Lots of twists and turns and revelations, although I was wondering when the story was going to move to the only group of people that had not been pointed at throughout.

The suspense is kept up all the way and it's inevitable that there is a happy ending. The sudden uncovering of the whole plot of the very end is a bit rushed, but the 13 hours were up!
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Format: 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.
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