“The 13th Hour” by Richard Doetsch … just a really great read. (A book review)

The 13th Hour

Written by

  • Doetsch, Richard

Original Publication Date

  • 2009

Main Characters

  • Nick Quinn, Julia Quinn, Ethan Dance, Marcus Bennett

Roger’s Review

Even if you are not a particular fan of time travel, which is certainly at the core of this story, or if you are a fan of thrillers, or detective stories or like a good love story, I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy reading this book, and perhaps not put it down until you find out how everything ends.

The story begins with a man, Nick Quinn, being interrogated as a suspect in the brutal murder of his beloved wife Julia.  Nick discovered his wife’s body in his home and is later arrested by police due to evidence having been placed to frame him for his wife’s murder.  Just as things seem at their worst, a man appears claiming to be his lawyer.  But he instead gives Nick a watch which he says will allow Nick to go back in time, one hour at a time for a total of 12 hours, as long as Nick keeps the watch in his possession.  Nick is told to use that time in order to find a way to prevent his wife from being murdered.

While obviously skeptical, Nick is desperate and when the top of hour arrives, sure enough, he finds himself back at his neighbor’s home just prior to his being arrested.

The book is told in what amounts to reverse order – first one hour back, then two hours back, and so on.  In fact, after the first chapter, the chapters are ordered in reverse as well.    Nick struggles to find out who murdered his wife, and why, and to try and prevent that from ever happening.  But what he discovers is that his actions in trying to change events have other consequences as well – some almost as terrible as his wife’s murder itself.

Meanwhile, all events occur with a backdrop of a terrible plane crash in his community that took out power, and which killed over 200 people, one of which could have been his wife, had she not received a phone call just before take off, causing her to deplane.

The time travel, detective and mystery elements of this story will hopefully be evident from the synopsis I just provided.  But the novel also contains a real love story between Nick and his wife Julia.  All of Nick’s actions are driven by his intense love for Julia.  Julia herself has a story to tell, unbeknownst to Nick, that is driving her actions.

This book is very well done.  I found myself caught up in the mystery and the spiraling chain of events.  When I got to the final chapters, I was fully emotionally invested in the fate of Nick and Julia.

Since I typically include the Rotten Tomatoes  ratings of movies I review, both by critics and the viewing public, I did a little research on how this book was generally perceived as well.  Reviews are definitely a mixed bag, and a lot of them are quite negative.  I found comments like “too perfect characters”, “not well enough developed”, “used too many clichés”, “not gripping”.  (Really?  Then what in the hell grips you?)

Speaking of clichés, “whatever floats your boat” and “to each his own” come to mind.  Or how about “Different strokes, for different folks”?  I’m sure you can think of a few more.

In my opinion, I believe that this may be one of the best works of fiction that I have ever read.  It was certainly one of, if not the most enthralling.  I look forward to reading other books written by Richard Doetsch, in particular his Michael St. Pierre series.

13th Hour - Book  Cover.jpg

Interview with Richard Doetsch (3:20) …

Books by Richard Doetsch …

  • The Thieves of Heaven (2002) – the 1st in the Michael St. Pierre series
  • The Thieves of Faith (2007) – the 2nd in the Michael St. Pierre series
  • The 13th Hour (2009)
  • Embassy (2009)
  • The Thieves of Darkness (2010) – the 3rd in the Michael St. Pierre series
  • Half Past Dawn (2011)
  • The Thieves of Legend (2012) – the 4th in the Michael St. Pierre series
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