Read The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day Online


For Chicago sociology professor Amelia Emmet, violence was a research topic--until a student she'd never met shot her. He also shot himself. Now he's dead and she's back on campus, trying to keep up with her class schedule, a growing problem with painkillers, and a question she can't let go: Why?All she wants is for life to get back to normal, but normal is looking hard toFor Chicago sociology professor Amelia Emmet, violence was a research topic--until a student she'd never met shot her. He also shot himself. Now he's dead and she's back on campus, trying to keep up with her class schedule, a growing problem with painkillers, and a question she can't let go: Why?All she wants is for life to get back to normal, but normal is looking hard to come by. She's thirty-eight and hobbles with a cane. Her first student interaction ends in tears (hers). Her fellow faculty members seem uncomfortable with her, and her ex--whom she may or may not still love--has moved on.Enter Nathaniel Barber, a graduate student obsessed with Chicago's violent history. Nath is a serious scholar, but also a serious mess about his first heartbreak, his mother's death, and his father's disapproval.  Assigned as Amelia's teaching assistant, Nath also takes on the investigative legwork that Amelia can't do. And meanwhile, he's hoping she'll approve his dissertation topic, the reason he came to grad school in the first place: the student attack on Amelia Emmet. Together and at cross-purposes, Amelia and Nathaniel stumble toward a truth that will explain the attack and take them both through the darkest hours of their lives.From the Trade Paperback edition....

Title : The Black Hour
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781616148867
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 209 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Black Hour Reviews

  • Lori Rader-Day
    2019-05-29 11:30

    Well, of course I'm giving my own book five stars. What would YOU do?

  • Aditi
    2019-05-28 13:21

    Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little), also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, who was an American Black Muslim minister and a spokesman for the Nation of Islam, has quoted "violence" as:“Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the Gun down.” Lori Rader-Day, an American author, has spun a spectacular tale about violence in her debut book, The Black Hour. The author has extended the horizon to let us see through the very lives behind the campus corridors and classrooms and playground, where every day without our any knowledge, a student-teacher relationship blossoms which might sound very significant from their perspective but we never get to know the end of those relationships. And the author has not only focused on those forbidden closed-door relationships, but has also made us enlighten with the reasons behind the petty violence occurring every single day!I can't thank enough to the author, Lori Rader-Day, who provided me with a review copy of her debut book. A sociology professor named, Amelia Emmet, who gets shot, be one of her fellow student and after shooting her, that boy shot himself to death. Now a year has passed, Amelia Emmet is back into her teaching profession, but it seems adjusting with her old curriculum sounds quite challenging. It's getting hard for her to handle those weird stares in the hallway, sinister looks in the staffroom, etc. Then comes, Nath Barber, who is her new Teaching Assistant and wants to do his dissertation on the attack on Amelia. Two human beings, searching for the same answers, and hence they find themselves on the crossroads where they need to learn to trust and believe each other to move on the same path, which is not only excruciating, but also dark, challenging and infernal. Will their journey be fruitful and be able to find all the hidden pieces to the puzzle? The author is a mastermind, who knows how to make her readers sweat it out with anticipation, which nearly killed me. She has brilliantly kept the mystery hidden till the very climax and along with Amelia; we too were clueless as to why such an attack occurred on her. And from the very first page, there is a smell of suspense that is quite unraveling and utterly sinister. And the characters make the plot more justifiable, with their flaws and complexity, they make themselves believable and sounds like some everyday characters. The characters have that depth to pull you into the very core of the tale/mystery. I loved how the author has unfolded her twists and turns at the very right moments all throughout the book. And what to say about the plot- it’s completely packed with thrill and makes your heart and soul gripped to the plot till its very end.Verdict:It’s not every day that you'll come across such a compelling and thoroughly thrilling debut novel. Don't miss out this dark novel which will put you on the very edge of the thrill!

