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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 ste 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 a deeper, darker 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 she digs deeper within the mind of the hunter, Natalie finds a darkness she could never have imagined. And as she draws closer to the truth, the killer is weaving a trap for her that may prove inescapable.


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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 ste 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 a deeper, darker 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 she digs deeper within the mind of the hunter, Natalie finds a darkness she could never have imagined. And as she draws closer to the truth, the killer is weaving a trap for her that may prove inescapable.

30 review for The Wicked Hour

  1. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    3 stars for an entertaining mystery with flaws. This is book 2 in the Natalie Lockhart series and it would have been better if I read book 1 first. There was a murder of a Lockhart family member which took place in book 1 and Natalie is still grieving. She has pushed away friends who offered her support. Natalie is a detective in the Burning Lake Police Department. She and the whole police force are on duty for the town's annual Halloween celebration, which draws about 100,000 tourists and is a h 3 stars for an entertaining mystery with flaws. This is book 2 in the Natalie Lockhart series and it would have been better if I read book 1 first. There was a murder of a Lockhart family member which took place in book 1 and Natalie is still grieving. She has pushed away friends who offered her support. Natalie is a detective in the Burning Lake Police Department. She and the whole police force are on duty for the town's annual Halloween celebration, which draws about 100,000 tourists and is a huge moneymaker for the town. Burning Lake is a fictional town located south of New York state's Adirondack Park, the largest park in the continental US(bigger than Yellowstone NP). The fictional town condemned to death 3 women as witches in 1712 and now proclaims itself as the epicenter of Halloween and witchcraft. Natalie volunteers for the annual cleanup on Nov 1 which lasts a whole week, because of the tremendous amount of trash left by the revelers. But then Natalie discovers the body of a naked woman in a dumpster. Natalie does solve the murder with the help of the team at the BLPD. Pros: I liked the plot and the way it moved along briskly with several suspects. I was not sure who the killer was until the end. The characters were believable. Cons: I have lived in New York state my whole life. Although this is a work of fiction, set in a fictional town, there were several things that bothered me. Natalie mentions that Detective Lenny Abruzzo has sent the dead girl's fingerprints to the DMV database. DMV stands for NYS Department of Motor vehicles. I have never had to give my fingerprints for my standard drivers license. This year I was given the option of renewing by mail or upgrading to a REAL ID DL. I upgraded and had to give a thumbprint. NYS does have a fingerprint database. It is maintained by the NYS Dept. of Criminal Justice. Second, Natalie comments that Burning Lake has 10 historic wooden covered bridges. NY has 17 historic covered bridges in the entire state, and my wife and I have visited all of them. No county, much less a town, has 10. According to our WGCB(World Guide to Covered Bridges), Ulster County has the most with 5. Ulster County is closer to NYC than the southern boundary of Adirondack Park, going from the Catskill mountains to the Hudson river. Third, she mentions driving on Route 17 out of town. Route 17 is actually the Southern Tier Expressway, just north of Pennsylvania, now being converted into I-86. My wife read this book before me, and these items bothered her also. My wife also noticed many grammatical errors,but this is an uncorrected proof copy, so this is forgivable. #TheWickedHour #NetGalley Thanks to Minotaur Books/St. Martin's Press for sending me this eARC through Net Galley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    PamG

