Thursday, July 23, 2009

THE SILENT HOUR - Michael Koryta

Lincoln Perry has ignored Harrison Parker's letters for several months, but when the ex-con shows up at his office door step, he doesn't have much choice but to talk to the man. So, he'll listen and politely decline.

Harrison Parker served 15 years in prison for murder. After the prison sentence was fulfilled, he entered a unique program for paroled murderers. A program run by Alexandra and Joshua Cantrell. Parker wants Perry to locate Alexandra, who disappeared with her husband twelve years ago; he's convinced Lincoln is the right man to tell the story:

"I see you as a storyteller. You take something that's hidden from the world, and you bring it forward, give us answers to our questions, give us an ending. It's what you do, and you seem to be very good at it. I'm asking you, please, to do that for me. Give me those answers, give me the ending."
The case seems simple enough and despite his determination not to take the case, Perry agrees. Then little by little, he discovers all the details that Parker conveniently left out of his explanation. The details that walk Perry right into the middle of a murder investigation with possible ties to the Cleveland mob.

This is the summary of the crime that Lincoln investigates in this novel. But it is really more of a by-product of the main focus of THE SILENT HOUR. Lincoln does have to be a storyteller and find something that is hidden from the world. However, that search is internal; the major conflict of this book is internal conflict. What Lincoln needs to find most in this novel is his way; the answers to his own questions. And Koryta illustrates that for us figuratively when Lincoln attempts to visit a mob kingpin and he locks his gun in the glove box of his truck:

"...I reached over to the glove compartment, opened it, and took out my gun. It felt good in my hand. Too good. I sat there for a while, caressing the stock with my thumb, and pleasure spread through me and filled my brain and circled around my heart. When I put the gun back, I made sure I locked the glove compartment. Wouldn't want the wrong person getting in there. The sort of person who would use a weapon without need, who'd pull the trigger for reasons of rage and vengeance rather than self-defense. No, I didn't want anybody like that getting ahold of my gun."
Lincoln must find the person inside of himself who isn't full of the rage and the hate and vengeance. Even more than a crime novel, THE SILENT HOUR is a passionate study in character.

The depth of every character in this novel envelops you more completely in to the story. While it is told through the eyes of Lincoln Perry, you are able to feel empathy for Harrison Parker, for Ken Merriman, John Dunbar, Mark Ruzity, even Joshua Cantrell. And your investment in Lincoln Perry draws out anguish, frustration, irritation, and still always compassion.

Lincoln's internal battle is sandwiched between the beginning and the end of his involvement in the Cantrell disappearance/murder. I was pulled so far into his struggles that by the time the case returned at the end of the novel, I found myself thinking, "oh yeah, the investigation hasn't been closed yet."

This is a Koryta novel that is going to wreak havoc on the spectrum of the reader’s emotions, more so than any of the novels before it. And when Lincoln’s story has finally been told, the reader will forever be changed.

THE SILENT HOUR (ISBN: 978-0-312-36157-0) will be released by St. Martin's Minotaur Books on August 4th.


Anonymous July 23, 2009 at 10:57 AM  

Nicely said.

le0pard13 July 23, 2009 at 6:50 PM  

Good review, Jen. I'm looking forward to getting back into the LP series. But first, Envy the Night. Thank you.

Jen July 23, 2009 at 8:17 PM  

Michael, do you have your copy of ENVY?

le0pard13 July 23, 2009 at 8:18 PM  

Not as yet. Hope to so.

Corey Wilde July 25, 2009 at 12:01 AM  

Wonderful review, Jen. While I may have been a tad more harsh in my judgement, Silent Hour is a fine book and a good read. 'Cept for that little sag in the middle. ;-)

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