WINNER! Anthony Award: BEST FIRST NOVEL
WINNER! 2015 Lovey Award, BEST FIRST NOVEL
WINNER! 2015 Silver Falchion: BEST FIRST NOVEL, Mystery/Thriller
Mary Higgins Clark Award Finalist
Left Coast Crime Rosebud Award Finalist - Best Debut Mystery
Barry Award Finalist – Best Paperback Original
Macavity Award Finalist: 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 The Black Hour a stand-out debut."
“You know how wonderful it is to find a novel that you hate to put down? . . . The Black Hour kept pulling me back for just one more page, one more chapter.”
“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
“A riveting, ingenious first novel. . . . The Black Hour will linger with you weeks after you’ve read it.”
“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.”
“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.”
“The perfect thriller—smart, tense, and foreboding. Every page left me hungry for the next.”
Chicago's Rothbert University was rocked when one of its sociology professors, Amelia Emmet, was shot randomly; the student attacker committed suicide immediately after. End of story. Readers enter as Amelia returns to teaching months later, determined to take ownership of her own mystery case. Teaching assistant Nathaniel Barber is protective, but covertly he wonders if Amelia might become his dissertation topic. A newspaper reporter has pursued her story since day one, and he hovers too closely for comfort. Finally, there is the suicide hotline staff who seem extra-zealous. All of these behaviors create an air of paranoia. Not until Amelia's memory begins to loosen does she realize that danger has not left the campus. A seriously scary sailing regatta on Lake Michigan brings it all home, vividly! VERDICT With disconcerting timeliness (in the wake of recent shootings), Rader-Day captures the more sinister aspects of campus life. While the author captivates from page one with her psychologically attuned debut, it is the sociological frames that work so well: class, power, and violence. This reviewer was bowled over by the novel's alternating points of view, superb storytelling, and pitch-perfect take on academia. [A July LibraryReads pick, see p. 119.—Ed.]