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The Blue Hour

Review

The Blue Hour



Old cop mentors new cop while both chase the serial killer: Who was
it who said there are only about six basic plots available for all
storytelling?  

  

At any rate, that's the basic format for T. Jefferson Parker's THE
BLUE HOUR --- a book in which he proves beyond doubt his increasing
skill at thriller writing. This is his best book yet, far superior
to WHERE SERPENTS LIE, although SERPENTS is the kind of book that
usually seems to cause a bigger splash these days. It is the
characters in BLUE HOUR who make the book so compelling.

  

The old cop is Timothy Hess; he has cancer and is undergoing both
chemotherapy and radiation treatments while he chases the bad guy,
and he's determined no one will see what this is doing to him
inside --- physically, mentally and emotionally. The new cop is a
woman on her way up in the department: Merci Rayborn. She's both
tough and uncertain at the same time, very much in need of Tim's
wisdom but reluctant to ask or to show her need.

  

Both these characters are complex, believable and extremely
appealing. From the outset, the reader becomes emotionally involved
with these two and cares almost desperately whether they succeed or
fail. This was an element missing in SERPENTS, where all the
characters were so flawed that it was hard for a reader to get and
stay close to them.  

  

The villain of BLUE HOUR, another serial killer, is a rapist who
served out his time in prison and took chemical castration as a
means of qualifying for early release. He has been a "good boy" and
has kept to the terms of his parole; the effect of the chemical
castration on his mind and body is a fate that seems punishment
enough in itself. Well, maybe. But does it really work? More
important to this book, does it work on him? Hah. This is one very
complicated bad guy indeed.

  

Some of Parker's very best writing comes when Timothy Hess, an old
surfer, takes his cancer-ridden body down to the sea: "It always
impressed Hess about the Wedge, how close you were to the beach
while twelve-foot waves picked you up and charged toward shore with
you. Up on top of one was a scary place to be until the speed
replaced the fright. Then you had the barrel covering you and the
touchy problem of getting out before it snapped your neck on the
bottom. But you couldn't try to bail out too soon, either, because
then you faced a long drop before the power of the wave was
dissipated and that's how you got tangled up in the heart of the
fury and held under for longer than you could stand. Hess didn't
know exactly how many necks, backs and shoulders the Wedge had
broken, but he knew it was a lot." Getting to know Timothy Hess is
reason enough in itself to read THE BLUE HOUR --- the thrills and
chills, and Merci Rayborn, are a bonus. Don't pass this book
by.












Reviewed by on January 21, 2011

The Blue Hour
by T. Jefferson Parker

  • Publication Date: May 5, 1999
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 0786862882
  • ISBN-13: 9780786862887