“The 13th Hour” by Richard Doetsch (Atria Books, 2009)

The 13th Hourstarstarstar

Richard Doetsch, author of The Thieves of Heaven and The Thieves of Faith, returns with a new thriller that employs elements of the fantastic resulting in a story that will push the reader to their very limits as they wonder how the story will be resolved, and whether the protagonist, Nicholas Quinn, will come out right in the end, with the love of his life back with him.

The 13th Hour begins with a clarification by the author, and then opens with Chapter 12.  Quinn is at his home, working, then he hears gunfire and discovers the dead body of his wife.  Some time later he finds himself in police custody, the prime suspect in the murder of the love of his life.  As the good cop and bad cop leave the interrogation room for coffee, a stranger walks in, handing Quinn a old-looking pocket watch.  He is told that it is a time-traveling device and with it in his possession, he will travel back in time each hour, so long as he has the watch.  First he will travel back one hour, then two, then three, and so on.  It will be up to him to choose what he does with this valuable time and whether he will be able to solve the mystery of his wife’s death and stop the killer in time.

As Quinn wrestles with these thoughts, wondering if this stranger is just some lunatic and that he isn’t in fact holding an ordinary pocket watch, the cops return for more grueling interrogation.  As Quinn feels he is about to loose it, the hour strikes and he finds himself transported back an hour, into his neighbor’s home, while the body of his wife lies dead in his garage.  Now he knows this is real, but what is he going to do about it?

Richard Doetsch has created an enthralling mystery with a consistent pace that forces one to not want to do anything else, but sit and read and find out what happens to Quinn and what he’s going to do to fix all this.  And in the back of the reader’s mind is the big why and how of the pocket watch’s existence, which isn’t revealed until the very last pages of the book.

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Originally written on May 3 2010 ©Alex C. Telander


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