61 Hours, By Lee Child

The problems mount for Lee Childs' daring hero as he takes on a drug-dealing Mexican mid-blizzard
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The Independent Culture

It all begins during a blizzard in South Dakota when a tour bus goes off the highway after a near-collision. The road is closed in both directions, no emergency vehicles are nearby, and all the passengers are old and infirm. Except one: Jack Reacher, who had hitched a ride in exchange for a few dollars. Jack is never far from trouble. In fact, in the dozen or so years since this iconic hero first hit the bookshops, he has attracted trouble like an open jar of jam attracts wasps.

Eventually, help arrives in the shape of a cop from a small town that has got bigger since a penitentiary was built on the outskirts, and where the lawyer who unknowingly caused the bus to crash in the first place had been working for a very bad man from down in Mexico. The Mexican is planning a massive drug deal, which could go wrong only if a vulnerable witness is not wiped off the face of the earth. So, Jack is stranded by the weather and, as is his nature, gets involved with the cops, and the witness, and eventually the Mexican, who has an inside man or woman in the local police force.

This case of crime and corruption explodes into one of the best thrillers I've read for ages. Lee Child is a Brit who has managed to become more American than most US authors. He has lived in New York and the only time one of his books has not rung true was when he brought Reacher to the UK. 61 Hours is destined to do big things on both sides of the Atlantic, and it really deserves it. Superb stuff!