Title: The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard
Natalie Lockhart Series Book Two
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From the award-winning author of Trace of Evil, a detective dealing with the scars of her past must solve a seemingly unconnected string of murders, and face the impossible question of what to do when the killer may be hiding amongst the ones you know, in Alice Blanchard’s The Wicked Hour.
“Readers will welcome a return to Burning Lake with Natalie at the helm.”—Associated Press
“Lockhart is a relatable new heroine on the police-procedural scene, and one who will appeal to readers of Tana French.”—Booklist
The day after Burning Lake’s notorious, debauched Halloween celebration, Detective Natalie Lockhart uncovers a heartbreaking scene—a young woman, dead and lying in a dumpster. There’s no clue to who she is, save for a mystifying tattoo on her arm, and a callus underneath her chin. She’s not from around here. No one knows who she is.
As Natalie retraces the young woman’s steps leading up to her death, she uncovers a deeper, darker horror—a string of murders and disappearances, seemingly unconnected, that may have ties to each other—and explain the abrupt disappearance of her best friend years ago.
As she digs deeper within the mind of the hunter, Natalie finds a darkness she could never have imagined. And as she draws closer to the truth, the killer is weaving a trap for her that may prove inescapable.
The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard is an intriguing mystery. The second installment in the Natalie Lockhart series, I highly encourage reading book one, Trace of Evil¸ for important backstory.
Like the rest of Burning Lake’s residents, Detective Natalie Lockhart is relieved their yearly Halloween celebration has come to a close. Needing to keep busy, she volunteers for early morning clean up duty in the downtown area. Following the discovery of the remains of a naked young woman, Natalie is working hard to identify the victim. Realizing a vital clue from the outset, Natalie soon learns that another missing person might be linked to her victim. With the assistance of her friend and boss Lt. Luke Pittman, Natalie follows the scant leads she uncovers in hopes of catching the killer.
Natalie is struggling in the aftermath of a previous case that thrust her in the limelight and left her reeling after a shocking discovery. Keeping occupied is the only thing that helps keep her from dwelling on her memories. Natalie is also a little off center at work since her relationship with Luke and another co-worker are somewhat strained. She hopes to recapture their once easy camaraderie but she is making little progress.
Natalie’s current case reminds her of the circumstances of her best friend Bella Striver’s disappearance twelve years ago. Pushing aside her concerns about Bella, Natalie follows the little information she has on the victim. She begins by retracing the woman’s steps on the night she died. She soon learns very unnerving details that bring her face to face with someone else from her past and another person with whom she implicitly trusts. Uneasy about the direction her investigation is going, Natalie nonetheless explores all leads regardless of her personal feelings.
The Wicked Hour is an engrossing police procedural that is interesting yet a little slow paced. Natalie is quite introspective as she tries to move forward and heal the rifts in her personal and professional lives. With a very unexpected plot twist, Alice Blanchard brings this engaging mystery to a surprising conclusion. A great addition to the Natalie Lockhart series that will leave readers eager the next book in the series.