I finished reading The Black Hour last weekend, yet it still clings to me. I could philosophize about the violence that has gripped our country (because Lori did a brilliant job capturing this sentiment), or the fascinating mystery set to the backdrop of an environment I still hold near and dear–the college campus, or even the many questions that arise in the narrative about what it means to lose something many of us take for granted–our health, our bodies, our livelihood.
But I can’t. I need to talk about craft. This is my favorite aspect of this novel. Lori’s craft stuns. It’s…
RAW: The white hot pain and oblivion of losing one’s faith in humanity, in a life worth living is so palpable, at times I ached for Amelia (the protagonist) as if she were a friend. I felt uncomfortable in theses emotions and somehow helpless, as if the story were REAL, all because Lori’s descriptions were unique and acute without being flowery.
COMPELLING: The kind of pain Amelia experienced intrigued me, as well as her relationship with Nathaniel. The irony of a violent crime’s professor being injured in a violent crime was also not lost on me. Spectacular. I HAD TO KNOW HOW THIS WOULD END. Do I need to say anything else about this?
URGENT: Each time I sat down to read for thirty minutes before bed, I found myself pulled through the narrative and racing to turn the page. EVERY SINGLE TIME. I sped through this novel in a few days!
But also Lori’s craft possesses…
DARK HUMOR: I’m a sucker for humor and she sprinkles it throughout the narrative when you aren’t looking and you suddenly find yourself smirking at a damned clever comment. This is incredibly difficult to do well and Lori does it with ease and panache.
VOICE: There’s nothing I love more than a strong voice. Nothing. In fact, I’m a stickler for it in my own writing, but will literally close a book if I don’t get a strong sense of voice immediately. Lori’s characters had such vivid voices, they practically walked off the page.
So it isn’t just that The Black Hour is chock full of current, poignant questions, or a fascinating mystery, but the craft is bloody brilliant. I can’t wait to see what Lori cooks up next.
What is one of your favorite aspects when reading a new novel?