Title: 31 Hours
Author: Masha Hamilton
Release Date: September 8, 2009
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Carol has always had a special connection to her son, Jonas. Therefore, when her mother’s intuition tells her that something is wrong with her 21-year-old son, she doesn’t question it. Deep down, she knows that he’s in trouble. But she can’t begin to imagine what really is going on with Jonas, who is deeply involved in something horrible, beyond even his mother’s nightmares. Through the eyes of those close to Jonas, the reader embarks on a 31 hour journey of helplessness, grief, and utter horror.
31 Hours is a fast-paced thriller that is largely psychological in nature. Hamilton is an expert at creating suspense for the reader without manipulating them. She doesn’t resort to foreshadowing clichés in order to keep people reading. Instead, simply with her prose, she evokes a taut, tense atmosphere. Carol’s despair is palpable as she races to discover what has happened to her son. The reader can feel Jonas’ frustration with the world as he turns to the unthinkable in order to make his message heard. It’s a book that keeps the reader hooked, no question.
But there is also a softer side to 31 Hours. There is Jonas’ friend Vic’s love for her sister, and her worry over Jonas. There are also Jonas’ musings and remembrances of happy times past with his family and friends. In one sense, it is a nostalgic book; however, that only serves to heighten the suspense. It tells the reader something dire is coming, something that Carol and those looking for Jonas must prevent.
Hamilton’s writing is also beautiful, taking the reader away on this fast-paced journey. On one hand, it is lush and gorgeous, easy to read and soak in. But on the other hand, it’s also spare. Hamilton does not mince words. She gets her point across quickly with her prose.
I had some high expectations when I picked up 31 Hours – I’d heard a lot about how amazing it was. While I did enjoy it quite a bit and thought it was definitely worth reading, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I had trouble understanding why Jonas made the choices he made. Hamilton made his frustrations and resentments quite clear, but I just didn’t get why he went to the extreme.
Still, 31 Hours was incredibly well-written and a very tense, suspenseful read. I love the range of wonderful books that Unbridled Books puts out, and simply can’t wait to read more.