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Thirteen Hours

(Benny Griessel #2)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  5,735 ratings  ·  584 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 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,735 ratings  ·  584 reviews

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Carolyn Walsh
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
Judith E
Feb 20, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Meyer writes a smart crime thriller, alternating between two murders, a chase, and an abduction. Some characters are good, some are bad, but they are all interesting. I hope to encounter Inspector Mbali Kaleni in the next book of the series, with her big black handbag, her black bound notebook, and her lunch of Kentucky Fried Chicken. The setting in Cape Town and other parts of South Africa imparts a good feel for the social structure and racial uneasiness of the new Africa.

I’m expecting the ne
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
Mar 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boeke Prize in South Africa 2011. South African police Detective Inspector Benny Griessel has one frenetic day. It starts out in the early morning hours with the discovery of a young woman with her throat slashed in a churchyard in Cape Town. It doesn’t take long to discover that the young woman is American, causing the investigation to become ‘sensitive’ in this tourism-dependent country. Therefore, Commissioner John Africa decides to have Benny mentor Inspector Vusumuzi Ndabeni (Vusi) who is n ...more
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.
Book Concierge
Digital audiobook performed by Simon Vance

From the book jacket: Morning dawns in Cape Town, South Africa. A teenage girl’s body has been found on the street, her throat cut. She was an American. Somewhere in Cpae Town her friend, Rachel Anderson is, hopefully, still alive. Rachel is terrified, unsure of where to turn in the unknown city. Who can she trust? How long can she stay ahead of her relentless pursuers? Racing against the clock, Detective Benny Griessel desperately tries to solve the mur
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 2 of the series which has taken me a while to get around too, prompted by having watched his recent foray into TV with his other series featuring a character called Lemmer in “Trackers”.

Fast start as the title would suggest!

We have murder(s) that sees Inspector Bernie Griessel front & centre in his new role as “mentor” to an upcoming new group of detectives who are all from differing backgrounds, certainly not of the old establishment which he was a fixture in….. I will add here that the bo
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.
Yvonne (Fiction Books)
"A Gripping Page Turner, A South African Nightmare"

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 o
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
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. ...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
Jo Spain
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was completely absorbed in this terrific, heart-racing read. Highly recommended.
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
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
Donald Schopflocher
Set in one of my favourite cities and written by one of my favourite guilty pleasure authors, this thriller uses all of the author's usual devices: multiple converging story lines followed simultaneously, a third person narrator with access to the thoughts of different characters at different times, and the new South Africa with all of its old history and new challenges. Also: a breakneck pace, and lots of background on the SA music industry. ...more

Terrific South African crime series

At the moment I am only happy that I have a few books more in the series to go.
After many criminal novels from the USA, Europe and Australia I found something new and refreshing - a highly suspenseful South African thriller series with an intriguing and very clever plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat and a main character that you'll fall in love with. The best constellation.

Cultural enrichment as a super-bonus: it gives a great view of the modern
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, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars 🌟

Another effective, fast-paced procedural that weaves together Capetown storylines and the Afrikaans music scene. Happily, Bennie the detective’s character arc develops further making him a vibrant lead for the series and his multi-racial police colleagues’ POV give them their own voice throughout the book.
Meike ♡
Aug 29, 2022 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2022
Worst book of the year! sexism galore accompanied by just an extremely unremarkable plot makes for a excexcruciatingly bad time....
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
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.
Jul 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exhilarating search and chase in Cape Town, through the obstacle course of witness resistances and attempts to hide truths, politics (organizational, National, and even international - those darned Russians and Americans), ethnic relations, socio-economic class, class, bullets dodged (and not dodged - yikes!), Bennie’s relationship struggles and his hard fight to sustain his new sobriety, all with Cape Town and Table Rock as context. I’m all-in for continuing down the path with Bennie Greisse ...more
Sep 23, 2022 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It takes a lot for me to give something a one star, but here we are. I wanted to rate it at least two stars, but that doesn't really do much justice.

I have to mention this was a prescribed book for one of my classes, so unfortunately I had to read it from cover to cover. I have mixed feelings with regards to this book, and it's mostly bad so I'm going to talk about the good first.

This is written by a South African author, so I thought yay, this will be relatable. A lot of parts were, such as th
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
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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 (7 books)
  • Devil's Peak (Benny Griessel, #1)
  • 7 dae (Bennie Griessel, #3)
  • Cobra (Benny Griessel #4)
  • Icarus (Benny Griessel, #5)
  • The Last Hunt
  • The Dark Flood (Benny Griessel #7)

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