The Hour of Predators
by Lane Stark
Summary: Two gruesome murders have shocked and divided the community of Bella Coola, a small, isolated village in a remote river valley on the coast of British Columbia. The evidence points to a teenaged Nuxalk boy, and the simmering tension between whites and tribe members heats up. RCMP Inspector Marcus Chao must sort through misleading clues, cultural conflicts, tangled relationships, sexual scandals, and even rumors of sorcery to find the truth.
Marcus is a man whose life has skidded into remorse and misery. His own infidelity has ended his marriage to the woman he still loves, and now he finds himself with only two things to keep his sinking spirits afloat: the need to serve justice and his eternal fascination with solving the puzzle of the crime. This latest puzzle, however, is proving to be a maze of intrigue, and his mettle as well as his principles will be tested.
I loved The Hour of Predators. While mystery is not my typical genre, this book was definitely worth the read. It was so much more than just a mystery. It was well written, descriptive, and poetic. Bella Coola was a fascinating place with even more fascinating inhabitants. Watching Inspector Chao dig through the complicated layers of relationships and motives was captivating. The lives of Claire and Daniel, two Nuxalk Indian teenagers in Bella Coola, were so screwed up and intertwined with the murders, but the reader was unable to truly figure out what happened.
Calling the murders in Bella Coola a maze of intrigue, as the summary states, is the exact way I would choose to put it, too. I was fascinated by the lives of all the characters in this book, including Chao’s ex wife, Gemma. The character building in the novel was absolutely spectacular and I would definitely call this book more of a literary thriller/mystery due to the wonderful writing and in depth characters. I loved the cultural aspect of the setting and the deep animosity the white people and the Indian people had, spanning decades.
The hint of magic in Bella Coola hung on the surface and kept things rather interesting. I was unable to put this book down, completely engrossed in every moment, from Claire’s internal struggle and Daniel’s fear of being framed to the rekindling of Gemma and Inspector Chao’s marriage and the unraveling of the puzzle.
What interested me the most is that the novel didn’t focus solely on the crime and figuring it out. Each character had his or her own problems, which the reader gets to experience. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out each and every one of the characters. Deeper issues are uncovered throughout the book, identity, racial tensions, isolation, and rape being a select few. All of the character’s stories flowed together and intertwined with the larger plot flawlessly.
I would definitely recommend this book to others. It was so well written and captivating.