Jackie's Reviews > Hour of the Cat

Hour of the Cat by Peter Quinn
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Jul 15, 2014

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It’s no easy task summing up the plot of Peter Quinn’s historical thriller, Hour of the Cat. Although the main mystery concerns whether or not a man on death row has been framed for murder, there are several diverse plot lines, a countless cast of characters and plenty of historical details to absorb along the way. And Quinn shows no mercy for those readers who aren’t paying attention as the action shifts between gritty New York locales to the offices and playgrounds of Nazi big shots during the late 1930’s. In Manhattan, Fintan (Fin) Dunne, former cop turned private investigator, reluctantly agrees to help the death row inmate and soon becomes entangled in more sinister matters. In Berlin, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the chief of German military intelligence, attempts to stay on the sidelines as Hitler’s plans become increasingly grandiose. The “science” of eugenics, which espouses the belief that some forms of life are unworthy of life, becomes the link between the two story lines. Informative without being preachy, Quinn never talks down to his readers.

Fintan Dunne is a likeable character. Although savvy and capable, he carries with him a touch of sadness that hints at a difficult early life. The author capably portrays other characters, ranging from politicians to hobos to journalists. And whether Quinn is describing “ramshackle lanes with tarpapered shacks” or “the warm repellent scent of grease, sweat, cheap wine, processed into piss,” the writing is outstanding. It’s not an easy read, but ultimately, it satisfies. And when all is said and done, this novel reminds us how interconnected we humans are and that our actions or apathy in response to world events can have far-reaching effects that reverberate for generations to come.

The above book review was published in CrimeSpree Magazine.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 1, 2005 – Finished Reading
July 15, 2014 – Shelved

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