The Wicked Hour

Alice Blanchard. Minotaur, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-20573-5
When the naked corpse of a struggling violinist, 24-year-old Morgan Chambers, turns up in a dumpster in Blanchard’s disappointing sequel to 2019’s Trace of Evil, Natalie Lockhart—a detective with the Burning Lake, N.Y., police—assumes the crime is a random act of violence, until she learns that another young woman with ties to a local music conservatory recently went missing. The case also causes Natalie to revisit the disappearance of her childhood friend, violinist Bella Striver, who allegedly ran away on the night of their high school graduation. The events of the previous book loom large, affecting Natalie’s relationships as well as her mental health; regrettably, Blanchard never provides a plot recap, leaving new readers in the dark. Though the setup is clever, the mystery suffers from a dearth of viable suspects with convincing motives (the killer included), and the action-packed denouement feels preposterous and arbitrary. Fans will hope for better next time. Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/16/2020
Release date: 12/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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