Lucinda's Reviews > Thirteen Hours

Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer
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's review
Sep 03, 2011

really liked it

Thirteen Hours (Atlantic Monthly Press 2010, Afrikaans 2008) finds Benny Griessel, a detective inspector in Capetown, South Africa, assigned as “mentor” to five young police officers as he fights his alcoholism. Now 156 days sober, Benny is looking forward to the end of his six-month exile from his wife, though also coming to treasure his new independent life. Benny wakes on the 157th day to a call informing him that an American teenaged girl has been found with her throat slashed, a PR nightmare for the developing tourist industry. The police soon learn that Rachel Anderson, the dead girl’s friend, is running for her life from a mixed race gang of young men. While advising Vusi Ndabeni, the young black policeman in charge of the case of the dead girl, Benny is called away to the scene of another murder. A music executive has been shot dead, and his alcoholic wife has been found in a drunken stupor next to the body. Fransman Dekker, the young coloured detective in charge, resents Benny’s presence, and only reluctantly allows him to interview the wife. When Rachel manages to call her father in Indiana, telling him she can’t trust the police, Benny is called back to the first case. The pressure to find the missing girl intensifies, and Mbali Kakeni, a young female Zulu officer who is also assigned to Benny, is called in to assist. The complex relationships between the Benny, who is white, and the other police officers range from antagonism to excessive politeness, often impeding the investigation. Despite Benny’s personal problems and the intense pressure to solve both cases quickly, a faint sense of optimism drifts through this non-stop thriller. This 2nd in the series is a finalist for the Barry, International Dagger, and Macavity Awards.
Deon Meyer page at SYKM

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