After finishing my first Paul Cleave novel, The Killing Hour I have mixed thoughts on it so let's begin with an outline of the story. Charlie begins the novel by telling us he can see dead people and they're stalking him in an attempt to remind him of what he's done. The beginning line of the novel has got to be one of the creepiest lines I've read in a long time and is really the best way to hook the intended audience.
Charlie wakes up with bumps, bruises, blood, and other murder-scene paraphernelia on his person with no idea how he's come to be such a mess. The news is on about the death of two friends who have died by the hands of Cyrus. A reknown seriel killer that may or may not even exist. Upon hearing the news of the gruesome deaths of the two women, Charlie starts to piece together what has happened the night before. He goes to find aide from his ex-wife Jo who doesn't believe him and is figuring he's the killer since she's seen the worse side of Charlie before. Because Jo doesn't believe Charlie, he kidnaps her to keep her safe and from calling the police.
Now... there's a lot of things I felt were done right with this novel, and a few things that had me laughing. Cleave warns the audience that the novel was initially written as a horror novel and I think that's awesome. Charlie's being able to speak with and see dead people is an element that is used primarily in the horror world because of its supernatural qualities, but eventually the steam is let out of that bag. It becomes just one more annoying quality about Charlie's whole storyline. These dead people come into play at the most inopportune moments seeming like they're thrown in for dramatic affect but really serving no purpose except to add to the darkness that is this novel.
I do feel that most of the novel is one heck of a ride and I can see why Cleave is such a well-known author. The Killing Hour is gripping and full of characters that have depth who are thrown together under the most insane circumstances. There is blood, death, and really graphic details galore in this novel. I breezed through the first half because I needed to know if Charlie was really Cyrus. Once the truth is revealed, the story lost a little bit of it's edge for me. The characters started to behave like none other I've read in thriller/crime novels. I don't know if it's a New Zealand thing, but there was one flub after another and I just laughed right through it thinking this is unbelieveable.
In conclusion, Cleave writes a very interesting novel that I'm sure his fans may love. After reading this novel I can say that I look forward to reading more by Paul Cleave. This wasn't a terrible novel although I did think some of the actions were unbelieveable. Cleave can certainly weave interesting characters into a gripping story that will keep the reader guessing until the end. I enjoyed this journey into the darker side of the "Real World" during the killing hour.***