  • Bonny
    2019-06-01 08:20

    Pros:*Interesting Story IdeaCons:*The interesting story idea is never developed and wanders all over the map.*It is poorly written and poorly edited, e.g. "wretched" and "retched" are different words!*None of the characters were developed well enough for me to understand their actions, let alone their thoughts.*The book is billed as a "whydunnit", but the reason why the villain did it is so implausible as to border on ridiculous.*The protagonist can't seem to decide what she wants - excessive pain medication, excessive alcohol, lusting after nearly any male in sight, or all of the above.*The sociology graduate program at Rothbert must be very low-key. Nathaniel's TA duties seem very light, and even though he was taking a graduate Methods of Research class, his methods of research seemed nonexistent. Given that I can only find one "pro" and so many "cons", I can only muster two stars for this disjointed novel.

  • Zoeytron
    2019-06-15 15:06

    For Amelia Emmet, a professor of sociology, the study of human behavior has taken a spot up close and very personal in her life. Ten months after surviving a seemingly random attack by a student who shot her and then took his own life, she returns to her teaching position at a renowned Chicago university. Trying to fit back into her life as she knew it proves more difficult than she anticipated. As a result of her gunshot wounds, she now walks with a cane. There are gaps in her memory of the incident, pushed all the way to the back of a dark shelf in the closet of her mind. She knows the recollections are there, but cannot quite reach them. In the meantime, students' backpacks seem huge, sinister and lurking. Facial expressions take on whole new meanings, nuanced and threatening. Although I had some notions of how this might turn out, all of them were wrong. What a treat it is to be surprised this late in the game! I enjoyed every minute of it.This was a first-reads giveaway, thank you. I loved the author's final line in her acknowledgments, too.

  • Kim Rader
    2019-05-26 09:07

    Lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of this. Clear your day once you start reading, because you won’t want to put this down. Here are some of my favorite things about this book… 1. Characters full of flaws. Who wants to read something with perfect, unrealistic characters? Better to be able to identify with their fears and snarkiness. Especially the snarkiness. Right? 2. At one point in the book, I suspected EVERYBODY. WTF? I love it when I can’t predict where a book is going. 3. The fast-paced, thrilling climax. This is when you don’t want to put the book down people. Let me tell you, I was reading this at lunch. And someone came in and interrupted me right at the end of Chapter 43. Once you read this, you will realize why I was considering lunging across the lunch table. I ended up having to finish it on my commute home. My train arrived when I was so close to the end that I sat in my car and finished it before I left the station. Definitely reminded me of some of my favorite authors… Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, Sophie Hannah. When this comes out in July, get yourself to a bookstore, pronto.

  • Christa
    2019-06-03 11:19

    I really was not a fan of this book, but it gets two stars from me because I actually finished it.But, while I was reading it, I kept asking myself, "Why am I finishing this?" And I don't really have an answer, except maybe I just kept hoping it would get better. The problem with it, I think, is that it teased me into maybe becoming invested, but then it would go back to dragging. So I kept reading hoping that the pace would pick up and snare me in, but it never did.I found the book confusing--it was a little hard to keep track of who was who, though that may have been because I was guilty of skimming. I didn't really connect with any of the characters, and the big reveal was kind of a downer.

  • Reff Girl
    2019-06-02 15:25

    The Black HourThis debut thriller by Lori Rader-Day gives us Dr. Amelia Emmet, a Sociology professor at Rothbert University, a fictional university on the shores of Lake Michigan near Chicago. Her field of study is violence and society, and she herself is only recently coming back to work after having been shot by a student.The police believe that this was a random act of violence, since the shooter Leonard (Leo) Lehane was not a student of hers and there seems to be no connection. Or is there?The rest of the novel follows Amelia as she tries to come back and resume teaching at Rothbert and uncovering the details of her attack. While this novel has been compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, it fails to deliver both the mood and tension of a classic thriller.On the first day back Amelia hires PhD candidate Nathanial Barber as her teaching assistant, who has his own ghoulish fetish about crime, specifically Al Capone. Nath, as he is now called, is battling his own demons, but now thinks he needs to find out what happened to his professor. Amelia is also battling feelings of ex-lover and department head Nicholas Doyle, who is now married, and a local reporter Ryan McDaniel who is following both she and Nath, because he is sure they are running their own investigation into the attack.Add to the plot, a twisted head of the college suicide hotline, and rich student scion of the Rothbert family who sports loafers with real pennies in them, and you have a Hungarian stew of stock characters and plot lines.We never connect with Amelia, even has she tries to navigate her daily routine with a broken body. She spends little time with her students and she has a bad drinking habit and is inappropriate with Nath. She constantly refers to him as a “kid.” It is hard to imagine that one refers to a PhD candidate as a kid. Amelia is also attracted to everything that walks. She detests McDaniel, but then he starts to look good to her. There is nothing in the plot that suddenly makes him endearing or interesting. Needless to say the Sociology Department needs group therapy, as Amelia finds out that her office-mate and supposed best friend Corrine is sleeping with a student. All the multiple plots converge during a Rothbert University end-of the season, school-wide sail on Lake Michigan. A storm is coming; the sail boats are being tossed around. Shots are fired from a near-by boat, there is a splash as someone falls in. But Amelia’s ex-lover Doyle, now captaining the sociology department boat, can only announce to everyone on board that he doesn’t know what to do.How about a cell phone call and life preservers?This debut thriller novel failed to live up to its hype--with characters who fail to draw us in, and a plot which was implausible from start to finish,