    THE WICKED HOUR by Alice Blanchard is a police procedural and the second book in the Natalie Lockhart series. To get the most enjoyment from this novel, the first book in the series (TRACE OF EVIL) should be read before starting this one. This is a town that makes the most of its history with witchcraft and has a large tourist trade around it that culminates with the Halloween celebration. Natalie Lockhart is a rookie detective in the Burning Lake, New York police department and is still dealing THE WICKED HOUR by Alice Blanchard is a police procedural and the second book in the Natalie Lockhart series. To get the most enjoyment from this novel, the first book in the series (TRACE OF EVIL) should be read before starting this one. This is a town that makes the most of its history with witchcraft and has a large tourist trade around it that culminates with the Halloween celebration. Natalie Lockhart is a rookie detective in the Burning Lake, New York police department and is still dealing with the tragic events that occurred in book one. She is working clean-up on November first when the body of a violinist is found in a dumpster and she get the case. Natalie is a strong female protagonist who is definitely someone you can root for. Her character felt real with clear goals and believable motivations. This novel is more character-driven and police procedural driven than books one and has less action. However, I thought her introspection while dealing with the case actually worked better for me than book one. I was quickly drawn into the story and stayed engaged throughout the book. The secondary characters were well-rounded and enhanced the story. The stakes were high throughout the novel and kept me fully invested in the story. The world-building enhanced the setting and gave me a clear sense of place. There were plenty of suspects and twists as well as a sub-plot that did not get resolved. Will that be part of book three? Themes include death, grief, family relationships, parental pressure on children to succeed, depression and much more. Overall, the plot was complex, absorbing and well-paced. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Alice Blanchard for a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Once again, I find myself reading a crime series book out of order. At least this time, it’s only the second in the Natalie Lockhart series. But I still felt the loss of all the background from the first book initially. Still, once the book moved into the murder investigation, I felt at home. Burning Lake, upstate NY, is home to a huge Halloween festival based on their history with witches in the early 18th century. During the clean up on November 1st, a young woman’s body is discovered in a dum Once again, I find myself reading a crime series book out of order. At least this time, it’s only the second in the Natalie Lockhart series. But I still felt the loss of all the background from the first book initially. Still, once the book moved into the murder investigation, I felt at home. Burning Lake, upstate NY, is home to a huge Halloween festival based on their history with witches in the early 18th century. During the clean up on November 1st, a young woman’s body is discovered in a dumpster. She was a violinist, there for a musical contest. Turns out, she’s not the first young violinist to go missing. This is a realistic police procedural. Blanchard puts us firmly in time and place with a small town, a music conservatory trying to protect its reputation, even a closed fun town. The pace is swift with lots of potential suspects to pick from. Natalie is doubting herself after not picking up on a murderer until it was too late (in book one). So, her thoughts bounce between all the suspects. And mine bounced right along with hers. There are some irritating sections where Blanchard literally repeats herself verbatim. But overall, I found this an enjoyable story and I would seek out book three. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    "In a world filled with evil, being a good person is an act of defiance." (Unknown) And nothing brings out all the baddies like the sole night of the year...... the witching hour. Costumed or just plain clever in attire, the edgy evil doers mingle with the rest of us. They'll serve up more than just bobbin' for apples near midnight. Detective Natalie Lockhart has been assigned a heavy-duty job on Halloween night. It's Burning Lake, New York where this little town relishes the hauntings viewed in "In a world filled with evil, being a good person is an act of defiance." (Unknown) And nothing brings out all the baddies like the sole night of the year...... the witching hour. Costumed or just plain clever in attire, the edgy evil doers mingle with the rest of us. They'll serve up more than just bobbin' for apples near midnight. Detective Natalie Lockhart has been assigned a heavy-duty job on Halloween night. It's Burning Lake, New York where this little town relishes the hauntings viewed in decorated store windows and the local bars sliding Zombies across the bar....the drinks....and maybe a few of the real ones. Throngs of people in costumes clog the streets as the merriment begins. Corraling these party-goers is like herding cats all at once. Next to impossible. As the streets begin to clear in the wee hours, a barrista makes a horrendous discovery while taking out the trash. The body of a young woman dressed as Wonder Woman is found scrunched down and dead in a dumpster behind the bar. Natalie and her fellow detectives have their hands full trying to identify the woman. Once the identification is made, all hell will break loose. There will be undeniable connections here and there with dangling ends like on the tassels of Dracula's cape. Why this young woman and why here in Burning Lake? Alice Blanchard creates a tale perfect for this time of year. The Wicked Hour is the second book in this series. Although she fills in gaps to set the stage for this one, I'd encourage reading Trace of Evil to get a better feel for Det. Natalie Lockhart. Not necessary, but I want to know ol' Natalie better. I've already got my hands on this first one. That's a sign that this series has life to it and is worth investing in. Can't wait to see where Blanchard takes us in her next offering. Good stuff. I received a copy of The Wicked Hour through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Minotaur Books and to Alice Blanchard for the opportunity.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    The Wicked Hour is the second book in the Natalie Lockhart series, and just like Trace Of Evil, it will keep you guessing... (Ps. Don't go into this one without having read the first book) Detective Natalie Lockhart is back on the scene with another chilling case. A young woman is found dead in a dumpster the day after Halloween. With no clue as to who this young woman is except for a tattoo on her arm and callus underneath her chin, the department has their work cut out for them. Nobody could h The Wicked Hour is the second book in the Natalie Lockhart series, and just like Trace Of Evil, it will keep you guessing... (Ps. Don't go into this one without having read the first book) Detective Natalie Lockhart is back on the scene with another chilling case. A young woman is found dead in a dumpster the day after Halloween. With no clue as to who this young woman is except for a tattoo on her arm and callus underneath her chin, the department has their work cut out for them. Nobody could have ever guessed just how deep this case would go... Overall I enjoyed this book. The plot was interesting and one I haven't read in other books which is always a win. The ending was such a surprise - another win!! The book is well written and the descriptions are so so good. And with that final sentence I'm really hoping there's a book three!! Huge thank you so St. Martin's Press for my review copy!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ash

    Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. DNF ~50%. This review contains spoilers for Trace of Evil. I read the first book in Alice Blanchard’s Natalie Lockhart series, Trace of Evil, last year when I received an ARC on NetGalley. I enjoyed it – it had a cool setting, a good protagonist, and a few different interesting mystery subplots all going on at once – so I was pleased to get an ARC of the sequel. Unfortunately, it didn’t live Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. DNF ~50%. This review contains spoilers for Trace of Evil. I read the first book in Alice Blanchard’s Natalie Lockhart series, Trace of Evil, last year when I received an ARC on NetGalley. I enjoyed it – it had a cool setting, a good protagonist, and a few different interesting mystery subplots all going on at once – so I was pleased to get an ARC of the sequel. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. I had a few complaints right off the bat. The Wicked Hour takes place about a year after Trace of Evil, and a lot has happened in that time. Natalie was in the news for catching a serial killer in Trace of Evil, Brandon hates her for the role she played in his wife’s death, and she’s grieving the loss of her sister, which gave her depression and anxiety and led her to push her love interest Luke away. It was a lot to adjust to in the first few chapters and it left me feeling like I missed a lot of interesting plot and character development. I also noticed a lot of little aspects of Alice Blanchard’s writing in The Wicked Hour that I don’t remember noticing in Trace of Evil. I can’t be sure if they were more present in this book than the previous one or if I just didn’t notice them in the first book. Whatever the reason, this time around, Blanchard’s writing struck me as somewhat repetitive and sort of awkward. Much of the dialogue felt unnatural; everyone always had something clever, deep, or insightful to say. And there were little details to all of Natalie’s relationships with other characters, the sort of quirky habits you’d expect from characters in a sitcom or a family movie. Natalie kept remembering cliché platitudes her deceased father used to say that were relevant to the situations she was in. Her friend group in high school called themselves the Brilliant Misfits and they hung out in an abandoned theme park. Luke and Natalie apparently have a thing where, instead of hugging, one of them holds out a thumb and the other squeezes it? Weird. I think these details were meant to add life to the characters but instead they took me out of the story. And Natalie was a far less compelling character in this book than I remember her being in Trace of Evil. I understand that grief changes a person, but her emotions would come out of nowhere. One minute she was trying to solve the mysterious death at the center of the story and the next she was thinking about how in love she was with Luke and how he makes her want to settle down, get married, and have children. There was plenty of room for Natalie to solve the case, grieve her dead family members, and try to reconnect with Luke, but she bounced back and forth between those three tasks with no rhyme or reason. The plot of The Wicked Hour was the highlight for me, what kept me reading. I think Blanchard would make a good true crime author, because she excels at writing the details of a case and the process of solving it. But eventually it reached a point where the plot wasn’t strong enough to make me look past everything I disliked about this book. I always feel guilty when I don’t finish a book, especially one like this that isn’t exactly bad but that just has a lot of little flaws that rub me exactly the wrong way. But every time one of Blanchard’s characters said something faux-deep and out of place, or every time Natalie leapt from one emotion or thought process to another with no connecting thread between them, all I wanted to do was put the book down and never pick it up again, and around halfway through I decided to do exactly that.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Dropped into this series after missing the first one, and I think it would have been better to have the background before diving into this one. However, I enjoyed this police procedural regardless (but now I'm curious about some things so I need to go back and read that first book!). Natalie Lockhart is a young detective in Burning Lake, New York. The town is apparently a hot spot during October due to a history of witchcraft, but this book isn't about witches. After a long, hard night dealing wi Dropped into this series after missing the first one, and I think it would have been better to have the background before diving into this one. However, I enjoyed this police procedural regardless (but now I'm curious about some things so I need to go back and read that first book!). Natalie Lockhart is a young detective in Burning Lake, New York. The town is apparently a hot spot during October due to a history of witchcraft, but this book isn't about witches. After a long, hard night dealing with the crowds and revelry of Halloween, a local business owner finds the body of a naked young woman in an alley dumpster. Natalie is nearby and is notified immediately. This begins an intriguing investigation trying to find out who the woman is and whether her death is a suicide or murder. Diving into the woman's background turns up some surprising discoveries and there are several suspect possibilities. I had fun reading this book. It wasn't too gory and focused on Natalie and some problems she is dealing with (which apparently occurred in the first book). Natalie is a good person and a strong protagonist, but she does have some issues to work through. There's a little romance, but that is not the main part of the story. I can't wait to grab the first book in the series to get the answers to some of my questions. Thanks to St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy of this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    The Wicked Hour is a suspenseful police procedural novel. With a varied cast of characters, The Wicked Hour proved to be an interesting read. However, readers will probably enjoy this novel a lot more if they read the first novel, Trace of Evil. Detective Natalie Lockhart is assigned to investigate the death of a budding violinist, Morgan Chambers. Morgan was found buried under a pile of garbage in a dumpster. Naked and without obvious signs of blunt force trauma or other signs of foul play, it's The Wicked Hour is a suspenseful police procedural novel. With a varied cast of characters, The Wicked Hour proved to be an interesting read. However, readers will probably enjoy this novel a lot more if they read the first novel, Trace of Evil. Detective Natalie Lockhart is assigned to investigate the death of a budding violinist, Morgan Chambers. Morgan was found buried under a pile of garbage in a dumpster. Naked and without obvious signs of blunt force trauma or other signs of foul play, it's up to Natalie and her team to conduct a full investigation into the who, what, when, and where of Morgan's demise. Without going into too much detail and spoiling the story, there were some aspects of the plot that didn't quite fit logically. Perhaps certain aspects of the plot were overlooked as I probably spent too much time trying to figure out the background into Detective Lockhart's depression and her relationship with her father and sisters. That being said, I probably missed out on a few key moments. Overall, The Wicked Hour is a novel that will be appreciated by fans of the mystery & thriller genre. Three stars. I liked it. I received a digital ARC from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Erth

    The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard is a solid sequel to Trace of Evil. Although it is not as haunting and creepy, The Wicked Hour deals with the darker side of grief. I absolutely love how Alice Blanchard does not shy away from the tragedy Natalie faced in Trace of Evil. She does not gloss over it. In the time between the ending of Trace of Evil and the beginning of The Wicked Hour, Natalie's life has changed dramatically. She is still grieving and is not living her life. She is alone and barely The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard is a solid sequel to Trace of Evil. Although it is not as haunting and creepy, The Wicked Hour deals with the darker side of grief. I absolutely love how Alice Blanchard does not shy away from the tragedy Natalie faced in Trace of Evil. She does not gloss over it. In the time between the ending of Trace of Evil and the beginning of The Wicked Hour, Natalie's life has changed dramatically. She is still grieving and is not living her life. She is alone and barely holding on. Honestly, I appreciate all of this. Not glossing over the pure mess of the first novel makes Natalie so much more relatable and I enjoyed watching her develop as a character throughout the entire novel. I love how there are quite a few suspects in Natalie's newest case. My head was constantly spinning. There are a good number of twists and turns to keep readers entertained. I did not see the identity of the killer coming nor did I anticipate that very shocking ending (LOVE THAT ENDING). Why not five stars? The writing is a bit choppy and I felt at times I was repeatedly reading the same back story of Natalie's friend, Bella. Granted, I read an ARC so these issues may very well be corrected when The Wicked Hour is released. I will be reading the finished copy. My only other reason for a lower rating is Luke. However, I cannot rant about Luke without providing spoilers. Just note that he did not develop in this book as much as Natalie and I may or may not have had the urge to throw a book at him on more than one occasion. The Wicked Hour is a must read for mystery fans. It's entertaining. It's dark. It's real. I am officially obsessed with this series and am already anxiously awaiting for the next book!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Some towns cash in on their holiday connections. Welcome to Burning Lake, where their history with witchcraft makes for some pretty exciting Halloween celebrations, until a mysterious murder victim brings a far deeper horror that proves that evil has been lurking for years. Detective Natalie Lockhart is determined to find justice for the victim, but finds herself drawn into a trap that could cost her her life. THE WICKED HOUR by Alice Blanchard is a hair-raising, edge-of-your-seat tale of dark su Some towns cash in on their holiday connections. Welcome to Burning Lake, where their history with witchcraft makes for some pretty exciting Halloween celebrations, until a mysterious murder victim brings a far deeper horror that proves that evil has been lurking for years. Detective Natalie Lockhart is determined to find justice for the victim, but finds herself drawn into a trap that could cost her her life. THE WICKED HOUR by Alice Blanchard is a hair-raising, edge-of-your-seat tale of dark suspense. Well-developed, Natalie is a strong character with a past that makes this murder feel like a déjà vu of a time she would rather forget. I would suggest that readers read book one first for relevant background. On its own, it IS a good read, but when I was invited to read an ARC, I was not told this was book two and felt I was missing something vital. I received a complimentary ARC edition from Minotaur Books! This is my honest and voluntary review. Series: Natalie Lockhart - Book 2 Publisher : Minotaur Books (December 1, 2020) Genre: Police Procedural Print Length : 304 pages Available from :  Amazon | Barnes & Noble For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tami

