The Violet Hour
Daniel Judson
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Buy *The Violet Hour* by Daniel Judson online

The Violet Hour
Daniel Judson
Minotaur Books
304 pages
October 2010
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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This tale of murder and mayhem is set against the eerie background of Halloween and the Day of the Dead, certainly appropriate celebrations for a macabre thriller that includes a beautiful, twisted assassin and a wealthy man searching for his runaway wife. Cal Rakowski has enjoyed a few years of relative anonymity in the Hamptons as a mechanic specializing in restoration at an off-the-books Bridgehampton garage. Cal spends hours on the luxury and classic automobiles of his bossís exclusive clientele. While Cal and his coworker, Lebell, work below, Heather Pamona stays out of sight in Calís apartment above the garage.

Ronnie Pamona has underworld connections and the patience to wait for Heather to make a mistake. Barring that, he isnít above setting a trap to lure his wife away from her hiding place. Twenty-two-year-old Rakowski has benefited from Lebellís easy friendship, the slightly older man like an older brother, the two bonding over work and a habitual Friday night pub crawl when work week is done. Thanks to a looming deadline, Cal isnít around on the Friday night that Lebell leaves the last bar with his arm around a beautiful woman who is in town to eliminate the man who poses a threat to her boss.

As Halloween revelers roam the streets in outrageous costumes, Cal learns that Lebell has a criminal record and a secret past, his elaborate garage security can be easily breached, and the FBI is as dangerous as the killer who shows up at the garage looking for Heather. While Lebell is drugged and attacked by a professional assassin, Heather receives an urgent message that her sister is in danger at a nearby party, a ferry ride away from Bridgehampton.

Once the trick-or-treaters hit the streets, Judson pulls out all the stops in a plot filled with thugs, murderers, untrustworthy FBI agents, an enraged husband and an out-of-state fixer with a ringside seat to the assassinís interrogation of a captive Rakowski: ďMen were the prey now and she was the one with the power.Ē There is no shortage of beautiful women in Judsonís holiday nightmare, whether damsels in distress or stone killers, including a mysterious older lady from Lebellís past who offers temporary safety in a world suddenly gone crazy. On the run and out of options, Cal scrambles to evade a criminal network one step ahead of his every move.

In an exclusive setting where the beautiful people go for regular R&R, the violent struggle of a young man to protect a woman and save a friend rages quietly below the radar, the Halloween partiers blissfully ignorant of the wolves in sheepís clothing among them. As Cal stares into the demented eyes of a woman brandishing tools of torture in a dank basement, it is hard to imagine how he can escape an ugly and painful death.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2010

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