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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clock Ticking, 31 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Killing Hour (Paperback)
"The Killing Hour", first published in 2003, is the sixth novel Lisa Gardner has published under her own name. She has also published twelve other novels under the name "Alicia Scott".

The book's villain is labelled the Eco-Killer, a serial killer who first struck in Georgia in 1998. Generally, his actions are apparently triggered by a heat-wave : he'd kidnap young women in pairs and kill the first - leaving the body in places where it'd be easily found. The second victim, however, wouldn't be so much killed as left to die in an inhospitable environment. While the killer leaves clues to the second girl's location on the first girl's body, the second girl isn't necessarily going to be saved. Initially, the authorities don't realise they're being played with and tested - yet, even when they do realise, the clues are very obscure. The killer became known as the Eco-Killer because, with each kidnapping and killing, he'd send letters to a local newspaper. Each one would contain the phrases "clock ticking", "planet dying", animals weeping", "rivers screaming" and - most appropriately, given what he was doing - "heat kills". Eventually, in 2000, the crimes appear to stop with twins Nora Ray and Mary Lynn Watts apparently being the last victims. While Mary Lynn was killed, the GBI were able to decipher the clues in time to rescue Nora Ray. Unfortunately, they couldn't find the Eco Killer himself.

Three years later, and Kimberley Quincy has been accepted into the FBI Academy at Quantico. She's in the ninth week of a sixteen week course and, despite the fact that she's been working towards this since her mother and sister were killed, she's still finding it tough. The bruises and lack of sleep are only part of it though : Kimberley seems very much a loner, apparently determined not to make any friends. She also has a very strained relationship with her father, Pierce Quincy - the legendary FBI profiler. Unfortunately for Kimberley, her training's about to get worse : during a training run in the middle of a heat-wave, she stumbles across the body of a murdered girl.

Although the investigation will, officially, be run by the NCIS, Kimberley just can't keep her nose out of it. Luckily, she has Special Agent Michael McCormack to help her out - McCormack works with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and investigated the Eco Killer's spate of murders there. I6t's always bothered him they never caught the killer and he's at Quantico hoping for whatever help he can get. To begin with, he wants to talk to a forensic linguist about the Eco Killer's letters. Such convenient timing, really...

This is an excellent book, one of the best murder-mystery novels I've read in a long time. I also wondered, at one point, if Gardner was a closet Chris Carter fan. There's a description of a basement corridor if the basement corridor that plays host to the Behavioral Sciences Unit. One poster advertises a Millennium Conference, while another lineup of agent photographs includes a mugshot of an extraterrestrial. However, while "The Killing Hour" doesn't do conspiracies it would encourage me to read more of Gardner's books
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