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Thirteen Hours

(Benny Griessel #2)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  4,919 ratings  ·  519 reviews
An unputdownable thriller from South Africa's #1-bestselling crime writer.
Some would call Detective Benny Griessel a legend. Others would call him a drunk.
Either way, he has trodden on too many toes over the years ever to reach the top of the promotion ladder, and now he concentrates on staying sober and mentoring the new generation of crime fighters -- mixed race, Xhosa
Hardcover, 412 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published 2008)
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  4,919 ratings  ·  519 reviews

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Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Goodreads has introduced me to many great writers previously unknown to me. This is the third police procedural I have in recent weeks by prize-winning South African writer, Dan Meyer. This author of the Detective Benny Griessel series has become one of my favourite crime novelists. Not only are his novels thrilling, but there is an authentic sense of place, with strong characterization, an unflinching look at problems in the new South Africa. The books were written in Afrikaans and expertly tra ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar

Thirteen Hours Review – Redux

I attended a Deon Meyer book signing this weekend and it played a big part in my decision to expand this review. At the time of writing this, Thirteen Hours is the only Meyer book I’ve read, but that is definitely about to change.

I’m not changing my rating, but I think some perspective is in order. South Africa is a country with eleven official languages, which should give you some idea of the cultural diversity. Why is this important? Meyer takes great snapshots of
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by this South African writer. Set in Cape Town, post Apartheid, there is a lot of political and social fact in the book as well as a great fictional story. Benny, the main character is yet another alcoholic cop, but I like him. He is actually dealing with his problems (and he has many) and he is making progress with his life and maybe even with his career.
There are two main threads to this book, each following a different murder. I was slightly more interested in one than the
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is good and engaging and fun and informative. it has the mainstay-ish worn-out alcoholic cop and the mainstay-ish young female victim, but unlike in most american thrillers, the story is complicated by the interracial dynamics of post-apartheid south africa. also, the female victim (not the one they kill right at the beginning, the other one) totally kicks ass.

i didn't know many things about south africa and now i know some. they are pretty basic things, like that afrikaans is a langu
Indrani Sen
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: south-africa
A gem of a mystery. Read it after a number of "serious" reads and enjoyed very much. A very fast-paced and well-crafted mystery. Bonus was the virtual tour of CapeTown. I am going to read more of this writer.

Highly recommend to all.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: precinct-81
Excellent thriller.
The best I’ve read so for from this author. The book gives a good insight in south african society and racial problems. There are quite a few plot twists and the book is suspenseful till the end.
I hadn't actually heard of this author, who writes in Afrikaans, until I heard him being interviewed on a BBC Radio Programme some months ago. I was intrigued by what he said and by the setting of his novels in Cape Town, one of the relatively few places in the world I have personally visited.

An initial synopsis of this novel makes it sound like "crime writing by the numbers". The lead character, Inspector Benny Griessel, is a middle-aged detective with a drink problem and marital troubles, and
switterbug (Betsey)
Afrikaner Deon Meyer's latest pulse-pounding thriller hits the ground running--literally. In Cape Town, South Africa, at six in the morning, an American teenage tourist is running for her life. Her best friend's throat was slit in front of her and she is bolting from the perpetrators' clutches. The story hits its stride early and swiftly as events unfold over thirteen-hours. Vicious outlaws and the snarl of conspiracy; Afrikaner, Xhosa, and Zulu crime-fighters; and crooners and corporate fleecer ...more
A cracking crime novel set in Cape Town over a Thirteen Hour period. The book conveys the fast pace of murders committed and which are solved in the first day; the police run around, run into dead ends, new tasks are assigned, communication confusion. It also conveys the fragility of South African infrastructure, ongoing tensions between whites and blacks, tribal and language differences and shows the commitment needed to get things done. In the end it also shows if you something done give it to ...more
Yigal Zur
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fun reading. not the deapest but do we look for a deap story. not always. good to know a south african thriller writer with a speady plot
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Benny Griessel, aging alcoholic Cape Town detective, has been tasked with mentoring less experienced detectives. This puts him in the position of running two different murder cases. Swear words, fists, interracial conflicts, plot lines and bullets fly as Benny, Vusi, Dekker and Mbali follow seemingly unconnected crimes and corruption in the city. The pace of Thirteen Hours ramps up to a thundering end. I couldn’t put it down!
Leanne Hunt
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
My first Deon Meyer book, "Thirteen Hours" was a huge discovery for me. This author is well-loved among crime fiction readers but I was under the impression his stories were all action and no character exploration. I was wrong. The characters in this novel are sensitively portrayed in vivid detail, making it easy for the reader to relate to and sympathise with them.

