Have you ever been so angry that you stormed out of the room, tied up in knots with feelings of hurt and frustration? When you had a chance to cool off, did you wish that you could take back what you had said – redo the last ten minutes? Regrets are often shared at funerals about the ‘if only’ moments: “If only I had gone along with her, if only I had agreed…"
But, what if the person you were fighting with is found murdered just a few hours later? Your fingerprints are on the murder weapon found in your car, but you didn’t do it? Nick Quinn is in jail for killing his wife. But is Julia really dead?
In an inventive method of storytelling, Richard Doetsch begins “The 13th Hour” at chapter 12 and works backwards. A mysterious man visits Quinn in jail and offers him the opportunity to find his wife’s killer and inexplicably, stop her from being murdered, to make the murder disappear as if it never occurred. The catch? Quinn only has twelve hours to solve the puzzles thrown at him. At the end of each hour, the clock will restart, taking him back to an hour earlier. Each decision he makes will change the future for everyone with whom he comes in contact. And, he will give anything, do anything, to have his wife back at his side.
The twists and turns that occur as the future/past is rewritten are surprising and make for an extremely clever plot. Nick discovers things about his wife and best friend/neighbor he did not know in the past and begins to wish hadn’t been revealed in the now. Interesting supporting characters’ lives are shifted in sometimes chilling ways and nobody is as honest as they first appear.
Doetsch also tells the story of the people affected by the reverse time travel, so that we see how each of them handles their alternate reality, but our fast-thinking hero is the only one who knows what is happening all the time. We think that we know the ending, because that’s how the book started, but that would be too easy. There are some nasty villains, a devastating plane crash that factors into the twelve hours of choices, a heart-breaking deception, unexpected intrigue, and a theft that made me wonder what could possibly happen next? What else could possibly go wrong for this likeable, desperate man? “The 13th Hour” kept me going as each new wrinkle was disclosed, right until the last page. Great read!
Doetsch’s most recent novel, “Thieves of Legend,” (the fourth in the Michael St. Pierre series) is also an action-packed thriller, with unwilling thieves as the protagonists.
For more information about Richard Doetsch’s fascinating life off the page, his bestselling books, and future projects, visit www.richarddoetsch.com