  • Holly
    2019-06-12 16:23

    DNF - My sister randomly picked this book up at the library so I decided to check it out too so we could read it together. I got through 18% of it (chapter 9) and I just was completely bored and uninterested. The college professor, Amelia, was already shot before the story begins so there's no real thrilling parts introduced early on to grab your attention - not even via a flashback. Her new student assistant, Nathaniel (who is not the shooter, because that kid is dead), apparently chose the college for his graduate degree just so he could study her case for his potential dissertation although he doesn't know exactly what about her shooting he was going to focus on, which makes approximately zero sense. Amelia was only slightly a sympathetic character but mainly she was just kind of whiny and drug addled from pain pills and Nathaniel was just completely unrealistic as a college student. I didn't care about either of them. The writing itself was awkward and choppy where I had to re-read sentences in order to understand them at times, so I just couldn't get into it. Pass.For the record, my sister only made it to chapter 2 before she called it quits, so I wasn't alone in my feelings about this book.

  • Stefani Sloma
    2019-06-08 10:30

    The Black Hour is the best debut novel I have read in a while. I was blown away by it.The Black Hour is about a professor, Amelia Emmet, at a university who was shot in the gut the year before by a student who shot her and then himself. It’s about a graduate student, Nath Barber, who becomes her TA and wants to do his dissertation on what happened to her. It is about those two people, but it is about so much more. The Black Hour is about going through some of the most difficult things in your life and hoping to make it through to the other side. Amelia didn’t know the student who shot her nor why he did it, but no one believes that. It is only through her connection to Nath and a little-bit-obsessive reporter that she begins the journey to the truth. I’ve got to say that I thought I knew where this book was going to go, and I was pleasantly surprised shocked. It keeps you in suspense the whole time and all of the twists and turns in the story kept me on the edge of my seat and turning pages (okay, pushing the “next page” button on my Kindle). The plot was so well thought-out and nothing is out of place. Rader-Day’s prose is wonderful: gripping, tight, and completely compelling. One of my favorite things about this book is how flawed these characters are and how wholly believable they feel. They are complex. They are human. Rader-Day has created characters that you could meet on the street. I was blown away by how REAL they felt to me. It’s hard to categorize The Black Hour. It’s a perfect combination of mystery, thriller, crime, and literary fiction. The best part is that you don’t have to be a fan of all of those things to enjoy it. You don’t have to be a crime fiction fan to enjoy this book. It was practically unputdownable for me. Not only was I in suspense the entire time, but I also found myself laughing out loud several times as well. I honestly can’t believe that this is Rader-Day’s debut novel. It’s easy to tell that she’s been writing for a long time. Her prose felt comfortable, polished. I read an e-ARC of The Black Hour, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying myself a physical copy after the novel comes out. I cannot wait to see what comes next from this author.If you want to learn a little more about The Black Hour, I discussed two of my favorite quotes from the book on my blog, Caught Read Handed.

