I love the posts about Lori’s THE BLACK HOUR this week. Natalia, Susan, and Heather have said everything I was thinking about this wonderful novel. In fact, I was hard pressed to come up with a unique topic. My issue — which is a non-issue — is that I read The Black Hour straight through, my critical brain on hiatus because I enjoyed the story that much. As a result, I was left with an overall good feeling and a bunch of awe. I closed the book feeling replete.
We’ve mentioned the campus environment, the characterization, the first person point of views, the wit. I’d like to talk about the story — the mystery. Because, my friends, this is a damned good mystery too. More than that, as award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan said, it’s a “whydunnit.”
The central plot question is: Why did a student professor Dr. Amelia Emmet didn’t know shoot her? Was the violence truly random or was there some connection — however tenuous — between Amelia and the troubled youth?
There’s also the other point of view character, Nathaniel, who for reasons of his own also wants to discover the truth about the shooting incident and cozies up to Amelia with his own agenda in mind.
As if these two amazing characters weren’t enough, Lori also introduces us to a fascinating cast that includes a cultish leader of a campus suicide watch group and an enigmatic rich kid. All of Lori’s characters are fleshed out, and all of them add to the mystery, the big “why” at the center of the story. None of them are exactly what they seem.
The characters and their various stories converge at the end with some fabulous surprises that I didn’t see coming. I love it when novels the end well, don’t you? By “well” I mean that Lori kept every promise she made to the reader.
Also, before I forget, I’d like to add that I loved Amelia. In the wrong hands, she could have come across as whiny or self-pitying — just downright annoying — because she is a bonafide victim, after all. Thankfully, what we’ve got instead is a protagonist who gets drunk in the student pub and imagines poking her ex’s new wife in the stomach with her cane. She’s got a sly sense of humor, even at one point quipping that she’d rather shoot herself than join a book club with a bunch of women.
If Amelia were real, I’d probably be friends with her.
Congratulations to Lori on a phenomenal book launch!
So what does a book well-ended mean for you?
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