    This was the perfect read for fall. The second book in the Natalie Lockhart series begins on Halloween in Burning Lake, a town known to have a “witchy” history. The setting was perfect for the story. After the big celebration on Halloween night, a young woman’s body is discovered in a dumpster. Natalie is immediately on the case as she tracks down clues to find out who the woman is and what happened to her just hours before. I enjoyed this second book in the series much more than the first. Althou This was the perfect read for fall. The second book in the Natalie Lockhart series begins on Halloween in Burning Lake, a town known to have a “witchy” history. The setting was perfect for the story. After the big celebration on Halloween night, a young woman’s body is discovered in a dumpster. Natalie is immediately on the case as she tracks down clues to find out who the woman is and what happened to her just hours before. I enjoyed this second book in the series much more than the first. Although I thought there were a few loose ends left, I am hoping that Alice Blanchard will address those in her next Natalie Lockhart book. Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shelleen Toland

    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. Natalie is not going to give up on uncovering this mystery and she finds more clues that link to other murders and disappearances. We also find out that Natalie's bes 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. Natalie is not going to give up on uncovering this mystery and she finds more clues that link to other murders and disappearances. We also find out that Natalie's best friend from high school had gone missing without any clue as to where she is. I know I will continue on with this series as we learn more about Natalie and I think eventually the clue about her best friend, Belle's disappearance. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's for this book to review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I was so excited to have been given an advanced readers copy of The Wicked Hour. I loved Traces of Evil and when that ended I couldn’t wait for a sequel. Well here it is! We are back in Burning Lake and Natalie Lockhart is back! Natalie has been through a lot in her life and you learn all about that in the first book. The Wicked Hour picks up several months after the events in Traces of Evil. I loved that you get see where Natalie is and how she is coping. You also get to see her get into anothe I was so excited to have been given an advanced readers copy of The Wicked Hour. I loved Traces of Evil and when that ended I couldn’t wait for a sequel. Well here it is! We are back in Burning Lake and Natalie Lockhart is back! Natalie has been through a lot in her life and you learn all about that in the first book. The Wicked Hour picks up several months after the events in Traces of Evil. I loved that you get see where Natalie is and how she is coping. You also get to see her get into another case. Natalie’s determination to solve this latest case has her pushing herself and facing more events of her past. I really love this series and couldn’t wait for this one. And now I can’t wait for the next one, because the way this one ended there better be a next one!! I don’t want to give anything anyway but when I read the last line and went to the next page I was not expecting that to be the last line of the book. I believe I shouted “COME ON! IT CANT BE OVER!” Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press Minotaur Books for ARC! And to Alice Blanchard for writing such an amazing series! There will be a book three right?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Johnna Hill

    This book did not disappoint! The first book was incredible and so is this one! I cant get enough of this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    ABookwormWithWine