  • Mari
    2019-06-15 14:08

    I've been gathering my thoughts on this book for about a day now, and I don't think I'm any closer to pinpointing where it went wrong, or even, what it got right. The good and bad all sort of melt together and amble along.For a while throughout the beginning of the story, I had to push myself to keep reading. The introduction on paper is intriguing, but in practice failed to fully hook me. Pacing got better and it was almost like this book kept wooing me back, only to disappoint me again with poor pacing, padded plot lines and repetition. But then, like, I wanted to know. I wanted to know why Amelia was shot. Perhaps the above could've been forgiven if the characters were better developed. Again, it's hard to say how much was lack of development and how much was simply that I couldn't invest anything in the characters presented. None of them felt real enough to relate to or sensational enough to be entertained by.I found the prose a bit hard to follow at times, especially when the author was describing action. In the end, the big explanation was incredibly hard to buy into. It painted on character into a big time villain, and one whose motivation I just cannot comprehend. The confrontation in the penultimate scene is forced. I just kept about the 1001 ways that it could've been avoided or that the damage could've been lessened. Still, the overall effect is confusing. The book was okay. In fact, I almost gave it three stars, but it wasn't until I started listing off everything I felt went wrong that it really hit me. So yes, it's two stars, but I wouldn't discourage someone from say, checking this out from the library the way I did. I wouldn't purchase it because I can't imagine reading this story again.

  • Marc
    2019-05-29 14:11

    What a frustrating book.I gave it three stars because I did finish it - I did want to know, at least, what had happened to the main character, a professor who gets shot for no apparent reason by a student she had never met, and is essentially blamed by her own university for something that they think, despite the evidence, that she must have been involved in. So the book did hold my interest to keep reading to the end. Some books I just give up on when it doesn't seem to be coming together - this one I held on through because the main character and plot is interesting, and the book does start off strong.Also, Lori Rader-Day clearly has talent. There's a technique she uses - occasionally annoying, but more often clever - in which the first person switches from one character to another. At first this is extremely confusing, but once you get what she is doing, it's intriguing to see the same situation play out in real time in two different character's heads. She does a good job painting a fairly realistic ultra-rich college in the Chicago suburbs for her setting as well.OK, now the bad parts. Throughout this novel, something seemed a little "off" and I couldn't quite put my finger on it until the end. What it is, essentially, is that none of the characters seem "real." By that, I mean their motivations are not clear, their words don't seem to be things that normal people would reply, and their attitudes often switch when it's convenient to the plot. The main character - is she a dedicated professor who has been falsely accused of having something to do with her own shooting? Is she a sex-obsessed childlike girl who has contemplated affairs with her students? I could barely figure out her approximate age, let alone her physical capabilities - at one point she can barely walk, and then one hundred pages later she can swim? Her PhD student - is he a shy, confused tutor who has weird obsessions, or is he a confident swaggering student who can hold his own when unraveling mysteries? It's great to have characters have different motivations and interests, but when one contradicts the other within the same person, it becomes unbelievable and contrivances of the plot. It might have worked if we knew anything about the character's pasts, but throughout the novel, we never learn any of that. Those two characters I still could have handled, but other characters - an intrepid reporter who seems to know everything, a suicide hotline operator who makes wisecracks that others - even in the midst of danger - respond to with weird jokes, and worst of all a character that is so obviously named from a Harlan Coban book series that Rader-Day is trying, I think, to emulate, is so distracting as to take you entirely out of the novel. There are more minor distractions that take you out of the plot as well - the professor repeatedly calling her dissertation a "book" or a "novel" a particularly galling one. Nobody in college refers to their dissertation like that. The plot has a similar problem. Rader-Day clearly knows where she wants the plot to go, but has to take time getting there, and in doing so, the plot speeds up and then slows way down. Characters will learn something and then seem to give up out of frustration for a while until being re-motivated by someone else. Once the plot does get going, finally, the end it builds to is so ridiculous as to be laughable. Not the answer to who shot her - that's OK, I guess, but could have been handled better - but the location, on a boat, in which it's not clear whether two characters actually know how to swim but freely get on the boat anyway.There's a good book in here, it just needs editing and cleaning. Rader-Day has talent and she may find a voice somewhere in between that of Harlan Coben and Gillian Flynn, who I think she is trying to capture here. There's some possibility of that, but she has to write tighter, more focused characters and a cleaner, more straight-ahead plot. Coben gets away with somewhat unbelievable characters because his stories are so clean. Flynn gets away with somewhat unlikable characters because her plots are so focused. But you can't write a mystery with inconsistent characters making their way through a meandering plot and have it work on either level.

