Title: The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 368 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Moment and Five Days comes “the best book about Morocco since The Sheltering Sky. Completely absorbing and atmospheric” (Philip Kerr).
Robin knew Paul wasn’t perfect. But he said they were so lucky to have found each other, and she believed it was true.
She is a meticulous accountant, almost forty. He is an artist and university professor, twenty years older. When Paul suggests a month in Morocco, where he once lived and worked, a place where the modern meets the medieval, Robin reluctantly agrees.
Once immersed into the swirling, white hot exotica of a walled city on the North African Atlantic coast, Robin finds herself acclimatizing to its wonderful strangeness. Paul is everything she wants him to be—passionate, talented, knowledgeable. She is convinced that it is here she will finally become pregnant.
But then Paul suddenly disappears, and Robin finds herself the prime suspect in the police inquiry. As her understanding of the truth starts to unravel, Robin lurches from the crumbling art deco of Casablanca to the daunting Sahara, caught in an increasingly terrifying spiral from which there is no easy escape.
With his acclaimed ability to write thought-provoking page-turners, Douglas Kennedy takes readers into a world where only Patricia Highsmith has ever dared. The Blue Hour is a roller-coaster journey into a heart of darkness that asks the question: What would you do if your life depended on it?
The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy is an intriguing mystery about a woman’s search for her husband after he goes missing during their trip to Morocco. Considered a suspect in husband Paul Leuen’s disappearance, Robin Danvers makes one bad decision after another when she discovers Paul’s numerous lies.
After her first marriage ended in divorce years earlier, Robin changed careers and she is now an accountant with a thriving business. Three years earlier, she married Paul after he came to her for advice for his messy finances. By all appearances they are quite happy but Robin is growing weary of cleaning up Paul’s financial messes. The only other disappointment in her life is her inability to conceive but she remains hopeful she will soon become pregnant. When Paul surprises her with a month long trip to Morocco, Robin is a little leery but she quickly becomes excited about their upcoming vacations. Despite a few minor setbacks upon arrival, their stay in Morocco is idyllic for the first few weeks, but things rapidly go downhill when Robin discovers the first of Paul’s many lies and secrets. After he goes missing from their hotel room, the police are convinced Robin is responsible for his disappearance and she decides to search for him on her own.
While Robin is logical, open and quite responsible, Paul is impulsive, secretive and prone to overspending. Robin was well aware of Paul’s faults before she married him and while she did not realize it at the time, she was hopeful he would change after they wed. Despite her frustration with him, their marriage is happy and quite passionate. With an eighteen year age gap between them, Robin knows there are women in Paul’s past but he does not talk about his previous relationships. Although this lack of transparency is little troubling, she ignores this somewhat secretive behavior but Robin soon regrets this decision.
Enraged, hurt and disappointed by a shocking discovery in Morocco, Robin leaves Paul an angry note that quickly comes back to haunt her in the wake of his disappearance. With the police unwilling to believe her, she begins tracing Paul’s footsteps after she uncovers disturbing information about his past in his diary. Stunned by the breadth of secrets he has been keeping from her, Robin is not exactly in the best frame of mind as she begins making impulsive and somewhat irrational decisions during her search. Definitely out of her element and not thinking clearly, Robin puts herself in an extremely dangerous situation that jeopardizes her life.
The Blue Hour is a well-written novel with an interesting and unique storyline. The setting is quite exotic and Douglas Kennedy brings Morocco vibrantly to life. While engaging, the novel becomes bogged down by superfluous details and long passages of introspection by Robin. The conclusion is mostly satisfying but a few threads are left dangling (although it is fairly easy to speculate what most likely happened). All in all, an entertaining read.