THE HOUR BEFORE DAWN
by Patricia A. Rasey

November 2001
ISBN: 1-58697-170-0
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A sequel can be a dangerous thing. Sometimes wonderful, sometimes disappointing, but always eagerly awaited. This book is the sequel to Patricia Rasey’s Deadly Obsession, and fortunately falls into the first category – wonderful! Readers familiar with the previous novel will remember the savage entity that made life miserable, and dangerous, for Lieutenant Cole Kincaid and his wife Laurie. For two years they have enjoyed relative tranquility, but were alerted that their perpetrator had killed two prison guards and escaped. Could you sleep easily knowing there was a serial killer on the loose?


This time it’s Chicago where the terribly mutilated bodies start turning up, and it’s Detective Tevan Zaber’s job to go undercover and see if he can dig up some leads. Unfortunately, the bite marks on the victims suggest a blood-hungry killer, and Tev ends up in tight leather pants, downing beers in a Goth nightclub. Not his best assignment, seeing as he’s just filing for divorce from his wife and trying to keep his kid from hating his guts. A strong physical reaction to eighteen-year-old Krystal Braxton, simply turns the thumbscrews on his discomfort – Tev is beginning to think that there are some years when nothing goes right!


Although this book is a sequel, it is entertaining and different enough to be read as a stand-alone piece, although I must admit I felt my prior knowledge of Cole, Laurie and the killer lent an additional dimension to the tale. Whereas Cole and Laurie had a murder investigation on their hands, Tev and Krys have that and more. I think this is where this book stands out on its own and takes the reader into uncharted waters. In spite of all the excellent police work, and state-of-the-art forensics available, Tev and his officers are unable to get a good lead on their suspect. The killings continue, and they certainly seem linked to the Goth underworld – especially when one of Krys’ friends becomes a victim. Even Damien, rock musician, gets pulled in for questioning, again, something which does not make him real happy (I enjoyed these scenes – I really felt poor Damien’s anger and frustration!)


As always, Pat Rasey’s characters are real – no polish on the finish of these people. They are presented as clearly as if they were across the street right at this moment. The tension mounts, and the net closes on the killer, but not before he accomplishes more foul deeds. However, I felt there was another issue here, one that was not addressed so strongly in the first of these books – the fact that there is more than one kind of monster. There certainly is a monster serial killer on the loose, but there are also monsters lurking inside Tev, and especially inside Krys. Could it be that sometimes the monsters we create within can be as devastating as those who prey on us? Fortunately, Tev and Krys have each other – they grow and learn from each other and take the best the other has to offer. But Pat Rasey has made me wonder – what other monsters are out there, lurking, waiting for the unwary? And how many are inside me?


Reviewed in March 2002 by Celia.

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