  • Carol
    2019-06-15 15:28

    This debut had all the makings of a read I'd love. Don't get me wrong, 3 stars are solid but I was hoping to rate it 4. What went wrong? I'm not quite certain. The Black Hour begins when Professor Amelia Emmett returns to teach her sociology class after a long hiatus due to being shot by a student. This leaves Emmett with a cane and reeling with questions as to what caused this particular student to shoot her. After all she didn't know this boy the one she has only seen while facing him in the corridor outside her office and in his grainy picture in the paper. She can't question Leonard Lehane as he took his life after trying to kill her. I want to know too but struggle throughout to make sense as clues are revealed to the answer. It seems clumsy at times though the writing is not. I never really got attached to the characters. I knew well before the end what that outcome would be but got totally bored in getting there. I did like thinking about the moral question of whether professors can have relationships with students and also the appeal of liaisons with huge age differences. I think Lori Rader-Day has potential in this genre. GoodReads voters have found this a better read than me giving it an average of 4 stars. The Black Hour received starred reviews from Library Journal, Booklist and Publishers Weekly. Make your own decision. I'll be waiting to read your comments.

  • Sherri
    2019-05-29 12:18

    I can't say this was filled with suspense or riveting action, but I couldn't put it down this weekend. The Black Hour is a psychological drama that unfolds slowly as the thoughts of the two central characters (who alternate voices throughout the novel) are revealed - along with self-doubt and self-loathing. The answers aren't revealed until nearly the end of the novel and I was guessing the whole way through - and my guesses were wrong. I like the surprising, but subtle twists in the novel. A strong first novel. I look forward to reading more of Rader-Day's work in the future.

    2019-05-22 10:32

    This book was all over the place and at times hard to follow. The characters were mostly boring and whiney.

  • Gina
    2019-06-01 09:21

    Goodreads Descriptions- For Chicago sociology professor Amelia Emmet, violence was a research topic--until a student she'd never met shot her. He also shot himself. Now he's dead and she's back on campus, trying to keep up with her class schedule, a growing problem with painkillers, and a question she can't let go: Why?All she wants is for life to get back to normal, but normal is looking hard to come by. She's thirty-eight and hobbles with a cane. Her first student interaction ends in tears (hers). Her fellow faculty members seem uncomfortable with her, and her ex--whom she may or may not still love--has moved on.Enter Nathaniel Barber, a graduate student obsessed with Chicago's violent history. Nath is a serious scholar, but also a serious mess about his first heartbreak, his mother's death, and his father's disapproval. Assigned as Amelia's teaching assistant, Nath also takes on the investigative legwork that Amelia can't do. And meanwhile, he's hoping she'll approve his dissertation topic, the reason he came to grad school in the first place: the student attack on Amelia Emmet. Together and at cross-purposes, Amelia and Nathaniel stumble toward a truth that will explain the attack and take them both through the darkest hours of their lives.This is an interesting read about relationships, violence and it's true nature, and the finding your true identity. It's prosaic style can be difficult to follow at times but I got used to the writing style pretty quickly. The writing style did add to the dark mood of the story that I don't think realistic fiction writing could do in the same way. Everyone in the story wants to know what happened that fateful night that Amelia Emmet was shot but Amelia. She is stuck in her painful life and doesn't know what to do with herself. She finds herself feeling that she doesn't belong anymore with all the stares and colleagues tripping over words around her. She just wants to go back to before. While Amelia is drowning out the pain with alcohol and pain pills, Nath, her grad student, and Rory McDaniel, a local reporter, are busy digging up secrets and getting to know people who may know more than they say about the night of the shooting. The climax of the story surpised me. The author did a good job throwing in some red herrings. Without any spoilers, the scene when the secrets all spill out had me sitting on the edge of my seat. However, the author wrapped up the book way too simplistic. I felt like she was done telling her story and was just wiping her hands of it. I thought there should have been more to it since all through the story there was this feeling of darkness and the writing was very noir. But the ending felt completely different and it was too much of a change in such a short amount of time. Not just reading time but even the time that passes in the book. If the ending would have been better it would have been a 5 star book. All in all though, this was a pretty impressive book for a debut author and I will definitely be checking out any of her future work. 4 stars!

