Reviews for Black Hour


Booklist Reviews 2014 May #1
*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. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Library Journal Reviews 2014 July #1

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.]

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2014 May #2

Sociology professor Amelia Emmet, the heroine of Rader-Day's exceptional debut, returns to Rothbert University, near Chicago, 10 months after a student shot her and killed himself. Struggling with physical and mental problems caused by her injuries, Amelia is equally aware of irony: she's a scholar of violence in society, yet has no idea why she was attacked, had no acquaintance with the perpetrator, and only the sketchiest of memories of the incident. Nathaniel "Nath" Barber, her teaching assistant and student of Chicago's gangland past, is eager to investigate and soon links the shooter with associates of Rothbert's suicide hotline. Meanwhile, a reporter seems too conveniently at hand when trouble arises, an eccentric array of campus colleagues are inclined to blame the victim, and a scion of Rothbert's founder may have taken entitlement to a new extreme. Chapters that alternate between Amelia and Nath's viewpoints provide an irresistible combination of menace, betrayal, and self-discovery. Agent: Sarah Bowers, Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management. (July)

[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

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