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The Blue Hour (Merci Rayborn Novels) [Kindle Edition]

T. Jefferson Parker
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (261 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Tim Hess is a semi-retired homicide cop staring at his own death sentence – lung cancer. Time is running out. Thrice divorced and childless, Hess is the classic loner cop – so he’s happy to accept the difficult job offered to him: find and stop a serial killer who’s been abducting beautiful young women in Orange County.

His new partner, and boss, is the brash, ambitious Merci Rayborn. She’s unpopular and unloved by her fellow cops, but she’s also relentless, smart and principled. Hess, challenged by the investigation and by his own disease, isn't happy about taking orders from Merci, and he certainly isn't planning for her to fall in love with him…

Intricately plotted and surprisingly moving, THE BLUE HOUR is T. Jefferson Parker’s most compelling – and satisfying – thriller yet.

T. Jefferson Parker is a New York Times bestselling author and three-time Edgar Award winner.

“What distinguishes this moving book are the finely defined characters, the author’s accomplished style (which sketches his Orange County turf and surf in vivid strokes) and the tale’s unexpected twists.”
– Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

“The crimes are sickening, the killer is a monster, and the gadgets of destruction are truly bizarre. Solid police work, beefed up with some ingenious devices from Parker’s bottomless bag of tricks, makes it all come out right—but not before the wondrously weird characters have taken this lurid plot to its outer limits.”
– Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“Unpredictable and dynamic… far more gripping than your average serial-killer thriller … Sure-handed thriller writer Parker proves ever-surprising.”
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A richly metaphoric and suspenseful ride to the end … Ah, Parker in top form.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“Parker pulls off a rare juggling act in The Blue Hour. He combines the fast pacing and titillating elements of a bestseller with the more meaningful searchings of a John Updike novel. Parker is often compared to Michael Connelly because both men write tautly crafted police procedurals. But Parker has only one rival—Thomas Harris—when it comes to averting the clichés of the serial killer book by characterization… . If you’re seeking a thinking man’s bestseller, T. Jefferson Parker is the writer for you.”
– Katy Munger, Washington Post Book World

“A man much praised doesn’t need more encomiums; but T. Jefferson Parker deserves all he gets. The Blue Hour adds one more chilling thriller to a long, grim, and scary list: ingenious, intricate, complicated yet credible, a real page-turner.”
– Eugen Weber, Los Angeles Times

“Parker’s best work.”
– Edvins Beitiks, San Francisco Examiner

“Has enough chills and twists to keep the pages turning, but the real story here is the surprising love match Parker manages to pull off with realistic characters and true emotion. This will be another hit for Parker’s fans and will appeal to Michael Connelly’s as well.”
– Rececca House, Library Journal

“Takes you where you’ve been and it seems like the first time.”
– Richard Fuller, Philadelphia Inquirer

