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The Blue Hour (Merci Rayborn #1)

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3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,182 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Tim Hess is a semiretired veteran cop staring at a death sentence—his own. Detective Merci Rayborn, young enough to be his daughter, is brash, impatient, and not someone from whom Hess wants to be taking orders. He certainly isn't planning on falling in love with her. Together they must track down a psychopathic killer dubbed the "Purse Snatcher" for the chilling way he br ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 440 pages
Published April 3rd 2000 by Hachette Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,256)
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John
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
...more
Paul
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
...more
Monnie
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
...more
Laini
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
...more
Heidi
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
...more
Jen
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
...more
S.W. Hubbard
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
Valerie
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
Megan
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
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.
Tim Warner
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
Deb Mj
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
...more
Otto Penzler
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
Johnny
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
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
Paula
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.
Shannon
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.
Lisa Tortorello
There is someone in town killing women. These women are targeted, hunted, and then brutally murdered. Enter Tim Hess a retired police officer called back to help with this troubling case, but Tim has problems of his own. At age 67, he is fighting his own battle with lung cancer. He's been married three times, has no kids, and is thinking quite often about his own mortality. With all of this, Tim does what he does best and that is to work this case until the end. His new boss Merci is a young, so ...more
Karl
I'm not sure what took me so long to read a book by this author. My mom, a librarian, has suggested him many times. He even lived in the same town I grew up in and I've seen him at the local grocery store. Isn't that enough to read a few pages? This is certainly a genre I enjoy. Why did I wait? I don't have a good answer, but reading this first book is almost as good a find for me as discovering Lee Child's books a few years ago.

This book was great. Great story. Great characterization. I knew wh
...more
Nelta
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 ....
Ed
#1 in the Merci Rayborn series. I really enjoyed this short lived 3 entry series about the trails of a female homicide cop in Southern California.

Merci Rayborn is an Orange County homicide detective who has filed a sexual harassment case against her former partner. For investigating the case of a series of missing women, she is assigned Tim Hess as a partner. Tim is a 67 year old semi-retired cop working for the health benefits to care for his cancer treatment and tasked with finding out what Me
...more
Carrie Naughton
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
David
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
...more
Marleen
The Blue Hour is the first in Jefferson Parker’s series featuring Merci Rayborn, and I must admit that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did any of his other books. The tone and content was quite grim and dark. Don’t ask me why but I found the whole reading experience a tad depressing. Usually, Parker gives his criminals a human face. Here, there was none of that. I was appalled by thoughts of the Romanian Colesceau. Also, it was a more classic story of an investigation by two detectives int ...more
Manugw
A GRIPPING INTENSE CRIME NOVEL
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
...more
Jerry
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
...more
Cathy DuPont
Mar 10, 2012 Cathy DuPont rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who doesn't mind gory factor
Good friend recommended (and gave me) this book and it's my second T. Jefferson Parker book.

His writing is just swell, he knows how to write. It's the subject matter that is still churning within me. I call it the 'yuk factor.' My friend says gory. Either way, had a hard night sleeping the first night of reading it. So silly for me because I have a difficult time sleeping without thinking about gory themed, violent books!

Read some other reviews about another author I'm reading as his being too v
...more
Quillracer
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
...more
Lee
I might give this 3.5 stars, it is my first book by Parker and I picked it up free for my Kindle. All in all it is not a bad story, the serial killer aspect of the story is pretty good, however character development is seriously lacking in my opinion. Quite a few characters that are not needed at all in this book, this is time that could have been better spent on the main characters.

I really liked Tim Hess, he is a great old guy, a good cop, but I think his character is just a bit to tragic. Mer
...more
Stanley McShane
Gripping tale involving a retired detective brought back to deal with a serial killer stymying the local police department. Set in Southern California, includes some beautiful descriptions of the Pacific Coast and "the Wedge", a local surfer hang-out renown for it's surf and wave action. Tim, while he has the field expertise, is dealing with a serious illness and temporarily hampered with side-effects of the radiation and chemo treatments. Coupled with Merci, a female partner bent on some seriou ...more
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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)
L.A. Outlaws (Charlie Hood, #1) Silent Joe California Girl The Fallen The Renegades (Charlie Hood, #2)

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