** The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day


In The Black Hour, a college professor is shot by a student who then kills himself. As she slowly recovers she wants to learn more about what happened and finds a very twisted story. I loved the way the author describes the closed-bowl environment of the small liberal arts college where the action takes place, with its incestuously small faculty and student groups, and its politics of tenure, course assignments, and departmental budgets . The heroine’s complicated struggles with independence, professional success, and friendships are also well captured. The action stalls in parts and the harrowing final scenes are just a little hard to believe — but I would recommend the book for its unusual heroine and unexpected ending.

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