    Whew, I enjoyed The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard so much more than book one! This book had a faster pace, and I was fully invested in the mystery and what was happening. The first chapter hooked me immediately and the last chapter left me wanting more, which is always a great combination in my opinion. I also loved that there was a subplot that seems to be a setup for future books to come and I am dying to know what is going to happen. Trace of Evil gave a lot of background on Natalie and even Whew, I enjoyed The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard so much more than book one! This book had a faster pace, and I was fully invested in the mystery and what was happening. The first chapter hooked me immediately and the last chapter left me wanting more, which is always a great combination in my opinion. I also loved that there was a subplot that seems to be a setup for future books to come and I am dying to know what is going to happen. Trace of Evil gave a lot of background on Natalie and even though I don't think you have to read that book first, it would be a good idea if you want to know more about her as a person and more about her family. I had no idea how this book was going to end, and there is a lot of action in the last quarter of the book. The majority of The Wicked Hour reads like a police procedural and I really enjoyed the number of suspects and all of Natalie's interviews that she conducts. I do think Blanchard's writing isn't as smooth and concise as it could be, but I liked the way she wrote this one and it was a solid mystery that I enjoyed. This isn't a gory series either so it would be good for the squeamish readers out there. I also loved the audiobook, which is narrated by Sophie Amoss. She was a great improvement over the narrator for book one and I really hope she comes back for future books! Thank you to the publisher for my advance listening copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    I received a free electronic ARC of this police procedural novel from Netgalley, author Alice Blanchard, and publisher, St. Martin's Press - Minotaur Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read The Wicked Hour of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. The second novel in a series, The Wicked Hour is completely stand-alone, but this tale is told so smoothly, wrapped up so tight, that I will want to read all of this series. Alice Blanchar I received a free electronic ARC of this police procedural novel from Netgalley, author Alice Blanchard, and publisher, St. Martin's Press - Minotaur Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read The Wicked Hour of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. The second novel in a series, The Wicked Hour is completely stand-alone, but this tale is told so smoothly, wrapped up so tight, that I will want to read all of this series. Alice Blanchard is an author I will follow. Natalie Lockhart is a native of Burning Lake, and a detective in the employ of the city of Burning Lake, New York, a tourist town with a well-publicized 17th-century history of hanging witches and a renowned school of music. Summer is a fairly busy time for Burning Lake businesses, but residents make most of their annual income in the month of October, basically closing their doors on November 1st due to iffy weather and lack of interest. Their witchy reputation brings in the odd crazy person hidden among the waves of sunburned, hungry tourists, and this year is no exception. Halloween night brings masses of tourists - and one woman, found nude and dead in a trash dumpster downtown during the massive clean-up beginning on November first is the exception that proves the rule. But Natalie recognizes the callus under the chin and on the left-hand fingers of this woman as the well earned results of endless practice time spent on the violin. Natalie's best friend, Bella, bearing those same scars, had gone missing just after high school graduation, and Natalie recognized them again in a murder taking place six months ago right here in Burning Lake. Bella's disappearance was written off as a runaway months later when a few letters and polaroid photos, posted from cities across the country, were received by Natalie and by Bella's family. But with the summer murder and now this Halloween murder, that is two women with violin histories, and Burning Lake has a world-class music school. And what about Bella? Is she really traveling the world? She hasn't been heard from in years. Perhaps the murderer isn't a visiting tourist, after all. He could be home-grown... pub date December 1, 2020 Reviewed on November 22, 2020, at Goodreads and Netgalley. Reviewed on December 1, 2020, at AmazonSmile, Barnes&Noble, BookBub, Kobo, and GooglePlay.

  17. 4 out of 5

    JANELLE || WHATSHESEEES

    Natalie Lockhart always seems to amaze me with her strength and resilience. Kind of like Alice Blanchard does with her profound writing. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this book since hearing of its release and thanks to (Minotaur Books) I was able to read and review this almost as soon as I received a copy (Thank you for the gifted copy)!! It’s no secret that I loved Trace of Evil, so naturally I was going to love this one and boy did I!! I get lost when I read a really good book and this wa Natalie Lockhart always seems to amaze me with her strength and resilience. Kind of like Alice Blanchard does with her profound writing. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this book since hearing of its release and thanks to (Minotaur Books) I was able to read and review this almost as soon as I received a copy (Thank you for the gifted copy)!! It’s no secret that I loved Trace of Evil, so naturally I was going to love this one and boy did I!! I get lost when I read a really good book and this was one of those books I got lost in. I fully submerged myself into Burning Lake and it’s towns mysteries. Alice makes that easy as a reader with her easy to like characters, which make the twist even more bigger when you don’t suspect anyone. That cliff hanger though! I was completely at loss for words. With that said, I hope and I mean REALLY hope that there will be another Natalie Lockhart novel because it was too good to be left hanging like that.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Louetta Waters

    Was not aware this was part of a series and felt a little lost at times, but the book eventually kind of caught me up, and while slow in the beginning to me, I enjoyed this book. It was well written and I felt connected to the characters. Pretty good Halloween themed who-done-it, and it kept me guessing with a surprise finish! 4 stars!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    Burning Lake has survived a Halloween celebration... although not everyone who attended survived. Detective Lockhart is helping clean up afterwards and what she discovers is a body... dead and lying in a dumpster. There's no identification and no one seems to know who she is. She has a tattoo on her arm, a callus under her chin. Upon investigating, Lockhart discovers a string of murders and disappearances. Connection to each other? Connections to the body Lockhart found? Lockhart can't help but rem Burning Lake has survived a Halloween celebration... although not everyone who attended survived. Detective Lockhart is helping clean up afterwards and what she discovers is a body... dead and lying in a dumpster. There's no identification and no one seems to know who she is. She has a tattoo on her arm, a callus under her chin. Upon investigating, Lockhart discovers a string of murders and disappearances. Connection to each other? Connections to the body Lockhart found? Lockhart can't help but remember a childhood friend... who disappeared many years ago. As she gets closer to the truth, the killer is weaving a trap for her that may prove inescapable. This sequel to TRACE OF EVIL is well-written. The intricate plot is filled with action beginning on the very first page. Suspense is maintained from start to finish with suspects that are many and varied. Characters are deftly drawn. Although 2nd in the series, it is easily read as a stand alone. I would recommend reading in order, as Lockhart's backstory is more explained in the first book. There is a very slight lciffhanger pointing to another exciting book in the future. Many thanks to the author / St Martin's Press / Minotaur Books / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction / police procedural. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Raina

