The 13th Hour
by Richard Doetsch
Atria, 352 pages
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Last summer, I got an ARC of The 13th Hour from Atria Books’ “galley grab,” and lost it in the house. A few weeks ago, the author, Richard Doetsch, started following my Twitter feed, and I realized I NEEDED to read his book, so I ordered a copy from Amazon.
I’m glad I did.
This mystery/thriller gripped me from the beginning, opening with Nick and Julia Quinn having the typical sort of argument that all married couples have, only for her to be brutally murdered just a few scenes later. Nick is brought to the local police station as the main subject (House would remind us that it’s always the husband), only to be shoved aside for a plane crash, and then presented with a gold watch and a letter by a mysterious stranger, and told he can go back in time, an hour at a time, for twelve hours, in order to save his wife.
What follows is a fast-paced, action-packed classic thriller, told in reverse, but with forward continuity, in a way that totally works. Even better is the fact that while the eventual ending made sense, it was not at all predictable or cliche.
In my view, mystery and thriller authors have two jobs: the first is to tell a good story, the second is to create a plausible puzzle for the characters to solve.
Mr. Doetsch did both of those, and more, in The 13th Hour.