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The Blue Hour (Merci Rayborn #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,639 Ratings  ·  178 Reviews
At once horrifying, tense and lyrical, The Blue Hour is a beautifully written novel that probes the darkest recesses of the human psyche. He takes the women from shopping malls. They are beautiful, sophisticated, but he treats them like animals, and when he's done he leaves only his grisly signature to taunt the Orange County police - a purse full of entrails. Where are th ...more
Published 1999 by Hyperion
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Nov 25, 2013 Monnie rated it really liked it
As I've said many times before, taking advantage of a no-cost download by an unknown-to-me author is always a bit of a crapshoot; yes, it's hard to beat free, but if it turns out to be a clinker, it's a waste of my precious time. On the other hand, when it's a keeper, there's joy in Mudville (make that Mineral Ridge).

This isn't the first of Parker's many books; he's a rather prolific author who has won the Edgar Award for Best Novel more than once. Nor is it the first featuring Orange County, C
Mike French
Aug 05, 2015 Mike French rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First book in Merci Rayborn series. Very enjoyable and entertaining read. If you are not familiar with T.Jefferson Parker,do yourself a favor and start reading one of the best crime writers in the USA!
Una Tiers
Sep 02, 2016 Una Tiers rated it really liked it
A sleepy investigation that takes the long route to solution. The plot had twists and the writing was clean. There is a faint memory of hearing the story before. There were several exceptional views on the relationships between men and women. Overall, the book left me feeling empty.
Nov 13, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By mistake I read this book out of order in the Merci Rayborn series. It isn't absolutely necessary to read them in order, but it does help because the later books refer to things that happened in the earlier ones. So, if you haven't read any of them yet, read them in this order: The Blue Hour first, Red Light second, and Black Water last.

Parker has a way of describing things that really grabs me. His descriptions ring true and seem to bring out things that I knew in a way but hadn't really noti
Jul 31, 2012 Heidi rated it it was ok
After reading Black Water: A Merci Rayborn Novel and really enjoying it, I thought I’d catch up on previous Merci Rayborn novels to get a bit of background information about her character. “The Blue Hour” introduces Merci Rayborn as the tough young cop partnered with the older, wiser and also terminally ill homicide detective Tim Hess, as the two try to catch a serial killer loose in Orange County.

Disappointingly, this story did not work for me in many ways. There is always a fine balance in get
Jun 20, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
T. Jefferson Parker has been writing for some time, both a number of very loosely connected one-off novels, as well as two series. "The Blue Hour" is the initial novel featuring recurring character Merci Rayborn, a hard-charging, highly ambitious young L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy with the self-proclaimed goal of being head of homicide by 40 and Sheriff before sixty.

Unfortunately for Merci, the combination of her overtly Type A personality and the sexual harrassment lawsuit she has filed against
Jul 28, 2012 Quillracer rated it it was ok
This was my first T. Jefferson Parker book and, having read glowing reviews of his work, expected great things. I was disappointed.

The writing was good and he told the story well, but I never really got into the book. A great book draws me into the main characters, makes me feel as if I am a part of them. Parker didn’t deliver that connection for me. I felt as if I was standing alongside them I never felt as if I was actually in their heads thinking their thoughts and feeling their feelings, mo
Tim Warner
Feb 05, 2012 Tim Warner rated it it was amazing
Fabulous. This - The Blue Hour - is yet another reason I rank T Jefferson Parker at the top. Why is he at the top?I love the way he portrays His characters; their depth, and the empathy and even compassion Parker elicits from me as I see into, as in this book, the souls of the two homicide cops as they piece together an impossible puzzle.And I admire and am hooked by the sheer brilliance of his plotting. And then, I appreciate what I always consider the extra effort he takes to get my heart beat ...more
Sep 05, 2009 Paula added it
Shelves: crime
No star rating because I confess I am abandoning this basically fine book. Parker's a writer to admire. But The Blue Hour is too grim for me right now, or too grim for the pace at which I've been reading it. Hess is sad. Merci is obnoxious and ultimately pathetic. The villains are sick, sick, sick. I hope it all works out for them. Let me know if you see the book through.
Aaron Lawson
May 05, 2016 Aaron Lawson rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 31, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A psychopath is abducting women and leaving their blood behind, but no bodies. Orange County sheriff's deputy Merci Rayborn is on the case. But Merci has filed a sexual harassment suit against her partner, and the sheriff wants someone to partner with her who can keep an "eye" on her. Therefore, he recruits Tim Hess to come in from retirement. Tim can't say no because he is being treated for cancer and desperately needs the medical benefits the work will provide.