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The plot may sound familiar, but surehanded thriller writer Parker (Where Serpents Dance) proves ever-surprising in his latest novel, the story of an unusual pair of police protagonists and a serial killer stalking beautiful women in California's Laguna County. Tim Hess is a retired cop, fighting lung cancer, who's called back to active duty to find the diabolical killer who "signs" his murders by eviscerating his victims. His boss and partner in the investigation is an attractive, brusque detective named Merci Rayborn, who quickly dismisses the lone suspect in the case, a paroled, chemically castrated Romanian rapist living under virtual house arrest in an apartment complex near the latest crime scene. Hess stays on the rapist's trail, though, tracking an embalming machine that may be part of the killer's bizarre m.o., but by the time the clues come together, Merci is in murderous hands. Parker places his building blocks with meticulous precision, balancing the feisty yet somewhat melancholic interaction between Hess and Rayborn with a terrifying portrait of a psychopath, although the physical relationship between the two cops does seem a bit forced. The details of the crime are presented with judicious authority as Parker consistently underplays the more sensational aspects of the homicides to keep the narrative unpredictable and dynamic, making it far more gripping than the average serial-killer thriller. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Parker serves up another Orange County, CA, police procedural, this time pairing retired expert cop Tim Hess with brash young detective Merci Rayborn. They're an unlikely team fighting a nasty serial killer who abducts wealthy, attractive women, eviscerates them, and then apparently saves their bodies. What is even more unlikely is that a 70-year-old retiree fighting lung cancer could take orders from and work effectively with an ambitious woman half his age. But not only do they work well togetherAthey find themselves falling in love. Parker's seventh thriller (after Where Serpents Lie, LJ 1/98) has enough chills and twists to keep the pages turning, but the real story here is the surprising love match that Parker manages to pull off with realistic characters and true emotion. This will be another hit for Parker's fans and will appeal to Michael Connolly's as well. Recommended for all fiction collections.ARebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1048 KB
  • Print Length: 484 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0786889691
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009HC5ODU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,859 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary! September 22, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first time I've had the pleasure of reading one of Parker's books. I was impressed. This was not only a riveting and complex murder mystery, but the choice of two very opposite lead characters was a masterful stroke. Tim Hess, a 67 yr. old semi-retired detective is in the twilight of his life. He's recovered from surgery for lung cancer and is undergoing a very draining course of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Merci Rayborn is in her 30's, a brash,ambitious offficer who is having some problems in the Department after filing a long overdue sexual harassment charge against a fellow cop. Tim's boss asks him to work with Merci on a missing persons case where the only clues found are the victims' purses, blood soaked ground, and parts of human intestines--but no bodies. Merci lays down the ground rules. It's her case and she's in charge. As the two gradually mesh together, Tim tries to help Merci by giving her the benefits of his years of experience. At first, all she sees is a dying older cop she's been partnered with, but her growth begins as she comes to know and admire him for his vast knowledge and dedication to the job and his courage in dealing with his illness. Merci soon finds herself enjoying Tim's company, sharing meals and offtime with him, and looking at him with new respect and genuine affection. Their relationship is one of the aspects that sets this story apart from other serial murder mysteries. THE BLUE HOUR should go to the top of your reading list if you enjoy an unusual and innovative thriller, with an ending that leaves you with a lump in your throat and an appreciation of a well written keeper to add to your collection of outstanding books.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful! November 22, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I typically get all fired up and write a review on a book I can't stand. I'm finally writing one for a book I loved. This is one marvelous read. It works wonderfully as a thriller but it's the depth of the characters that really makes this a special book. On top of that Parker has a great way of creatively moving the story along that keeps you guessing right up to the end. Merci Rayborn's character is not very likeable yet she never becomes annoying. She's argumentative and abrasive and completely tactless and non political but the truth is that I know many people just like that...including me! She often say's just what I had been thinking. I was hoping that she would grow up a little bit and be less self absorbed, sort of my wish for myself as well. I found this book after discoving T Jefferson Parker with Silent Joe, which I also loved, and I've become a confirmed fan! He is truly gifted and it'll be fun to continue reading his books.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fine introduction to Mr. Parker July 14, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
it's surprising that i've never heard of parker before june of 2000. but blue hour kept me awake for a couple of days while i finished reading. so many novels these days deal with the same subjects--law-room dramas, murder mysteries, techno-thrillers, super viruses, and the impending destruction of the human race. blue hour stands out a bit because of parker's characterization. little details about merci rayborn and tim hess kept me interested in what would happen to them. at first glance the may-december romance between these two characters seemed a bit contrived--how many times do we read (or see in movies/television) that a much older man catches the heart of a young woman so easily? but by the end of the book, hess had charmed me enough that i believed. merci rayborn's tough-girl act also had me rolling my eyes at times--not because it seemed false, but because it was so real. to use a worn phrase: i felt i knew her.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
I have read all of his books, and I can say like 'Where Serpents Lie', The Blue Hour is a real page turner....So much so, that I finished the book in about 2 days.
What is so amazing about his novels is his character development. His characters are not cookie-cutter super detectives, but real people with real problems, sometimes even tragic problems. This lends a lot more to a stories credability. In addition, being a resident of Southern California, I know many of the places he writes about, and he nails them to a 'Tee'.
I have noticed that Mr. Parkers novels as of late have taken a darker tone to them. The more horrific side of homicide, almost tickled the musings of Rod Serling. No, this is not fantasy like the Twighlight Zone, but the crimes are bizarre and so real...
The Blue Hour had many plot twists near the end and reached a climatic stage that really made you want to read faster and placed you right in the middle of things. The nice (or not so nice thing) is that Mr. Parkers novel's always have an unexpected ending, and they are not always happy endings!
Why this didn't rate 5 stars in my eyes is that there were two incidents in the book I had a hard time getting over: 1) The very end <didn't quite understand the relevance>, and a brief interlude about 2/3rds of the way through that sets up the very end. I think it was somewhat unlikely, though possible.
Also, anyone out there that knows how I can get in touch with Hyperion Books for fan mail to Mr. Parker, please let me know. Looking forward to his next novel 'The Red Light'
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Very suspenseful, kept you guessing right to the last. Very surprising twist at the end. Good read for every one.
Published 7 days ago by sacats
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As agreed
Published 8 days ago by James Cameron
1.0 out of 5 stars I didn't enjoy reading the perverted thought process of a sexual...
I didn't enjoy reading the perverted thought process of a sexual predator. No clever mystery story is enticing enough to make reading that darkness worth while. Read more
Published 8 days ago by M. M. Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! Very well written
A great read! Very well written. Got my interest from the beginning. Lots of mystery and throw in some romance. Great ending but I will not give it away!
Published 20 days ago by Mj
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read. Will read others books by Parker.
Published 22 days ago by michael wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read.
Published 25 days ago by carmen Hartman
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blue Hour
Great book. Enjoyed all of it. I knew who the killer was all along - though in mind the killer kept changing right to the end.
Published 28 days ago by Sandy
5.0 out of 5 stars wow!
What a Book. Full of twists and turns. Started slow and finished like a race horse. No way to predict the'll have to read it yourself to believe it!!
Published 29 days ago by H. L. Wasden
3.0 out of 5 stars exciting throughout
Excellent mystery with good plot and many twists and turns. Good conclusion and tied together nicely. Well developed characters. Will read more by this author.
Published 1 month ago by Tom
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome read
This was a great crime thriller. It kept you guessing and guessing and the characters were well developed and real. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jon Erickson
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More About the Author

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.

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