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The Secret Hour

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3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  2,017 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
One of America’s most mesmerizing storytellers, Luanne Rice enthralls readers with her moving tales of ordinary people in crisis--and how they are transformed by the enduring power of love and family. Now the author of Safe Harbor, True Blue, and other New York Times bestsellers presents the gripping story of a man fighting for his family, a woman searching for her sister- ...more
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Published February 4th 2003 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Helen
For what I thought would be a light read it was pretty heavy.

A serial killer caught and in prison. A bleeding-heart lawyer who wants his death sentence commuted to life because of mental illness. A cheating wife. A bestfriend's betrayal. A husband's betrayal. A sister's betrayal. A tragic accident. A disappearance. A copycat killer.

It's all here. It's very suspenseful and I found nothing 'light' about it. It was disturbing. So if your in the mood for a good mystery/suspense this would be the on
...more
Kelly Moran
Apr 03, 2009 Kelly Moran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
pleasure read, not for official review.
I think what I like most about Luanne's books, are you never really know what to expect, except that they're good. She had a deft way of taking common emotions and expanding them into 300 plus pages, and yet you're never bored. This was one of her better ones.
Sofia
May 24, 2011 Sofia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary
Nov 26, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary mysteries
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
Beneath his calm and controlled demeanor, attorney John O'Rourke is a man whose life is in turmoil. Since his wife's death, he has been juggling the rigors of a controversial capital murder case and the demands of raising two children. Eleven-year-old Maggie's crooked bangs and rumpled clothes eloquently reproach John's earnest but haphazard attempts at mothering. Teddy, John's stalwart fourteen-year-old, has quietly assumed responsibilities that are far too weighty for his young shoulders, as h ...more
Chris
Apr 05, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: luanne-rice
Beneath his calm and controlled demeanor, attorney John O'Rourke is a man whose life is in turmoil. Since his wife's death, he has been juggling the rigors of a controversial capital murder case and the demands of raising two children. Eleven-year-old Maggie's crooked bangs and rumpled clothes eloquently reproach John's earnest but haphazard attempts at mothering. Teddy, John's stalwart fourteen-year-old, has quietly assumed responsibilities that are far too weighty for his young shoulders, as h ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
4 STARS

"Beneath his careful and controlled demeanor, attorney John O’Rourke is a man whose life is in turmoil. Since the death of his wife, he has been juggling the rigors of a controversial capital murder case and the demands of raising two children. Eleven-year-old Maggie’s crooked bangs and rumpled clothes eloquently reproach John’s earnest but haphazard attempts at mothering. Teddy, John’s stalwart fourteen-year-old, has quietly assumed responsibilities far too weighty for his young shoulder
...more
Maria Miaoulis
OK, so of all the Luanne Rice books I've read, this is definitely one of my least favorites. The premise itself is intriguing: John O'Rourke is a defense lawyer trying to get his client - a murderer and sexual predator - off death row and sentenced to life in prison instead. John faces much opposition from the small town of people who knew and loved the girls that were viciously killed. On top of that, he is also a single dad struggling to raise his two children in the wake of his wife's death a ...more
Swanbender2001
Aug 24, 2009 Swanbender2001 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something to be said for those stories with their endings wrapped up neatly into little bows. I find them satisfying and comfortable and this is one comfortable story with an ending I finished with a satisfied ‘hmm’. Kate has lost her little sister Willa who she has raised since the death of their parents. She believes she might be the victim of a serial killer on the Eastern coast and travels there to meet the serial killer’s defense attorney. John is a widow with two young children fi ...more
Ruthie
Oct 05, 2011 Ruthie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: luanne-rice
the first book in my luanne rice collection.. this book really opened my eyes to the beauty of ms. rice's words.. i bought my copy at a booksale for some light reading and it turned into something more.. as page-turner as any classic books i've read.. the mixture of genres in one book is unbelievably smooth and gradual.. by the cover, i thought it was a romance book, but i was wrong.. i love mystery books, and this is one mysterious book.. i can so relate with Teddy (although i'm a girl) because ...more
Ellen Moore
Aug 01, 2014 Ellen Moore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book with several surprises revealed and a romance which developed along with an interesting legal thriller. The characters had depth and mostly were appealing. This story of an attorney's difficult case involving a brutal serial killer on death row which was creating problems for him and his family in the community where they lived was very interesting. The family members were also struggling as they coped with the recent death of the mother. I thought the book was well done, an ...more
Susan
Feb 05, 2009 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by: Mom
Someone else might really like this one, but it definitely wasn't my style.