    Burning Lake, New York is known for their lively Halloween celebrations. However, this Halloween it isn't your typical celebration and clean up afterward. The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard centers around Detecive Natalie Lockhart and her latest investigation.  While assisting with clean up after Halloween night, Natalie is waved down by a public works employee. He had made a gruesoms discovery in one of the alleys off Sarah Hutchins Drive. A naked young woman had been dumped in the large dumpste Burning Lake, New York is known for their lively Halloween celebrations. However, this Halloween it isn't your typical celebration and clean up afterward. The Wicked Hour by Alice Blanchard centers around Detecive Natalie Lockhart and her latest investigation.  While assisting with clean up after Halloween night, Natalie is waved down by a public works employee. He had made a gruesoms discovery in one of the alleys off Sarah Hutchins Drive. A naked young woman had been dumped in the large dumpster with mounds of trash placed over her.  As Natalie dives into discovering who this woman is, what brought her to Burning Lake, and who killed her, she is reminded of her infamous status after catching a serial killer. The path she is led down is filled with shady characters and the hidden secrets of the classical music world. After all, the woman found is a student at a local music conservatory where another violinist went missing within the last year.  With all the twists and turns of her current case, we get a glimpse into Natalie's past. Her complicated, psuedo-romantic relationship with her Leuitenant, her missing friend who isn't really missing, and the death of her sister, Grace. Alice Blanchard has done an incredible job developing the characters in this book.  Although,I found it to be very slow until the last third of the book, it was a great read. Lot of twists anf turns for any thriller reader to love. What I was shocked to find out it that this is the second book in a series! It completely read as a stand alone which is rare. I will definitely be checking out the first book, Trace of Evil very soon. Overall this book gets a solid 4 out of 5 from me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    This afternoon I went back to Burning Lake, New York, the "self-proclaimed epicenter for magic and witchcraft." This second crime thriller featuring Detective Natalie Lockhart was every bit as compelling as the first and I definitely suggest you read them in order to fully understand the backstory of everything that Natalie has gone through to this point. I read this over several hours, unable to put it down, as the excellent writing drew me in and the story line kept me guessing. A body has been This afternoon I went back to Burning Lake, New York, the "self-proclaimed epicenter for magic and witchcraft." This second crime thriller featuring Detective Natalie Lockhart was every bit as compelling as the first and I definitely suggest you read them in order to fully understand the backstory of everything that Natalie has gone through to this point. I read this over several hours, unable to put it down, as the excellent writing drew me in and the story line kept me guessing. A body has been found in a dumpster the morning after Burning Lake's big Halloween bash. It's a young woman, a promising violinist, who was there for the Monster Mash -- a contest for the "spookiest Halloween musical act." As Natalie heads up the investigation, she finds, again, that even the townspeople she's known all her life are not above suspicion. As she chases leads and deals with her grief, Natalie begins to question other events that have happened in her town. NO SPOILERS. I enjoyed this book and really like the details and descriptions the author relates about Burning Lake and its inhabitants. Natalie is a great character and fully believable as she navigates her personal losses while trying to become a better detective. Again, there are many red herrings so the big reveal is a bit of a surprise and I was pleased that the identity of the killer wasn't obvious. I was definitely glad that I was able to read the first two installments back-to-back but bummed now because I will have a long wait for the next one in the series! Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books/St. Martin's Press for this e-book ARC to read, review, and recommend.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Allyson Abu-Hajar

    It's Halloween night, and Burning Lake is overrun with a huge crowd in costume and Detective Natalie Lockhart is on foot patrol. Natalie is still struggling with the notoriety of being dubbed the crow killer, her sister, Grace, and some fallout with friends. Natalie in trying to escape ghosts, is working early and staying late. Natalie volunteers for the post-Halloween cleanup, when she is flagged down, a body is found in the dumpster. A young unidentified woman with a tattoo and a mark under her It's Halloween night, and Burning Lake is overrun with a huge crowd in costume and Detective Natalie Lockhart is on foot patrol. Natalie is still struggling with the notoriety of being dubbed the crow killer, her sister, Grace, and some fallout with friends. Natalie in trying to escape ghosts, is working early and staying late. Natalie volunteers for the post-Halloween cleanup, when she is flagged down, a body is found in the dumpster. A young unidentified woman with a tattoo and a mark under her chin that give Natalie a clue, because she's seen that mark on Bella, her best friend. This becomes Natalie's case, to which she retraces the victim's steps, and each bit of information she follows leads to more questions and more victims. Also brings to mind memories of Bella, and leads Natalie to pull out old photos and notes with a clue missed years ago. This is a good police procedural mystery. The town is steep in their traditions, and traditions that the Chef of Police would get involved to help protect the town's prominent citizens from the public eye. I did have to wonder how after being clubbed in the head and knocked out, how Natalie was able to get behind a wheel with a head injury. I did like the tense scene where Natalie is struggling, and gets a vision of her sister, to encourage her. The ending, definitely needs more explaining, I was totally surprised, and there's still questions left about Bella. I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley via St. Martin's Press and I have voluntarily reviewed this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Randi (randi_reads)

    3.5 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for an advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review. This is book two in the Detective Natalie Lockhart series. I really enjoyed the first book and it is best if you read that book before diving into this one. It's been six months since the events of the first book happened and Natalie is still grieving. She is barely sleeping or eating and just getting by. When a body of a young female is found in a dumpster the day after Halloween, Na 3.5 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for an advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review. This is book two in the Detective Natalie Lockhart series. I really enjoyed the first book and it is best if you read that book before diving into this one. It's been six months since the events of the first book happened and Natalie is still grieving. She is barely sleeping or eating and just getting by. When a body of a young female is found in a dumpster the day after Halloween, Natalie has a new case to solve. I enjoyed the case and the all the suspects. I really didn't care for how Natalie kept remembering her friend, Bella, throughout the whole book. For me, it took away from the current case she was trying to solve. I like how Natalie seemed to realize what she wanted in life in this book. (a family, children). I didn't think the scenes with Luke showed any potential in this book, which was really depressing. She invited him in and he shut her down! And the ending...totally out in left field. Never saw that coming and not sure how I feel about it. I do know that there had better be a third book now!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ginger

