Tuesday, January 22

Waking Hours by Lis Wiehl

Murder. Mayhem. Mystery. That it is October and nearing Halloween makes it spooky. That all of this is taking place in a town called East Salem means that the spook factor is going be notched as high as possible.

A high-school girl is murdered in a park. The way she was murdered seems like something out of a crime TV show.  Forensic psychologist, Dani Harris, is on the case, aided by former NFL linebacker Tommy Gunderson (who has dreams of being a Private Investigator).  The only group of suspects is some teenagers who were at a party with the murdered girl, only they seem to have no recollection of what happened. To top it off, Dani is waking up at 2:13 every night with nightmares, and Tommy has an encounter with an elderly woman babbling in Latin.  Something evil is afoot, but is it something from this world?

I have previously read two of the Triple Threat novels by Lis Wiehl, and noticed an improvement from the 1st to the 3rd book (I skipped the 2nd). I had thought they included too much extra detail which didn’t add to the characters or the story. I was pleased to find that writing in Waking Hours was much more succinct and served to drive the story forward.  This caused the story to go by at a reasonably fast pace.

There was also a greater sense of mystery for me. Many times I feel like I get an idea of how the story ends several chapters before the big reveal. While it can be exciting to discover that I’m right about the ending, sometimes it seems so obvious that the story feels like a letdown and the twist loses some impact. I was glad that in this story the mystery remained for much of the story. The story contained enough turns to keep me from arriving at a certain conclusion.

Thankfully, the story kept me going, because the lead characters didn’t. They were likeable enough, and each had some small character arcs throughout, but I didn’t sense a lot of depth from them. Dani is the stereotypical tough cop chick and Tommy felt like the sidekick trying to make it a team effort. Nothing Wiehl did really helped these characters deviate from this.

Perhaps the most disappointing element was the supernatural one. At many instances throughout the story, Wiehl hints at supernatural influences in the case, but these side elements are largely dropped in favor of the whodunit story. Perhaps these will continue through to the sequel, but right now they felt largely unnecessary.

3/5 stars

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