"An Hour to Kill"
(reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer JUL 24, 2004)
"I have become accessible to consolation..."
Two bodies are found in Central Park. One, a man is found in his expensive, parked car, an apparent suicide. Beside him on the seat is a sparrow, its wings cut off. The only thing that could pass as a suicide note reads, simply, “I have become accessible to consolation.” For James Gurson, this death has an eerie echoing of his own father’s suicide. The second body is of a woman, charred beyond recognition, her back scarred as if she had wings that had been cut off. His partner Didi Kane doesn’t recognize the body...but she does recognize the gun as that belonging to her ex-partner and lover, Charlene Leone, and Kane soon becomes the prime suspect in Leone‘s death.
Tucker Norville, of the DA’s office, seems to go out of his way to make things hard for Gurson, and Norville‘s wife Theodora knows more than she’s telling. The first victim, Dr. Orrin Gretz, is a psychologist whose less than pure relationships have gotten him in trouble before. What is his connection to Leone? Is it something more than a simple, strange photograph of a woman with cuts on her back like missing wings? And what does Ren, a semi charming prostitute, have to do with all of these people?
James Gurson and Didi Kane seem to be about as different a pairing as you can get. James is recovering from a bad divorce and struggling to be a good dad to his son. Didi is a black openly gay female who is struggling to do her job right despite the fact that most of her colleagues seem to want to make it as hard as possible for her. Because of this, she has a bit of a chip on her shoulder, which the captain seems to be too eager to brush off by making her the prime suspect, citing some lame excuse. Norville makes things even harder, saying that Gurson is just harassing him out of revenge for his own father’s suicide...see, James’s father was a cop involved in a shooting, and Norville was going to prosecute him...until Gurson’s father took his own way out.
It is in this that we see that psychology plays a huge part in everything...the motives that our characters supposedly have for what they’re doing: Kane is accused of the crime because it is believed that homosexual couples are more likely to kill each other, Gurson is accused of making a suicide look like murder to be a pain to Norville. The psychology of sexuality and how it plays in the Norville’s perverse, twisted marriage, and in Theodora's own dark hurt over the lack of children in her life and how she can both have sex with and mother Ren. There’s some real delving into the darkness of the human mind, giving this thriller a very gritty feel. Fortunately Gurson has some training in this field...and the fact that he understands psychology as well as any of the characters gives him...and therefore us...a real edge. All along the story we visit another person, whose identity is unknown...this little peek into his mind also makes the story more exciting, as we know the killer is out there...and he seems to be stalking another victim.
Yapalater’s well researched debut marks the start of a promising career.
- Amazon readers rating: from 7 reviews
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- An Hour to Kill (August 2003)
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- The official website for Karin Yapalater
- AfterEllen.com review of An Hour to Kill
- BookLoons review of An Hour to Kill
- MysteryOne Bookstore short review of An Hour to Kill
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About the Author:
Karin Yapalater was born in Biscayne Bay, Florida and raised in the New York City suburbs. He earned a BA from New York University and an MFA from Columbia University's Graduate Writing Program. When she is not writing, Yapalater teaches philosophy workshops and practices natural horsemanship with her quarter horses. She lives in New York City and Bridgehampton with her husband and children.