STARRED REVIEW
December 01, 2020

The Wicked Hour

By Alice Blanchard

The perfect read for winter's extra-dark nights, The Wicked Hour takes readers back to Salem-inspired town of Burning Lake, New York,

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The perfect read for winter's extra-dark nights, The Wicked Hour takes readers back to the Salem-inspired town of Burning Lake, New York, where every Halloween night culminates in the burning of effigies of witches and over-the-top celebration. This Halloween, it also leads to the murder of Morgan Chambers, a talented young violinist.

It’s necessary to read the first book in the Natalie Lockhart series, Trace of Evil, to fully grasp the events of The Wicked Hour. A police detective, Natalie is still traumatized from the events of the prior novel, where she solved a heartbreaking cold case that changed her view of the Burning Lakes community. Natalie has isolated herself from her family and from her boss, a man she’s fallen in love with. She spends her time renovating her old home and throwing herself into her work.

When Morgan Chambers’ body is pulled from a dumpster, Natalie is heartbroken to see the young woman discarded like trash. As she works the case and delves deeper into the highly competitive world of professional music, she remembers a missing persons case close to her heart. Natalie’s teenage friend, Bella, was also a talented violinist who disappeared. Like Morgan, Bella was being crushed under the pressure to succeed in a world that demanded constant sacrifice and competition. Unlike Morgan, Bella was deemed a runaway, but now Natalie is questioning that explanation.

Though both Trace of Evil and The Wicked Hour are tightly paced thrillers, The Wicked Hour keeps the spooky setting of Burning Lake and its Halloween celebration as a backdrop to murder, with less of a focus on the occult than series readers may expect. Instead, The Wicked Hour is a carefully plotted procedural that invites readers to examine each clue along with Natalie. As those clues come together and the novel progresses toward its climax, readers will be rewarded with a suspenseful and memorable finale.

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The Wicked Hour

The Wicked Hour

By Alice Blanchard
Minotaur
ISBN 9781250205735

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