Zero Hour: Devil’s Hour – Aimee Nicole Walker
Devil’s hour, noun: the hour when the demon or devil who leads hell is at its strongest.
Born on the wrong side of the tracks, Royce Locke is no stranger to scrapping and fighting for the things he wants. What he desires most is Sawyer Key—his partner on the force and the man he’s falling in love with. After asking Sawyer to take a chance on him, Royce will need to back up his pretty words with fearless action instead of being his own worst enemy.
Someone is harassing the mayor of Savannah, and Locke and Key are tasked with finding out who. The investigation quickly takes a twisted turn, leading them to an enemy who thinks purification by fire is the only way to save the city. Scarier than The Purists’ elusiveness is their ability to turn public opinion in their favor, creating unrest and threatening anarchy by fanning flames and fear. When you play with fire, someone is bound to get burned.
When menace becomes murder, the two detectives will race the clock against the devil to save their beloved city from becoming a raging inferno. Royce will need to draw on his grit now more than ever if he hopes to realize the dreams that are finally within reach. The rag is lit, the Molotov cocktail is tossed, and the zero hour is upon them. Challenge received and accepted.
Devil’s Hour is the second book in the Zero Hour series, which follows Locke and Key’s investigations and evolving relationship. This is a series that must be read in order. Devil’s Hour has a happy-for-now ending with no cliffhanger. It contains mature language and sexual content intended for adults 18 and older.
Trigger warning: Part of the storyline involves coming to terms with a friend’s suicide, which may be difficult for some people to read.
The clock is ticking. Savannah is poised to ignite as purists threatened to set the city on fire. The mayor is involved in a scandal along with other people in high places. It’s up to Locke and Key to uncover the mysterious entity hellbent on purifying the sinners.
This case came months after the events in Ground Zero. Royce and Sawyer are gradually settling down, work-wise and relationship-wise.
Devil’s Hour follows the same style as the first book. The detectives followed several angles, dead ends, a few minor cases, sometimes apprehending suspects that had nothing to do with the case. Like with the previous installment, I really liked this because it felt realistic that they’re working on several things at once. However, this time around, the mishmash of things that were happening felt a bit all over the place.
I was happy that we got Royce’s POV. This is something I was hoping for. In the first book, Royce came off a bit dickish. Hence, the name Detective Dickhead. Although, he did slowly open up to Sawyer as the story progressed.
Here, I had a better understanding of his hurts, doubts and insecurities. Royce came from a fucked up environment and feared that he might fuck up whatever good things he had in life. Most especially what he had with Sawyer.
Royce is grieving the loss of his bestfriend and former partner, Marcus, who died of suicide. He is desperately seeking closure. This is one of the overarching threads of the series that I’m also eagerly following. It talks about how somebody you thought you knew your whole life could keep so many secrets. Secrets that could turn Royce’s already upside down world inside out.
Royce might like to think he’s no good but I really admired his dedication to his late partner’s wife, Candy, and her kids. No matter how overworked he is, he always managed to squeeze time to help her out whenever she needs him.
Sawyer is my favorite character here. He had his own share of grief but I love his optimism, his level-headedness, his willingness to reach out first and communicate openly no matter how difficult the subject and his overall goodness. Like the time he had food delivered to Candy because she needed a break and some sustenance. He really put much thought in what kind of food he thinks her family would like. And he hasn’t even met her and the kids yet.
Eventually, they wrapped up the mayor’s case. It was complicated due to the people involved. I was in the dark most of the time. I had my suspicions once a certain character was introduced. I’m happy I guessed right.
I liked how this revealed bigger, more insidious crimes. Not everything came together neatly. The ending left some threads open for Marcus’s upcoming revelations in book 3, as well as another case awaiting trial.
Devil’s Hour started with heat and ended with somebody burned. There were many unpleasant things that happened. There were sex scandals, religious nutcases, IA business, hackers, arson and more. In the middle of all this, Royce realized how much Sawyer mean to him.
Royce and Sawyer’s partnership went from strength to strength. Their relationship evolved rather nicely and it was wonderful to see Royce, finally, 100% in.
About time, Dickhead!
The Zero Hour books are not standalones. Best to start with Ground Zero and see how Detective Dickhead met Detective Asshole. <- yes seriously that’s how they call each other when they’re feeling especially affectionate. Review here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
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