Tim and Merci take off in search
Apr 24, 2011 Laini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this book off my shelf not expecting to enjoy it much. Thought that it would be the usual serial killer crime thriller which I find myself reading lately and feeling very disheartened by the time I reach the end.

Tim Hess is a retired police officer recently diagnosed with lung cancer. He is brought back to the force as a consultant to try to solve the case of a serial killer known as “The Purse Snatcher”. The killer has kidnapped several young women from shopping mall car parks, and the
Jordan McPeek
Retired detective with cancer is lured back by medical benefits to help out a headstrong female detective on a serial killer case. I'm tired of serial killers but my public library doesn't have too many free audiobooks that interest me. I've heard good things about Parker and figured I'd give him a try. Interesting enough at first, then it started lagging for me, certainly by the halfway point. By the three quarter point I was wishing it was over. The last hour picked up but not enough to save i ...more
Jul 24, 2013 Valerie rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in the Merci Raybourn series; I read the second one a couple of months ago. It was really well written, but I enjoyed this one even more. There is a very sick, sick killer of women in this book, and the way Parker wrote the book, it kept me guessing was it this guy or that guy, etc.? Merci's partner, Tim Hess, is a 67 year old veteran of the force and is suffering from lung cancer and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation after part of one lung was removed, but regardless ...more
S.W. Hubbard
May 24, 2013 S.W. Hubbard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this on a long transatlantic flight and it really held my attention. I've read and enjoyed Parker before, but had never read any in the Merci Rayborn series. So when this was offered free on Kindle a while back, I snapped it up. I got worried when I started reading and realized it's about a serial killer who does grotesque things to his female victims, which is normally a topic I avoid. Although the "ick" factor is high here, Parker does an excellent job with the character development. Th ...more
Deb Mj
Jul 16, 2013 Deb Mj rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. It's the first in a series featuring Detective Merci Rayborn. Merci is a bit difficult to like, which probably affected my rating a bit. The villain in this ranks high up there on the creepiness factor. This is disturbing material, and the characters are spare, yet there is a beauty and lushness in Parker's writing that was intoxicating to me.

This is the second Parker offering I have read; the first was Silent Joe, a stand-alone offering. I am really impressed with his wr
Sean O
Apr 27, 2015 Sean O rated it liked it
I enjoyed the novel, but the least interesting character is the protagonist. Misty is a late 90s female cop stereotype. And not a very good cop.

Tim Hess is a much better protagonist, but since in the first couple chapters he's getting chemo and radiation for lung cancer, don't expect him to be around for long.

The bad guys are all well written too.

So basically this book is about a shallow annoying cop and all the much more interesting people around her.

Good story though. If Misty was a more in
Otto Penzler
Aug 27, 2012 Otto Penzler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Edgar-winning thriller writer Parker delivers another of the fast-paced police procedurals for which he has received so many accolades. In Orange County, California, semi-retired cop Tim Hess teams works with a young detective to track a psychopathic serial killer. Although Hess is much older than his energetic partner, Rayborn, the two make a charming duo. The Blue Hour is an outstanding thriller with first-rate character development, ingenious plot twists, and an original but completely cr ...more
Jul 31, 2009 Shannon rated it really liked it
Sometimes I enjoy these kind of sordid, in the creepy mind of a serial killer, kind of books. If you read it, just stop before the final chapter - which felt like an add-on to make the book more woman-friendly. It just made the book stupid. But other than the final chapter, it kept the reader guessing who the bad guy was & whether or not he would get caught.
Apr 27, 2015 megan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, ebook
Stumbled over this because there was a color in the title (a group challenge) and it was included in Kindle Unlimited. Blown away! I reserve five stars for stories that will stick with me, popping into my mind weeks later.
Linda Strong
Apr 22, 2015 Linda Strong rated it it was amazing
Not going to do a proper review, but I will say this was a terrific 2-book series. I read both books over a year ago.

