cover image The Killing Hour

The Killing Hour

Paul Cleave. Atria, $15 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4516-7781-2

First published in 2007 outside the U.S., New Zealander Cleave’s second Christchurch crime thriller (after The Cleaner) opens on a strong note. When tormented Charlie Feldman, a Christchurch teacher, realizes he may have been directly involved in the deaths of two women, whose murders are leading the news, he seeks out his ex-wife, Jo. Charlie claims he almost hit one of the women with his car, but he stopped and rescued her and the other woman from the savage assaults of a crazy man, whom he thought he killed. Charlie safely returned the women to their respective homes, where their not-quite-dead assailant later impaled them to death. Jo, who left Charlie after witnessing him lose control, has a hard time believing his wild account, and an even harder time believing it after he abducts her to protect her from the “real killer.” Over-the-top developments mar what otherwise is a nicely ambiguous suspense novel. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory and Company. (Apr.)