    I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review of the story. I did not read the first book in this series - an oversight I will remedy this weekend! Natalie Lockhart is intelligent, tenacious, quick on her feet and lugging around a whole lot of baggage emotionally. The plot has a lot of twist and turns, I often thought I had it figured out - wrong! The story keeps you guessing to the end. The characters are as entertaining, endearing, in turns evil and despicable like a good instal I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review of the story. I did not read the first book in this series - an oversight I will remedy this weekend! Natalie Lockhart is intelligent, tenacious, quick on her feet and lugging around a whole lot of baggage emotionally. The plot has a lot of twist and turns, I often thought I had it figured out - wrong! The story keeps you guessing to the end. The characters are as entertaining, endearing, in turns evil and despicable like a good installment of Rizzoli & Isles! Highly recommend this book - you'll re-read it to see what clues you could have possibly missed!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rajiv

    [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] Many thanks to Minotaur Books and Netgalley for providing me an ARC of this book! I was excited to read “The Wicked Hour” because I enjoyed reading the first book in the series “Trace of Evil“. The story turned out to be entertaining, but not as good as the first. Similar to “Trace of Evil”, they author introduces many characters who interacted with Morgan (the victim), and considered suspects. Each chapter introduces Natalie [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] Many thanks to Minotaur Books and Netgalley for providing me an ARC of this book! I was excited to read “The Wicked Hour” because I enjoyed reading the first book in the series “Trace of Evil“. The story turned out to be entertaining, but not as good as the first. Similar to “Trace of Evil”, they author introduces many characters who interacted with Morgan (the victim), and considered suspects. Each chapter introduces Natalie to a new suspect or motive, making the story fast and gripping. I liked some of the twists and turns, where everyone has secrets, and nobody is how they appear to be. Moreover, I loved the underlying theme of how people succumb to pressure of over-achieving. I know people in real life who broke down from the stress, where they couldn’t live to their family expectations. It was refreshing to see that aspect included in the mystery. Also, Natalie is wonderful as the main character. I liked her even more in this book because of how she struggles to cope with her guilt and shock from whatever transpired. However, while this was a very good read, but I felt it was not as compelling as book one. In the first book, even though there were multiple mystery plots, the author resolved them all in the end. But in this story, one sub-plot stays unresolved, which I didn’t expect. I expected all the story-lines to get closure in this story as well. Also, I missed the witch craft element that was hardly present in the story. While the first book had some spooky rituals taking place that made it atmospheric, this story felt more like a procedural. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this novel! I feel people reading this as a standalone would enjoy reading it even more.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Resa

    *I received a galley of this book for review purposes* The perfect book for post-Halloween fall melancholy, The Wicked Hour captures the crispness of the season in Burning Lake while pulling you along for a melodic page-turning mystery. Natalie is still reeling from catching the notorious Crow Killer when she's called to the scene of a girl's body in a dumpster. There are no signs of foul play. There is no obvious cause of death. There is no sign that anyone was in the alley with her when she craw *I received a galley of this book for review purposes* The perfect book for post-Halloween fall melancholy, The Wicked Hour captures the crispness of the season in Burning Lake while pulling you along for a melodic page-turning mystery. Natalie is still reeling from catching the notorious Crow Killer when she's called to the scene of a girl's body in a dumpster. There are no signs of foul play. There is no obvious cause of death. There is no sign that anyone was in the alley with her when she crawled into the dumpster. But the girl's similarity to Natalie's missing best friend--one who has been lost since childhood--make Natalie think it was more than just a Halloween party overdose. And as she digs into the case she realizes she might be on the heels of yet another serial killer. "In music, there was no such thing as perfect timing, she'd once read--music skipped random beats once in a while." I stepped into this book without having read the first in the series, A Trace of Evil, but Blanchard does an excellent job of providing just enough detail that I never felt lost while teasing the plot of book one. With so many mystery/detective series to choose from, it's nice to have one you can jump into without committing to a whole backlist until you're sure you'll love it. The Wicked Hour centers around the world of professional violinists and the mystery feels as melodic. Her pacing is spot on, the mystery starts out sonorous and slow, building to a crescendo and false leads and red-herring suspects, before crashing into its final movement in the conclusion. I found myself reading faster the further into the story I got, and my only complaint was that the ending seemed a touch too rushed. I would have preferred a slightly more drawn out conclusion, but it was still satisfying. As a police procedural, Blanchard doesn't get too tied down by process. All the steps are there, but she doesn't dwell on the minutiae of police work or investigation itself. Detective Lockhart is left to explore and follow clues on her own without too many pages spent tracking down search warrants or listening to the medical examiner. There are a few scenes of gore and jump-scare style reveals, all working to give this story a cinematic quality that would translate well if Netflix decides it needs another crime drama. Overall a read that's well worth your time. I'll be going back to read A Trace of Evil, and you still time to pick up book number one before The Wicked Hour comes out in December! *I received a galley of this book for review purposes*

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Thank you netgalley for this arc. This is the second book in the Natalie Lockhart series and it did not disappoint. If your a fan of police procedurals than this is the series for you! This read has you guessing right up until the end. And whaaa the last line of the book had me like 🤷‍♀️ I can't wait for the third in this series. If you haven't read the first one, Trace of evil, I would recommend reading it first just to have a little bit of background on the characters. Thank you netgalley for this arc. This is the second book in the Natalie Lockhart series and it did not disappoint. If your a fan of police procedurals than this is the series for you! This read has you guessing right up until the end. And whaaa the last line of the book had me like 🤷‍♀️ I can't wait for the third in this series. If you haven't read the first one, Trace of evil, I would recommend reading it first just to have a little bit of background on the characters.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amanda McHugh