The first half felt like a lightly-written "Law and Order" episode (though I don't actually watch the show, so I suppose more rightly I should say it felt like I think a "L & O" episode would be like). The second half was more of a thriller with some side romance, including moments of "is the 11 year old going to be attacked/killed/damaged for life." I won't say what happens, in case you do like thrillers. But I've n
...more
kim
Feb 25, 2010 kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Romance AND suspense!!!

I have found a new author for my list of 'favorites'! This book has it all...romance, suspense, grief...
The main chararcters are a grieving sister, and the defender of the man she believes killed her baby sister. They meet when she tries to get answers from him. Their is immediately an attraction and a distancing for professional reasons. We learn that each has grief in their past relationships and some things in common. Throw in two loveable kids who are grieving their m
...more
Farshana
Oct 17, 2015 Farshana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: open-lib
This book had it all, romance, mystery, betrayal, a serial killer and sibling love.But even with all that it didnt feel cluttered. The storytelling was smooth and at most places heart tugging. It's sad how children often end up paying for decisions taken by the parents. And if i must say so, Luanne Rice has done a wonderful job in writing about lawyers who have to represent the scum of the earth. Also loved how the author opens a whole plethora of emotions for a reader by suggesting that serial ...more
Diana
Apr 04, 2011 Diana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reminded that you should not judge a book by its title or cover. I assumed that it was a romance book (someone had given it to me) A friend says assumption is the mother of all foul ups and he is right. The book is a mystery. It is the story of a woman who has a sister who has been missing for 6 months. There has been a serial killer in the area where her sister disappeared. The story involves the attorney who is defending the serial killer and don't we all just love to hate defense attorn ...more
Jean Gallant
I read this book as part of a readers advisory (legal thrillers) group. When searching for a legal thriller title I came across The Secret Hour by Luanne Rice. This author generally known for writing about ordinary people in crisis I was curious as to how she would cross over genres and write a legal thriller. The author did not disappoint. Keep with her usual writing style that her fans have come to know and love the author manages to cross over and write a faced paced thriller about a lawyer f ...more
Irene
Jan 28, 2016 Irene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John O'Rourke an attorney, is the father to eleven-year-old Maggie and fourteen-year-old Teddy. His life is in turmoil from juggling a capitol murder case and trying to raise two children since the death of his wife. A brick is thrown through the window one autumn day signals a new level of hatred.
Kate Harris appears on the scene looking for her sister who fled from their home six months ago after a confrontation. Willa Harris vanished after mailing a single postcard from the New England shore w
...more
Kathy G.
Aug 09, 2016 Kathy G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This was a real page turner. I had never read a Luanne Rice book before, and I really enjoyed this book. It had twists and turns and surprises and a love story. Great stuff.

John O'Rourke is a defense attorney, defending this mass murderer who has abused and killed women. Kate Harris comes into his life because her sister has been missing for six months and she thinks his client might have been responsible for her disappearance. They find that there are similar sad experiences in their lives that
...more
Kellie
This was kind of trashy. A lawyer and his 2 children who are dealing with the loss of his wife and their mother are defending a convicted killer. A woman shows up at their doorstep after a rock is thrown thru their window. And here it begins. The lawyer is a weak man who of course falls in love with this woman. She is looking for her sister who disappeared and needs his help. There are some parts of the story that are unbelievable to me. If you took the romance out of this one, it might have bee ...more
Sonja
Sep 09, 2016 Sonja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this one last night... Not my usual read, but I got caught up in the children's part of the story... Maggie and her older brother Teddy and how they were reacting to the changes in their world...

