Idgiepug’s #CBR4 Review #41: The 25th Hour by David Benioff
My husband recommended David Benioff’s novel City of Thieves, which he discovered in our library’s audiobook section. When I went to check out that novel, though, I also found Benioff’s The 25th Hour, a title I recognized from the movie adaptation. I hadn’t seen the movie, but I was intrigued by the blurb on the book and decided to start with The 25th Hour before moving on to the other book.
This novel tells the story Monty, a promising young man whose life took a turn and who now faces a prison sentence for drug dealing. We follow Monty’s last 24 hours before he goes away, a time he spends having dinner with his father, partying with two childhood friends, saying goodbye to his girlfriend, and finding a new home for his loyal dog. All the while, Monty broods on the life that led him to this point and contemplates his rather limited options. There are side stories here about the girlfriend and the two friends; one of them is a risk-taking yet highly successful trader and the other a frustrated English teacher with conflicted feelings about a female student who just happens to show up at the same bar where Monty’s gathered his friends for his final night. I found myself liking Monty even though he frustrated me with his wasted potential, and parts of the novel are deeply sad and frightening as Monty considers what he could have been and what lays in wait for him in prison. I don’t really like crime novels, but this is really more of a character study than a traditional crime story. Benioff paints a believable portrait of a man, good in some respects but deeply flawed as well, in a bad situation.