The Blue Hour
Tim Hess was forced to retire from the Orange County, California, police department due to lung cancer. His surgery was successful and now he is getting the follow up treatment and can live until he is seventy-five, his secret goal. He knows he can live another eight years. He is still a good cop. He is brought in to help as a consultant to partner a rising female police officer in a probable homicide investigation. The case is listed as a probable homicide because only the missing victim's purse has been recovered. No body has been found.
Merci Rayborn is the female police officer assigned to the "Purse Snatcher" homicide case. She is brusque, tough, and has few social skills. She has a hard reputation around the department. She finds in Hess a man she can admire and want to learn from. Her last partner had been annoying her so long she finally had to file a sexual harassment lawsuit on him. She also is very angry about the missing women.
Together Hess and Rayborn make a fascinating team as they delve into this dark, gruesome murder mystery. This novel digs into the mind of a serial killer who seems to sexually abuse his victims and preserves them as well. It also confronts and tells the story of a man about to end parole after his conviction of violent sexual abuse and rape. For the past three years he has been chemically castrated and now anticipates his end of parole and long awaited freedom. Before the end of the book these four characters and permanently interwoven.
Parker draws some vivid scenes in this novel. Hess observes an embalming during the investigation. I could see the precision of the craft, the way the blood vessels are pulled out of the body and replaced to preserve the body. As the murders are solved the reader is given the grisly details as to how they occurred. He humanizes Hess with the fight of the cancer, the problems with the chemotherapy and radiation treatment. As we learn more about Rayborn, we learn how she deals with a job still male-dominated. I have mixed feelings about recommending this book. It is well written. But it is about a side of life and evil that I wish no one need ever learn.
This book was read as part of a monthly discussion at The Reader's Place.
Notice: Explicit sexual content; Graphic violence
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Cold Pursuit by T. Jefferson Parker
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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