    I love a good Halloween-time thriller, and The Wicked Hour did not disappoint. Natalie Lockhart is still reeling from a tragic series of events (which are covered in book 1 of this series). Depressed, alone, and confused, she throws herself into her work, a tactic that distracts her until she discovers a dead body in a dumpster the day after Halloween. With an assortment of leads and potential suspects, Natalie investigates the death despite political barriers and her own painful memories. I real I love a good Halloween-time thriller, and The Wicked Hour did not disappoint. Natalie Lockhart is still reeling from a tragic series of events (which are covered in book 1 of this series). Depressed, alone, and confused, she throws herself into her work, a tactic that distracts her until she discovers a dead body in a dumpster the day after Halloween. With an assortment of leads and potential suspects, Natalie investigates the death despite political barriers and her own painful memories. I really enjoyed this book. First, I will say that if you haven't read Trace of Evil, you might find the references and internal reflection a little confusing at first. That's not to say it's unreadable without knowing book one, but I can see where others might gain a deeper understanding of Natalie's character by taking the time to circle back. Focusing on this book alone, Natalie is an interesting, nuanced MC with a mixed bag of emotions. She's real and raw and I loved the quiet moments the best, where she struggles to figure out what she wants and who she is at this pivotal time in her life. The supporting cast is vivid and dynamic, and the scenery changes pretty much every chapter which helps the pacing and the propulsive plot. We meet quirky lab techs and holistic shop keepers, elite musicians, and folk fiddlers. And as an upstate New Yorker, I loved the references to the ADKs. Give me a familiar setting any day, and I will be all the more excited. There were a few details that I found distracting. First, and I understand this is a matter of personal preference, I dislike when characters think something to themselves and another character voices that same exact thought almost verbatim a minute later. That happens here a few times. Also, the dialogue was a bit repetitive, with several characters using the same odd turns of speech or phrasing anomalies. The plot is intriguing, though, and I appreciated the insight and exploration of the world of competitive orchestra. I look forward to fleshing out more of the connections that are hinted to here in the next installment. Natalie's complicated past and recovery are deliciously loaded with potential avenues. Overall, The Wicked Hour is a propulsive, engrossing story with plenty of twists. I'd recommend to anyone looking to start a new detective series or lovers of stories with Halloween backdrops. Big thanks to Minotaur and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Monnie

    In the end, I enjoyed getting to know Detective Natalie Lockhart through this book, the second in the series. But I also know my enjoyment was dampened because I had not read the first one - and I strongly advise new-to-the-series readers to start there. Natalie lives and works in Burning Lake, New York - a place that becomes a tourist mecca during its Mardi gras-style festivities at Halloween. Natalie herself is something of a heroine, following her much-publicized shooting of a serial killer s In the end, I enjoyed getting to know Detective Natalie Lockhart through this book, the second in the series. But I also know my enjoyment was dampened because I had not read the first one - and I strongly advise new-to-the-series readers to start there. Natalie lives and works in Burning Lake, New York - a place that becomes a tourist mecca during its Mardi gras-style festivities at Halloween. Natalie herself is something of a heroine, following her much-publicized shooting of a serial killer sometime earlier. Apparently, she's never quite come to terms with that killing - nor with other events involving her sister and some school-age friends that are not fully explained here (I assume they were detailed in the first book). As part of her healing process, I suppose, it also seems as though she's had an affair with half of the town's eligible men (which at times tends to muddle her thoughts as well as how she does her job). One of the events on Halloween night is a violin-playing contest, and this year is no exception. All goes well until it doesn't; the body of a young woman is found in a dumpster. She was one of the contestants - and, as it turns out, not the only violin virtuoso to have gone missing over the years. As the investigation progresses, a number of suspects emerge - some of whom force Natalie to question those she trusts. All this is complicated by her former relationship with her boss, Lt. Luke Pittman; she blames herself for breaking things off but doesn't know how or if they can get back to that status once again. Woven into the story is a thread of witchcraft; it seems quite a few of the townsfolk are "into" it - some more seriously than others. There's no real evidence up front that the practice is in any way related to the young woman's death, but it's another avenue that must not be overlooked. Also woven into the story are glimpses of events from the first book, such as the sudden disappearance of one of Natalie's childhood friends who also happened to have been a budding violinist. As I said at the beginning, I would have enjoyed this one much more had a more thorough background from the first book been provided. That said, it's good enough on its own that I won't hesitate to read the next one (the ending here, which was a bit unexpected, increased my anticipation). Thanks to the publisher, via NetGalley, for allowing me to read and review a pre-release copy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Wicked Hour. I enjoyed the first book in the series so I was excited when my request was approved. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** The book picks up not long after the end of the first book. Detective Natalie Lockhart is now a celebrity after the events of the first book, but her notoriety is not something she relishes. She is grieving the loss of her family, having trouble sleeping and is being weaned off her medication for depression. When the body of a you Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Wicked Hour. I enjoyed the first book in the series so I was excited when my request was approved. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** The book picks up not long after the end of the first book. Detective Natalie Lockhart is now a celebrity after the events of the first book, but her notoriety is not something she relishes. She is grieving the loss of her family, having trouble sleeping and is being weaned off her medication for depression. When the body of a young woman is found after the Halloween festivities at Burning Lake, a celebration the entire town looks forward to for its financial boost to their local economy, Natalie is confronted with childhood memories of a BFF who had been (mistakenly) assumed to have been abducted...or was she? This is a straight forward police procedural as Natalie pounds the pavement and investigates leads and interviews suspects but most of the narrative read like filler. There was too much exposition on the locals, unnecessary information that didn't add anything to the story. It felt like each person Natalie interviewed had to give a brief biography of his or her life and why they had ended in the position they now found themselves in. Also, when the identity of the murderer is revealed, it felt abrupt, out of left field and no plausible explanation behind the murders were ever given. The Wicked Hour was decently written yet read as unnecessarily wordy; I felt no emotional connection to the characters or to Natalie's growth as a detective. I will read the next book in the series because I did enjoy the first book.

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