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 and Zulu. But when an American backpacker disappears in Cape Town, panicked politicians know who to call: Benny has just thirteen hours to save the girl, save his career, and crack open a conspiracy, which threatens the whole country.
Deon Meyer's engrossing South African thriller pits Detective Benny Griessel against a mystery that unravels like the threads of a complex tapestry... Because the novel is set in contemporary South Africa, race relations and the legacy of apartheid are an inevitable topic, and Meyer works his social commentary into the story while remaining true to his characters... Thirteen Hours draws to a satisfying conclusion, with answers that prove surprising. You'll be glad that you invested your thirteen (or so) hours with this book. (Reviewed by Cindy Anderson).
Globe and Mail
There have been other South African crime novelists, but none are as deft at place as Deon Meyer. Thirteen Hours is Cape Town today, with all its exquisite beauty, tribal conflicts, loyalties and corruptions. …Meyer weaves all this into a tightly plotted story – with a twist that works beautifully – and unforgettable characters.
While the windup doesn't match the pulse-pounding opening scenes, this crime novel does further enhance Meyer's reputation as a deft storyteller.
Starred Review. A vividly drawn locale where political considerations affect everything, cliff-hanging suspense, and shocking plot twists, Meyer again has produced a winner. Highly recommended.
Starred Review. Meyer... steeps his novel in the day-to-day life of a country still reeling in the wake of radical transition.
Financial Times (UK)
A smashing story. Imposing a strict time limit and a tight location on his plot, [Meyer] 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.
The Sunday Times (UK)
Twenty years after the release of Nelson Mandela, South Africa remains a troubled place, and Meyer's novels give rare insights into the texture of everyday life. Above all, though, [Thirteen Hours] is a vigorous, exciting novel that combines memorable characters and plot with edge-of-the-seat suspense.
The staccato story slips back and forth between the various strands at a breathless clip, doling out nuggets of plot in just the right amounts to have us salivating to know more.
Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
[Meyer's] novels are so engaging that you can easily get paper cuts from turning pages too fast. ...Thirteen Hours is a ripping good read guaranteed to keep you up until the last word.
The South African Star (South Africa)
In Meyer we have more than a writer who entertains, and also more than a novelist who educates us about… 'little cultural differences': his greatest attribute is that he sets us thinking about ourselves and our country and our future. Painlessly.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Nancie Compelling Discovered Deon Meyer quite by accident; picked up Thirteen Hours in large print at my local library. It was a can't put 'em down story which brought back memories of places I visited when in Cape Town, South Africa in 2008. I emailed my South... Read More
Apartheid ("separateness", pronounced "apar-tate" in Afrikaans, although many English speakers say "apar-tide") was a government-enforced system of racial segregation instituted in South Africa (map) in 1948. Control of the government at that time was held by White Afrikaners, descendants of Dutch colonists who started to arrive in 1652, as well as descendants of British immigrants from the early 19th century onwards.* Under Apartheid, citizens were classified into three race categories: White, Coloured (people of mixed race), and Black (or Bantu). An additional category of Asian (which included Indians and Pakistanis) was later added.
Although racial segregation was not new in South Africa, between 1948 and 1994 laws were continually passed to take more and more rights away from non-whites (about 90% of the population), and ensure that they received inferior services and education. For example, in...
A stunning and darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper -- a man caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make life very dangerous indeed.
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