  • Larry H
    2019-06-15 11:07

    It has been a while since I've gotten so engrossed in a book that I nearly missed my metro stop, but that happened when nearing the end of Lori Rader-Day's well-written and compelling The Black Hour. Luckily I looked up just as I realized where we were!Dr. Amelia Emmet is a sociology professor specializing in the study of violence at a prestigious Chicago university. She is well-respected and driven. Then one day the unthinkable happens—a student shoots her and then kills himself. No one understands what drove the student to violence, although most are quick to believe it was something Amelia did, that perhaps the two had an illicit relationship that caused him to try and kill her. But Amelia never knew him, and has no idea why this student would shoot her before taking his own life.Much to the surprise of her colleagues, Amelia returns to school 10 months later. She's struggling emotionally and physically, and isn't sure if she can muster the enthusiasm to teach again, but she needs to be back at work. Maybe she's a little dependent on painkillers, maybe finding out that her ex-lover has gotten married has thrown her for a bit of a loop, but she can handle it, can't she?Nathaniel (Nath) Barber is a graduate student who comes to Chicago because he's obsessed with its violent history—Al Capone and the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, to name a few. And he's a little too interested in what happened to Amelia, which leads him to become her teaching assistant. Nath has his own emotional issues, stemming from his mother's death and the end of a relationship, so he understands the darkness that might lead someone to take their own life. But he also begins to realize that Amelia needs more help than she's willing to let on.Nath and Amelia begin to uncover the truth about the shooting, and catch the attention of an investigative reporter who covered the incident. Yet as they search for answers, they find themselves in an increasingly tangled web, one which forces them to plumb their own emotional depths and confront their own issues.I had my suspicions about how Rader-Day would tie up The Black Hour, and I was mostly correct, but the fact that it was somewhat predictable (at least to me) didn't detract in the slightest from its appeal. I couldn't stop reading this book because I was completely drawn into the plot, and found the characters really appealing despite their quirks, so I wanted to know what happened to them.This is a really enjoyable book—it's a well-written novel with some good suspense thrown in. I look forward to seeing what comes next for Lori Rader-Day. I'll be waiting.

  • Lynn
    2019-06-18 11:16

    Actually finished this last night but didn't take the time to review before going to bed! I loved this book! Really creepy without being too scary for me, if that makes any sense. And though I kept getting closer to identifying the perpetrator(s) and the underlying causes, I didn't piece it all together until the characters did. I also like Amelia. She is certainly no generous, exceedingly kind, or necessarily thoughtful person, but definitely flawed--with baggage--lots of baggage. And I like the fact we don't get ALL the details about her past and what has probably molded her into this flawed adult. I ended up liking Nick. And, of course, people like Cor, I mean how could you ever forgive that? Not I, and I feel relatively certain, neither could Amelia. And Nath. How unlikely was it that he and Amelia shared so many feelings in common about themselves? Especially given his obsession?!?I would compare Rader-Day to Tana French. She can create a place and especially an atmosphere that provides the underlying framework for the small world of her characters. I had to remind myself at times that Amelia was actually young (to me at least!) and not old, which revealed to me my own preconceptions that I would immediately classify someone as injured and disabled as she was as "old" or "older." It surprised me how much I had to keep reminding myself of that!Can't wait to meet the author in 3 days!! What a talent she has!! So anxious to read her second book, too!!

