Monthly Archives: July 2014

Passing Time Inside The Black Hour

Black HourThe Black Hour
Lori Rader-Day
Seventh Street Books
Trade Paper, 331 pp., $15.95
Ebook $11.99 Kindle Nook

The Black Hour is Lori Rader-Day’s debut novel. It takes place in the halls of academia, and it shows a good look at the maneuverings that occur in the ivory tower.

The story concerns Amelia Emmet, professor of sociology at a small and rather prestigious private university and victim of a shooting. A student named Leonard Lehane shot Amelia outside her office one evening then turned the gun on himself. Now a year later Amelia has physically recovered enough to return to work. Psychologically she still has some healing to do.

I found the backstory, and figuring out the real backstory is the heart of the mystery, to be quite engaging on a personal level. I work in academia, and for my sins, I was asked earlier this year to serve on a disciplinary committee. The thought of a student coming after me has crossed my mind more than once. It doesn’t help that my office is in a building in which three murders have occurred, one of them a beheading. (My wife is not aware of that, and we’ll just keep it that way, shall we?) Continue reading

The Return of Ellie Stone

No Stone_coverNo Stone Unturned
James W. Ziskin
Seventh Street Books
trade paper, 285 pp., $15.95
ebook $11.99 Kindle Nook

The first Ellie Stone mystery (Styx and Stone, reviewed here) introduced us to the young journalist as she investigated an assault on her father. I found Ellie to be a delightfully flawed protagonist, one who drank and slept around as much as her male counterparts, and with little to no thought of the consequences.

In that inaugural volume of what I hope will be a long running series, all the action took place in New York City and revolved around academic intrigues as Ellie’s father was a respected Dante scholar. For No Stone Unturned, Ellie is back in the small town in upstate New York where she’s been working as a reporter for a few years.

It’s been less than a year since the events in Styx and Stone, and Ellie is still dealing with the emotional wounds she suffered as a result of the events in the first book. When a hunter discovers the nude body of a prominent judge buried in a shallow grave in the woods over Thanksgiving weekend, it could be Ellie’s big break.

If she can survive the investigation, that is. Continue reading