*Starred Review* After 10 months spent recovering from a gunshot wound, sociology professor Amelia Emmet returns to the classroom, delivering lectures on her now disturbingly familiar specialty: the sociology of violence. But Amelia’s welcomes are laced with an undercurrent of suspicion about her role in the shooting. How could the shooter, a troubled student who committed suicide at the scene, have been a stranger to her? The truth is, Amelia doesn’t know. Nathaniel, a new graduate student hoping to share Amelia’s dark area of study, snags his dream job as her graduate assistant. Amelia’s erratic behavior and battle to manage her pain make her a challenging boss, but he’s dedicated to her, especially since he secretly plans to study her shooting for his graduate thesis. Separately, Amelia and Nathan seek answers about her attacker’s motivation, goaded along by Rory McDaniel, a newspaper reporter. This accomplished debut bears favorable comparison to the work of Gillian Flynn (more Sharp Objects than Gone Girl), Cornelia Read, and S. J. Watson. Chicago writing instructor Rader-Day ably manipulates the elements that constitute academia’s dark side (competition, campus politics, quests for identity, and, of course, sex) without the overlong academic digressions these settings sometimes court. Amelia Emmet is a sympathetic, yet jaded and darkly witty main character. An unputdownable read. --Christine Tran
· WINNER! 2015 LOVEY AWARD FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL
· MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD NOMINEE!
· LEFT COAST CRIME ROSEBUD AWARD NOMINEE - BEST DEBUT MYSTERY!
· BARRY AWARD NOMINEE – BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL!
· ANTHONY AWARD NOMINEE: BEST FIRST NOVEL!
· MACAVITY AWARD NOMINEE: BEST FIRST MYSTERY NOVEL!
"An exceptional debut.... An irresistible combination of menace, betrayal, and self-discovery."
—Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
"An unputdownable read."
—Booklist STARRED REVIEW
"Captivates from page one.... This reviewer was bowled over by the novel's alternating points of view, superb storytelling, and pitch-perfect take on academia."
—Library Journal STARRED REVIEW
“This first novel about two broken people is a psychological thriller like the best of Alfred Hitchcock. Amelia Emmet is a professor desperately trying to recover from a gunshot wound, and Nathaniel Barber is a student struggling to come to grips with his mother’s death and a lost love. Their journey, told in alternating chapters, is riveting and full of surprising discoveries. Highly recommended.”
—#3 LibraryReads Pick, July 2014
“Rader-Day’s addictive prose is atmospheric and laced with dread. Rothbert’s lakeshore campus in the shadow of Chicago drips with dark secrets, and as in all good mysteries, every character is enigmatic and fascinating. A perfect thriller for the summer, THE BLACK HOUR transcends the tropes and formulas of the mystery genre while deftly portraying academia and the city of Chicago as characters in their own right.”
"An unusual protagonist, a timely crime, and outstanding writing make Lori-Rader-Day's The Black Hour a stand-out debut."
—SARA PARETSKY, Mystery Writers of America Grand Master and New York Times–bestselling author
“You know how wonderful it is to find a novel that you hate to put down? Lori Rader-Day’s debut was just such a book for me. From its breathtakingly beautiful prose to its artful, escalating suspense, The Black Hour kept pulling me back for just one more page, one more chapter.”
—JULIE HYZY, New York Times–bestselling author
“A terrific whydunnit! This dark page-turner of a puzzle—well-written, with bite and style and edge and simmering conflict—will keep you riveted from page one.”
—HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and Mary Higgins Clark Award–winning author
“A riveting, ingenious first novel. . . . The Black Hour will linger with you weeks after you’ve read it.”
—SCOTT BLACKWOOD, Whiting Award–winning author of See How Small
“Utterly compelling. The question at the heart of The Black Hour is original and engrossing, and I defy anyone not to devour the book to get to the answer. . . . A triumph.”
—CATRIONA MCPHERSON, author of As She Left It
“The Black Hour is the rarest of mysteries: one that wants to keep you turning pages in a cold sweat, suspecting every character you meet of both the best and the worst motives; and also one that has something complicated and important to say about the forces that impel us toward death . . . and life. It’s an extraordinary debut, marking the arrival of a major new voice in literary suspense.”
—CHRISTOPHER COAKE, PEN/Bingham Award–winning author of You Came Back
“Lori Rader-Day’s debut The Black Hour is the perfect thriller—smart, tense, and foreboding. Every page left me hungry for the next.”
—CLARE O’DONOHUE, author of Life without Parole
“In her debut psychological thriller Lori Rader-Day joins the ranks of Barbara Vine and Sophie Hannah. Examining the deep complexities of damaged people, she teases and tempts the reader as she leads to her harrowing conclusion.”
—TERRY SHAMES, author of The Last Death of Jack Harbin
“So often, mysteries set in academe are populated by ivy-draped eccentrics with a terminal case of the cutes. Lori Rader-Day’s Rothbert U is anything but cute: The atmosphere, for faculty and students alike, is ruthlessly competitive and mistrustful. Her characters, beginning with Amelia Emmet, are complex, capable of surprising both themselves and us. Like Barbara Vine [Ruth Rendell], Rader-Day is as interested in the why of evil things as in the who.”
—JINCY WILLETT, author of Amy Falls Down
"The Black Hour is a brilliant suspense debut, rich in psychological nuance and the cold, terrifying places where our worst fears—and darkest desires—reside. Let’s hope this is only the first of many from this talented newcomer.”
—LYNNE RAIMONDO, author of Dante’s Poison