  • Bandit
    2019-05-28 13:19

    I was after a psychological mystery/thriller, this book certainly markets itself as one, but alas it just didn't really work. It had all the right ingredients, there was a mystery shooting, tons of psychology behind and around it, but it never quite came together for a cohesive thrilling total sum. Instead there was a dramatically overwritten plot with neither particularly interesting nor charismatic characters and by the time the story dragged itself to its resolution one just didn't care that much either way. This is a debut novel, it reads like one, it isn't terrible but any means, but it does come across (and the amount of female reader reviews on GR should have been a giveaway) like something of a heavier version of heavier chicklit or women's fiction...or a Lifetime movie. Fairly quick read, but I wouldn't recommend it. Too frustrating and doesn't live up to its promise.

  • Jane
    2019-06-19 14:05

    A fascinating mystery that looks backwards and forwards.Sociology professor Amelia Emmet is returning to teaching at Rothberg College after a 10-month absence. The absence was not by choice. Ten months ago a young student shot her and then shot himself. She didn't know him and has no idea why he did it. But no one believes that. Why would Leo Lehane target her specifically? In the months that she has been slowly, painfully trying to gain a semblance of her old life, the speculation on campus has been running rampant. So her transition back into her job is not easy. Not least because she still has so many questions herself.It is her connection with new graduate student, Nathaniel Barber, and a local reporter that give Amelia the push she needs to try and figure out just why she was attacked.Suspenseful and well-written, this is a great debut.

  • Maddy
    2019-05-22 11:03

    PROTAGONIST: Amelia Emmett, university professor, and her teaching assistant, Nathaniel BarberSETTING: Fictional collegeRATING: 2.25WHY: Ten months ago, Amelia Emmett was shot by a college student she had never met, who then committed suicide. She's had some mobility problems ever since, having to use a cane. When she returns to work, she seemed intent on believing the worst of everyone around her, that she was being shunned and judged by her colleagues and students alike. I had a hard time with this - wouldn’t most people treat her with sympathy? After all, she was the victim, not the perpetrator. And why would using a cane make people disdain her? There's a weird relationship with her new teaching assistant, Nate Barber. After a lot of whining from both of them, things took off about 200 pages later. This book didn't work very well for me.

  • Andrew
    2019-06-01 14:32

    What could have been an insightful analysis of body trauma was traded in for a half-baked melodrama that might air on ABC Family.

  • Robyn
    2019-06-11 10:12

    Seriously could NOT put it down!

  • Elena Hartwell
    2019-05-21 08:09

    Great writing, leans toward literary. Set on a college campus with two POVs, one professor, one student. No graphic sex or violence. Amateur sleuths unravel events around the shooting of the professor several months before the start of the book.

  • Col
    2019-05-24 12:31

    Synopsis/blurb…….For sociology professor Amelia Emmet, violence was a research topic—until a student she’d never met shot her. He also shot himself. Now he’s dead and she’s stuck with a cane and one question she can’t let go: Why her? All she wants is for life to get back to normal. Better than normal, actually, since life was messy before she was shot. Then graduate student Nathaniel Barber offers to help her track down some answers. He’s got a crush and his own agenda—plans to make her his killer dissertation topic. Together and at cross-purposes, Amelia and Nathaniel stumble toward a truth that will explain the attack and take them both through the darkest hours of their lives."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-------------------------My take...Another debut novel for me here and another mystery set in the world of academia, with the fictional setting of Rothbert University, a prestigious establishment at its heart. Our story is delivered by dual narrators. Firstly, Amelia Emmet as we pick up with her on her return to work, 10 months after being shot by a student, who then turned his gun on himself. Emmet is interesting as a character. She’s by turns, deserving of our sympathy as she struggles with the realities of her physical disability in the aftermath of the incident as well as the emotional distress she feels, especially returning to the scene of the crime. At other points she irritates and annoys with her treatment of those around her. On the whole mostly sympathetic, by virtue of her victim status but not really likeable. She’s flawed which is what makes her credible.Our second narrator is Nathaniel Barber. He’s a post-graduate student, who has a bit of an obsession with violent crime and a fixation on Amelia’s shooting in particular. He wrangles his way into a job as Emmet’s teaching assistant. This comes across as a bit creepy, until we learn more about him. He’s a bit of a loner, is dis-connected from his father and still dealing with the aftermath of his mother’s death a year or so ago and the more recent break-up with his girlfriend. Less interesting than Amelia, but more sympathetic. At the heart of the mystery is the quest for an explanation behind the shooting, which the police have decided was random. Both our narrators seek answers and have a common purpose in finding answers.We are introduced to other professors and students at the university. We see the interactions between the teaching fraternity – the jealousies, the friendships, the barely concealed animosities and the competitiveness. There’s the head of department – a former love interest of Amelia’s, who has now married; there’s a reporter, traipsing around the campus, dogging Nath and Amelia; there’s the idle rich, silver-spooned, sailor-dude student and there’s the aloof and controlling co-ordinator of the student counselling service, designed to help depressed and suicidal, especially during The Black Hour. Overall an enjoyable book, that had me flipping between suspects as it reached the climax.4 from 5Lori Rader-Day’s website is here. ( to Meghan at Seventh Street Books for my copy.

