The wicked hour : a Natalie Lockhart novel / Alice Blanchard.

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    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "The day after Burning Lake's notorious, debauched Halloween celebration, Detective Natalie Lockhart uncovers a heartbreaking scene - a young woman, dead and lying in a dumpster. There's no clue to who she is, save for a mystifying tattoo on her arm, and a callus underneath her chin. She's not from around here. No one knows who she is. As Natalie retraces the young woman's steps leading up to her death, she uncovers even more horror - a string of murders and disappearances, seemingly unconnected, that may have ties to each other - and explain the abrupt disappearance of her best friend years ago. As Natalie digs deeper to find the killer, old hurts are renewed and dark secrets uncovered. But deep within the mind of the hunter is a darkness Natalie could never have imagined, and as she draws closer to the truth, the killer is weaving a trap for her that may prove unescapable."--Publisher's description.
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Booklist Reviews 2020 November #1

When readers last met Detective Natalie Lockhart (Trace of Evil, 2019), it was her sister's "deathaversary," and Natalie was still very much caught up with her sibling's demise and her mother's needs. In this second in the series, Natalie has moved on and matured but is still in her hometown of Burning Lake, where Halloween festivities are the event of the year. This year's post-Halloween cleanup reveals the body of a young woman in a dumpster, and finding out who she was, what happened, and who could be responsible brings to the fore issues surrounding parental wrongdoing, both of the overbearing stage-parent type and of the much more violent kind. References to events in the previous book will likely be confusing for readers who haven't read it, but, otherwise, this is an absorbing look at small-town politics and relationships set against the intrigue of a mysterious death. Jodi Picoult's fans will be an apt audience for Blanchard's chilling latest. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2020 July

In PEN Award winner Blanchard's second in the "Natalie Lockhart" series (after Trace of Evil), an unidentified, oddly tattooed woman found dead in a dumpster after one of Burning Lake's infamous Halloween celebrations leads Det. Natalie Lockhart to a longtime string of deaths and disappearances. With a 40,000-copy first printing.

Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

LJ Reviews 2020 December

Burning Lake, NY, a historical landmark where witches were burned to death, is normally a delightfully spooky place to be on Halloween. The streets are packed with costumed revelers, and Det. Natalie Lockhart is tasked with monitoring the crowds. Then a young woman, accomplished violinist Morgan Chambers, is found naked and dead in a trash bin, and the difficult task of tracing her path to this end begins. Natalie is still reeling from the death of her sister Grace just months ago, her notoriety from catching a serial killer, and the long-ago murder of her sister Willow. Personally depressed but determined to solve the case, Natalie enters the highly competitive world of music performance, valuable instruments and their collectors, and parents who accept nothing but the best from their talented offspring. VERDICT Blanchard (Trace of Evil) presents a bewitching police procedural in this second "Natalie Lockhart" novel, but readers may be at a disadvantage if they have not read the first book, as the segue is choppy. Though Natalie is well drawn, peripheral characters, especially a love interest, are not fully developed. Still, the setting and musical topic are excellent, and the dramatic conclusion satisfies. For fans of Erica Spindler.—Gloria Drake, Oswego P.L. Dist., IL

Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2020 October #1

When the naked corpse of a struggling violinist, 24-year-old Morgan Chambers, turns up in a dumpster in Blanchard's disappointing sequel to 2019's Trace of Evil, Natalie Lockhart—a detective with the Burning Lake, N.Y., police—assumes the crime is a random act of violence, until she learns that another young woman with ties to a local music conservatory recently went missing. The case also causes Natalie to revisit the disappearance of her childhood friend, violinist Bella Striver, who allegedly ran away on the night of their high school graduation. The events of the previous book loom large, affecting Natalie's relationships as well as her mental health; regrettably, Blanchard never provides a plot recap, leaving new readers in the dark. Though the setup is clever, the mystery suffers from a dearth of viable suspects with convincing motives (the killer included), and the action-packed denouement feels preposterous and arbitrary. Fans will hope for better next time. Agent: Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Dec.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.