Friday, March 15, 2013
Review of Thirteen Hours by Deon Meyer (Hodder, 2010)
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 and his fellow cops, and Meyer is particularly good at portraying the interplay and dynamics between characters and how these evolve over time and in context. The only slight niggle was the sense that woman being chased should have really been able to find safety in such a large and busy city, especially once she knows the US authorities are also looking for her, yet when she does find refuge she takes a bath rather than calling for help. Other than that, this is a great read - a tense, fast-moving, textured thriller - which definitely whets the appetite for spending more time in Griesel’s company.