I loved the fact that the story was set in Cape Town and used familiar locations such as streets, hospitals, police stations and nat
Razvan Banciu
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If a policier could be beautiful, Thirteen Hours would do the job. A charming narrative style, plenty of content, a main character (of course, Benny) which makes you empathize with, very credible scenes and people, including policemen (...), and, of course,some type of happy-end, all of these together are seducing the reader.
It matters less that Rachel is somehow a silly girl, as she eats, takes a bath and a long chat BEFORE calling her father, Benny's pure penknife-luck or that vagueness (for
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-give-away
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing, after the solid first book in the series. Too many ten-line scenes jumping from POV to POV, too little Benny, and I'm growing weary of the female rape/torture motif without any corresponding strong female characters to alleviate that. You know sometimes you see a horror movie and you think, the writer/director really has some problems with women? I'm thinking that with these books.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thirteen Hours is a fast paced, tension filled novel from Deon Meyer, set in S. Africa. I've read some of his other entries in the series (Benny Griessel) and have found them to be consistently good, but this one really has the feel of a tension-filled ride that keeps you involved.
The story really involves two cases treated in parallel, often shifting points of view within every page or two. The title comes from the time-frame in which both crimes are investigated and resolved. This is both a s
Lindsay Nixon
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up running through an airport a few years ago. I was sucked into the story on the plane but somehow lost my book between the flight and coming home... and couldn't remember the title or the author 🙈

for years my memory of the story would pop into my head and finally I decided to put Google to the test!!! I found it (yay!) and was able to read it now. It was the universe... this was the right time for me to read this book!

Overall: It's a great book! very fast pace and thrilling with
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this audiobook. Benny Griessel is a recovering alcoholic homicide detective in Cape Town, South Africa. Benny has been sober for 6 months, hoping to reconcile with his estranged wife. Benny has been mentoring other detectives. A record executive is found murdered in his home. His profoundly alcoholic wife is there but remembers nothing in her blackout state. A young American tourist is found with her throat cut. They learn that she has a friend who escaped but is now being hunted b ...more
When we meet up with Inspector Benny Griessel again he is six months sober. There has been some restructuring in the Cape Town police service and he has been assigned as a mentor to less experienced detectives with the hope that his guidance will increase the solve rates.

The story is set over 13 hours as Griessel oversees two cases. The first case is focused on a young American tourist who is on the run from a group of men who intend to kill her. There is political pressure from above to find h
Lit Hamerrsmith
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: interesting
I enjoyed the book. This is the second book in the series. Good stress, rhythm, corresponds well with the local problems of Africans. It is well written and competes with the genre of Scandinavian tension books with the unique characteristics of South Africa.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best that I have read in the Crime/Mystery genre. If you like the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly, you'll definitely like Benny Griessel.
Golan Schzukin
Very well written
Nice to also learn a little bit about South Africa
Kobus Engelbrecht

Very good detective story telling that kept me interested all the way through. I recommend this to anyone who likes crime stories.
Jack Heath
Synopsis: brings Cape Town to life. Benny, alcoholic and all, is a police officer involved in two separate murders. Are they related?
I got this book through First-Reads.

Thirteen Hours was a very intriguing read and forced me to really focus. The characters are well defined, great detail throughout the book, and the overall story was really good. Everything in this book takes place within a thirteen hour period. The book is a long read at 584 pages, and jam-packed.

I know literally nothing about South Africa, which is the setting of the story (Capetown), or the language. Although this book was translated from Afrikaans to Engl
Rob Kitchin
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thirteen Hours starts at a brisk pace and hurtles along to its tense conclusion. The journey, however, is not overly linear, with Meyer managing to create a layered, complex and compelling story consisting of two intersected plotlines. The contextualisation is excellent, particularly with respect to the dynamics and politics of the Afrikaans music industry and the South African police force, and the social geography of Cape Town. The characterisation is very nicely realised, especially Griesel a ...more
Paula Gruben
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This was my first Deon Meyer, & I came away with mixed feelings. Within the genre of 'crime fiction', I'd say 'Thirteen Hours' is best described as 'hard-boiled detective fiction'. What it lacks in forensic sophistication à la Patricia Cornwell, it makes up for in Dan Brown-esque suspense & pacing. As a fellow South African, I enjoyed Meyer's use of colloquialisms & local references, & had a good chuckle at his scathing sociopolitical commentary on the country via various characters' thoughts & ...more
This is a sophisticated, well-written suspense story set in Cape Town, South Africa, though it might have been in any town but for the details. For those who like this genre, the author should be well known and loved. He writes so much better than many in the genre. The story details are well-researched and the plot flows along with natural dialogue, keeping the reader guessing at every turn, and there are many. The characters seem real; I know people who could step right into some of these role ...more
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I've never read Deon Meyer before, perhaps because he writes in Afrikaans. but I'm so pleased to have discovered English translations, they've been out for a while of course. I am now slightly obsessed and have read five of his books in the last month. As a South African born author myself, I do find it hard reading about the old 'homeland' but understanding the politics and language only makes it a better read for me. The stories are gripping and the flawed heroes make the book ...more
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Another super thriller that tested my powers of self-restraint from reading in less than 13 hours, as I wanted to savor it. Life and death struggle to find a missing girl. Two murders. The chief investigator, Griessel, is a familiar face struggling with personal demons. We are introduced to some new subordinates who are trying to figure out just who this burned out white guy in charge of them is. Lots of suspense and twists in this one-the motives are a complete surprise. Should be a movie just ...more
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Deon Meyer was born in the South African town of Paarl in the winelands of the Western Cape in 1958, and grew up in Klerksdorp, in the gold mining region of Northwest Province.

After military duty and studying at the Potchefstroom University, he joined Die Volksblad, a daily newspaper in Bloemfontein as a reporter. Since then, he has worked as press liaison, advertising copywriter, creative directo

Other books in the series

Benny Griessel (6 books)
  • Devil's Peak (Benny Griessel, #1)
  • 7 dae (Bennie Griessel, #3)
  • Cobra (Benny Griessel #4)
  • Icarus (Benny Griessel, #5)
  • The Last Hunt

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