  • Natalia Sylvester
    2019-05-31 13:28

    Lori Rader-Day's debut about a sociology professor's return to campus after being the sole victim of a school shooting (aside from the shooter himself) is a brilliant read. It's a page-turner for sure, but it's also a fascinating take on the traditional "whodunnit" mystery because the real driving question to the story is "why"? Why this student, and why this professor his victim? The novel is told from the point of view of Dr. Amelia Emmett and her teaching assistant, Nathaniel Barber (who has his own secret interest in her shooting), and the author vividly brings both to life. I was impressed by the strength of each character's voice, and how clearly we as the readers could see their secrets, their desires, their motivations and baggage, while they themselves could not. It made for a terrific character study in tandem with the mystery's unfolding of events, in addition to a whip-smart commentary on our times and our relationship to violence. You'll definitely keep thinking about this one long after you've turned the final page.

  • M.P. Cooley
    2019-06-12 09:11

    I loved The Black Hour. As the book begins, the worst has already happened: a sociology professor has been shot by a student. In less skilled hands, the fact that we know who did it from page one could have killed the story, but Rader-Day manages to make the question of “why” so compelling that I found myself racing ahead, trying to tease out the dark motives of this group of characters. At the center of it all is Professor Amelia Emmet, cranky, smart, and damaged not quite beyond repair by both the bullet and other people’s suspicions about why she was shot and whether she deserved it. Amelia’s struggles with her body, her mind, and the truth about what was really behind the attack make her a very real and very compelling, and I admired her as she pushed through pain and trouble over and over again. With great writing, a true-to-life claustrophobic academic setting, and a pair of narrators who might be too damaged to be trusted, The Black Hour is great storytelling.This review is based on a galley of the book

  • Rina
    2019-05-22 09:32

    this story surrounds somewhat of a mystery at a university: they have a hotline for anyone who's thinking suicide, yet every year at least one student commits same. then there's the woman professor, Amelia Emmett who gets shot in the gut and is out of commission for 10 months, which is the actual start of the mystery as her mind gets back the memories of that day. it's twisty but not until the last third of the book. the one thing I did not like is some of the writing is throwing out thoughts; I had a hard time following sometimes. may have even had to go back a few lines to recheck. Good ending, which is just what I like.

  • Susan
    2019-05-26 13:22

    Lori Rader-Day knows the academic setting, and she captures the angst and envy lurking behind every campus doorway – unrelenting competition among overblown egos and the insecure, professors and students alike, together in a quest for larger truths amid distracting temptations to focus on one’s own personal problems. Most impressive about this suspense debut: the unfolding tale of how easily an individual can goad another into hatred, suicide, or murder.

  • Jennie Randolph
    2019-06-08 14:03

    Just finished a galley of The Black Hour, and it was fabulous! It's a fascinating look at the aftermath of a campus shooting and the mystery of piecing together the who and why of the incident. The alternating of narrators is clear and serves to increase the suspense. Characters are both complex and likable, at least on some level, and their interactions highlight how common experience can link people in unexpected ways. Looking forward to more from Lori Rader-Day!

  • Janice
    2019-06-10 14:28

    The story idea was good and if the author followed through on developing that storyline and developing the characters, it would have been a better book. I didn't care about any of the characters - really didn't know much about them - and I really got tired of the 'poor me' attitude of the main character - it was too much.