The Wicked Hour

Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Natalie Lockhart, Bk. 2). Dec. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781250205735. $26.99. M
Burning Lake, NY, a historical landmark where witches were burned to death, is normally a delightfully spooky place to be on Halloween. The streets are packed with costumed revelers, and Det. Natalie Lockhart is tasked with monitoring the crowds. Then a young woman, accomplished violinist Morgan Chambers, is found naked and dead in a trash bin, and the difficult task of tracing her path to this end begins. Natalie is still reeling from the death of her sister Grace just months ago, her notoriety from catching a serial killer, and the long-ago murder of her sister Willow. Personally depressed but determined to solve the case, Natalie enters the highly competitive world of music performance, valuable instruments and their collectors, and parents who accept nothing but the best from their talented offspring.
VERDICT Blanchard (Trace of Evil) presents a bewitching police procedural in this second “Natalie Lockhart” novel, but readers may be at a disadvantage if they have not read the first book, as the segue is choppy. Though Natalie is well drawn, peripheral characters, especially a love interest, are not fully developed. Still, the setting and musical topic are excellent, and the dramatic conclusion satisfies. For fans of Erica Spindler.
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