I have really mixed feelings about The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy. Like, really mixed. It’s a kind of schizophrenic book for me, and perhaps for the publishers as well, as it is published in the UK as The Heat of Betrayal. And for the record, given the cover and title of the UK edition, i don’t think I ever would have picked it up.
However, the reason I was interested in it was because it is set in Morocco, a country that has always held a certain romance for me. And it starts out well enough. Newly married, mismatched couple go to Morocco, but it seems the husband, Paul, has something to hide. Yes, I’m intrigued. Not only that, Paul seems to be falling apart a little bit. Hmm.
And I would have been ok if The Blue Hour had kept on in that vein, but then it has it’s schizophrenic break and becomes, The Heat of Betrayal, a novel that is more about the wife, Robin. In fact, by the end of the novel Paul is almost an after thought.
So I’d say, what we have is essentially two novels. The Blue Hour, ie the first half, is a more literary novel that is slower and introspective. And the title, The Blue Hour, is perfect for it. And then there is the second half, which is indeed about betrayal. This portion of the novel takes on an almost thriller-esque tone. There is a crisis, running from the law, and dealings with gangsters.
Who would like this book? Even though The Blue Hour felt like two different books, it wasn’t entirely bad. It did scratch my itch for travel in general, and Morocco in particular. However, I was under the impression that it was literary fiction, and I would put it more in the category of popular fiction. It has that psychological thriller dimension that seems to be ever so popular these days. I’d compare it to Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, but I haven’t read either of them, so that would just be irresponsible.