I don't usually read murder mysteries.. but this one did catch me right off with the first chapter. A brick through the window does tend to catch your attention... and a twisty ending tops it off nicely! I enjoyed this book and will look for more by Luanne Rice.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/j
...more
Terri Tinkel
This was an excellent mystery. Set in a small town atmosphere, an criminal attorney tries desperately to defend his clients and also be a full-time father to his two children after the death of their mother. At the same time, a young woman finds herself in the town because she is looking for her missing sister. As their paths cross; there are some misunderstandings but there is also a connection. As they try to figure out what is behind the mysterious deaths of so many young women, they are pull ...more
R*beth*h Hart
Sep 27, 2010 R*beth*h Hart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got a great deal on a couple books from this author so I decided to check them out. They make me miss New England a bit though! I really enjoy that I can follow along when they are traveling along the coast line HWY 95, Route 1, & the 156 spent many days traveling those roads myself. This was my favorite so far of her stories, to be so close to the answers for so long and walk right past is sadly how things go so often. As in a good book though the miraculous happy ending brings a smile to y ...more
Nancy
I have had this audio book for a long time. It's one I bought at the Rockford Public Library book sale. It's only four cassettes long. John is an attorney, whose client is a serial killer of young women. The people in his community don't like John representing this killer, and someone throws a brick threw his front window. John is a widower, raising a son and daughter. A young woman comes to his door. She is looking for her missing sister. Her only clue is a post card sent from this town.
daysgoby
May 29, 2008 daysgoby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't enjoy this book as much as I'd hoped I would. While I've liked other novels of hers, this was the first with a murder/mystery/ongoing trauma running through it - and I didn't think it suited her writing at all. While she's very good at displaying characters who've had trauma in their lives and getting us under their skin, this coupling with what felt like a minor plot line of 'whoops! Who's the killer?' just didn't suit.
Judy
Apr 01, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Luanne Rice book and it held my interest. I don't get as analytical as some of the reviewers seem to do. I'm reading for entertainment. If a book holds my interest enough to want to get to the conclusion, it's done it's job in my opinion. This plot had many twist and turns, maybe not all easily believable but intriguing.....come on people, it's fiction! I WILL read more Luanne Rice books!
Kshydog
Did not realize that this was a mystery psycho story. Good discussions on if murderers o death row deserve attorney rights. Could not believe that her sister Willa could have an affair with Kate's husband that would be more than a one night stand. Felt the kids thoughts were well written and added to the tension. Amazed how much the kids bonded with Kate immediately, liked the attorney's father and his role. Suspected some of the ending but still held surprises.
Doreen
Apr 22, 2012 Doreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story told of a defense lawyer who is defending a serial killer. He and his family suffer quite a bit for this. Kate Harris appears at his door because her sister is missing and she feard the killer is responsible for this. They have an attraction for each other and John helps her but they cannot find her sister and the killer is not boasting about her. Lots of twists and turns makes for a book you do not want to put down
Melissa Rhoads
Jul 01, 2013 Melissa Rhoads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this mystery drama very much. The story was interesting and I really got caught up in Kate finding her missing sister. Although, if my husband had an affair with my much younger sister I might not be upset that she was missing. The lawyer was a good character too, always tough to think about defending an admitted criminal. Very good book.
Julie
Jan 07, 2014 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: luanne-rice
I couldn't connect with any of the characters. They seemed a little melodramatic. I felt the majority of the book was boring, and very slow going. It finally picked up in the very end. Not sure about believability. Not one of my favorite books. I could hardly wait for it to end. I was at least hoping the ending would be worth the wait, but I can't say it was.
Robin
Apr 05, 2014 Robin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A romance/mystery book. At first I found it interesting with the whole "What happened" kind of thing and wanting to know more. The author kept repeating herself with the his/her individual story backgrounds which I found drawn out and monotonous. It took forever to get them together and then towards the end I just found it too cheezball!
Darlene Wilson
Jul 05, 2015 Darlene Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Secret Hour is an unforgettable novel that explores the power of sisterly love, the gift of second chances--and the way magic can sometimes be the most real thing in the whole world. John, Teddy, Maggie -- John's dad and his housekeeper Maeve -- Kate and her sister Willa -- the magic of L Rice!
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Luanne Rice is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-two novels including THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF SISTERS, her first YA novel. Five of her books have been made into movies and mini-series, many have been New York Times bestsellers and two of her pieces have been featured in off-Broadway theatre productions. She divides her time between New York City and the Connecticut shoreline.
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