I still have the Blue Hour and Red Light on my keeper shelves.
Wanda Lollar
Feb 12, 2016 Wanda Lollar rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2012 Nelta rated it really liked it
First book I have read by this author and was not disappointed.....excellent writing and the characters drew you into their story....I will read more of the Merci Rayburn ....
Dec 15, 2014 Johnny rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
To quote the 20th century wise man, Yogi Berra, “It was like déjà vu all over again.” Yes, anyone who follows my reviews will immediately recognize that I did it again. I read a later book in a series before I read the initial book. So, there were many things in The Blue Hour which were going to happen that I already knew from Black Water. I knew at least one person who had died (and for whom the protagonist felt significant guilty) and, at least, one personal secret about Merci Rayborn that mig ...more
Apr 02, 2014 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: completed
The Blue Hour is a terrific book-- a quality police procedural with a stunning and gruesome villain-- all wrapped up into a nice tidy bundle for the reader's enjoyment.

The bad guy-- dubbed the purse snatcher-- is a truly appalling villain-- one whose gruesome acts nearly rival those of Thomas Harris' "Hannibal" He is smart, he is violent, he is clever-- and he is INTERESTING!

The female heroine is not so exciting.. as a homicide detective, she works hard at being harsh and pushy, with a goal to b
Jul 14, 2015 Jill rated it really liked it
An ending I didn't see coming, and a well put together climax set of scenes that actually make sense. These are critical ingredients in a good mystery-thriller-crime book. And I often rate and review lower if the endings are flummoxing rather than satisfying.

Which is why this one gets a high 4-star from me. The ending was excellent. You believed it. And it had a major hairpin twist in it, that you kinda saw coming (in your peripheral vision - there were a few little sign posts) but not enough fo
Carrie Naughton
Jul 29, 2014 Carrie Naughton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, thrillah
Riveting. This could have been any old serial killer novel - and I almost stopped reading it because the portrayals of creepy murderers are so hideous - but there’s a beauty here that counterbalances the horror and makes The Blue Hour into an exceptional book. Parker’s prose is spare and clean when it needs to be, like good noir. Then he wallops you upside the head with the personalities of his characters, his descriptions of pain and heroism - Detective Hess’ cancer battle and his chemo treatme ...more
Jun 15, 2011 Manugw rated it really liked it
Based on his proven track record, semi-retired senior officer Tim Hess is required back on duty by the Orange County Police Department Chief Brighton to catch a murderer called "the purse snatcher" and also to help the Chief to solve some internal police department affairs. As Tim Hess is suffering from cancer disorders, he needs the benefits of this job to pay his chemoterapy so he decides to hop in, in addition the police department also assigns him as partner, a
Jul 02, 2010 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tremendous plot, characters we care about, new series!

We know Parker has six previous titles, but this first of the (now) three Merci Rayborn stories was our first Parker as well. And what a pleasant surprise awaited: wonderful characters we came to care a good deal about; a plot that twisted and turned through nearly a dozen murders before it was all over, and some definitely interesting byplay between the two leads. One, a 67-year-old semi-retired detective Tim Hess, fighting cancer and going
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T. Jefferson Parker is the bestselling author of 20 crime novels, including Edgar Award-winners Silent Joe and California Girl. Parker's next work is a literary novel, Full Measure, to be published in October. He lives with his family in Southern California
More about T. Jefferson Parker...

Other Books in the Series

Merci Rayborn (3 books)
  • Red Light (Merci Rayborn #2)
  • Black Water (Merci Rayborn #3)

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