The promo paragraph for The Killing Hour by Paul Cleave immediately caught my eye and sounded like the kind of thriller book I really enjoy - everyday person in the wrong spot at the wrong time.
"Imagine waking up covered in blood - but it's not your blood. There's a nasty bump on your head, and the morning paper reports that two young women were brutally murdered. You recognize their names. Pieces of the night before come back to you through the haze. And now you're the suspect in their grisly deaths. Welcome to Charlie's world."
Spoiler alert - If you have plans to read this book, stop here.
Although the premise is excellent, the delivery fell short, very short for me. We've got at least three viewpoints going on - the dying cop who decides to pursue Charlie on his own and exact justice on his terms, Charlie's narrative and that of Cyris, the man Charlie claims is the killer. The cop's narrative was the most readable of the three. Charlie's first person narrative was rambling. He also talks to 'ghosts'.
The plotting seemed over the top and far fetched. Charlie watches two women get attacked, jumps in, saves them, kills the bad guy and then accompanies them back their house to take a shower rather than go to or call the cops!? Really? There were other situations that just had me shaking my head - his wife going along with his plan to catch the 'real' killer was unrealistic as well. And still, they never call the police.....Same thing, over and over again.
And the killer. Well, the original incarnation of The Killing Hour as a horror novel is quite obvious. The guy won't die. And frankly, he just got tiresome. Cleave seems to delight in provide grisly, graphic details to shock the reader. Breast in a box on a bed anyone?
An excellent premise, but sadly it just fell (really) short for me. The Killing Hour was originally written as a unpublished horror novel in the nineties. Cleave reworked it as a crime novel after selling another book. And it was rewritten again for release to the North American market. (Cleave is a Kiwi author and this book is set in New Zealand)
For this reader, this first taste of Paul Cleave will be my last. Although his newer novels may be an improvement over The Killing Hour, I won't be bothering to pick up another book by this author. Read an excerpt of The Killing Hour.