John's Reviews > The Killing Hour

The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner
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's review
Dec 27, 2011

it was ok
Read in June, 2012

This book gave me nightmares. I don't mean that as a compliment.

There is so much about Lisa Gardner, and The Killing Hour, deserving of praise. She's a sharp prose stylist and a hard working researcher. Her novels offer up to date investigative techniques and crime solvers who feel like real people -- fleshed out characters with personal problems, foibles and occasionally bad manners. Yet the portions of this book devoted to the POV of a young woman trapped in a pit were as disturbing and horrifying as any I've read. Necessary? Sure, but that doesn't reduce the skin crawling I felt as mosquitoes covered the victims skin and flies laid eggs in the resulting sores. I could go a lifetime without reading another passage about a bug moving beneath a character's skin and this is the second novel I've read in a row with this detail.

In Stephen King's The Wind Through the Keyhole a young boy witnesses a spider emerge from the skin of a helpful mutant; he tries to control his gag reflex (as did I) when the mutant casually picks out the spider's eggs from the weeping sore on his chest. In The Killing Hour, it's maggots who move around beneath the woman's flesh. Ewwwwww.

Still, I appreciated the way Gardner tells a story. Protagonist Kimberly is the survivor of an attack that killed her sister and mother (in an earlier novel which I haven't read, but probably will). When the story opens, she's in training at the FBI Academy. She's 26 but seems a decade older -- this is not a mistake on the part of the author, but rather a reflection of her troubled life. Soon she stumbles over a woman's body during a run and begins tracking a serial killer.

Obviously there isn't much time for fun and games when an abducted woman is dying, but I loved the brief romantic interludes. They felt real as Kimberly grows closer to an older man, despite her resistance even as her 50-something Dad discusses having a child with his 30-something second wife.

Yet for all its merits, this novel was so grim, so dark, so unrelentingly depressing that I really can't recommend it. My nightmares were unpleasant and while my reaction may be due to sadness afflicting some people close to me, I have to stand by my feelings. I'm actually putting away thrillers for a while.
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Reading Progress

06/07/2012 page 402
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Nancy Too dark !!!


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