The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch

At the start of Doetsch’s tricky thriller, an innocent man, Nicholas Quinn, is in police custody, suspected of murdering his wife, Julia, at their house in upscale Byram Hills, N.Y. Then a stranger gives Nick a watchlike device that allows him to change the past by sending him back, one hour at a time, for half a day. When Nick goes back in time, he discovers single events are the result of a complex web of causes. Saving his wife means untangling a plot that includes a robbery committed by corrupt cops, a horrendous plane crash and a mysterious family secret. Julia’s fate seems to be inevitable, one way or another, and Nick’s tampering brings death to friends and allies along the way. At times Doetsch (The Thieves of Faith) oversells Nick’s anguish with breathless prose, and no character emerges as more than a cardboard cutout, but readers will enjoy the clever razzle-dazzle of a story whose parts fit together like clockwork.

∞         ∞          ∞         ∞         ∞         ∞

I wish I could remember the blog I first seen this book on.  I know I left a comment about how thrilling the book looked and I apologize for not remembering where I first picked up on this book.  When I first layed hands on my copy and opened it up to the authors note, I knew I was in for a treat:

YOU ARE NOT MISTAKEN as you turn the next page and find Chapter 12.

The chapters of this book are in reverse order and are to be read that way for reasons that will become evident upon your journey.

Pretty sweet right?  I love an unusual book and Richard Doetsch comes through in flying colors!

As the book opens we are brought into the wonderful relationship of Nick and his wife Julia.  Still madly in love after many years, even despite their morning quarrel it is clear they are very much still in love.  In a matter of pages…. their love is snubbed out by an unknown killer who takes Julia’s life and Nick is soon in custody for her murder.

As the above synopsis describes, Nick is offered a chance to go back in time to change the past and save Julia.  Who wouldn’t jump at a chance like this? What follows in a whirlwind read as Nick goes back only one hour at a time, the first leap to right before he is arrested (but still after the murder) and then with each leap back he goes to an hour previous to the one he just completed.

In a style of writing I found fascinating much to the likes of the popular shows LOST and Flash Forward, I found myself engrossed in a read that gave Nick only an hour at a time to make changes to the future that he soon discovers not only can alter the outcome of Julia’s brutal murder, but can also change how things go down affecting other lives as well – and not necessarily for the better.

With each backwards turn of the clock, Nick tries to improve what he is doing, leaving clues behind to help others help him and perfect the task at hand before he and Julia run out of time.

Towards the end of the read so many characters had been introduced I had a bit of a struggle keeping them all straight, and the flashbacks of going back and repeating mistakes he made the previous hour to change the outcome towards the end became a bit tedious….. as a reader, I became frustrated.  Yet as I thought about the book, I found the frustration brilliant as  if I was frustrated with the repeat of activities, and the tweaking of details, how must Nick feel having to do this time and again only to be snapped backward to do it again, but earlier and hopefully – better.

And what is in the box?  The box everyone is after – the secrets of a family handed down generation after generation…..  more valuable than the original paintings that line their walls or the diamonds in the safe…..

And because of this unusual style of book, I know it will be one that will stick with me for many years to come and not blend into my mind in a mix of copycat books that are all pretty much centered around the same theme, and the same outcome.

A+ for a brilliant read Mr. Doetsch.

My Amazon Rating

I received my copy from our local Library

27 thoughts on “The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch

  1. I’ve been waiting for your review on this, Sheila, ever since I knew you were reading it. I saw it on a blog a month or so ago (I forget whos blog too) and have wanted to read it since then. It looks great and really intriguing.

    Glad you enjoyed it and an A+ is certainly making me want to read it more now. Thanks for the review.

    1. Book Whisperer I hope you get the book and read it. I would love to read your thoughts on it too. It was so intense and I was impressed with how the author kept all the details straight.

  2. Sounds fascinating! Wasn’t there a movie that did something like this? Will add this to my wishlist, as you can’t beat an A+ rating! Thanks for the great review!

  3. Ooh, sounds fascinating! This kind of book is one that will keep you on your toes.

    I remember a movie once that went backwards, too…and even back and forth. I’ll think of the name of it as soon as I close out this comment! LOL

  4. I’m sold! By the way, your mother ship sucked me in today. Zach and I were there for almost 2 hours. He found a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not book and a chair and he was more then content!

    1. Angie – oh no! Sucked into the mother ship! Did they steal your brain? They always take my brain and I leave with lots of books and no idea how I got them….. at least that’s what I tell Al 🙂

  5. Sheila, thanks for sharing about this book. I had somehow missed it. It sounds very interesting. I’ll be putting it on my wish list.

    1. Woo Hoo Aths! I was hoping that wherever I seen the book that they would see my review and let me know it was their review that sent me running to the library 🙂

  6. This sounds so good. Sadly I had the chance to read this ARC but passed because I had other books to read. I will just have to get it from the library some time. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Good review!

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