Book 20 of 2012 – Die a Stranger – Steve Hamiton

In 2004 I read my first Steve Hamilton Alex McKnight novel, Winter Of The Wolf Moon, the second book in the series. The only reason that I read that novel first was that the award winning Cold Day in Paradise was checked out of the library! But after finishing Book 2,  Book 1 followed closely, and I’ve been a fan of the series ever since! Yesterday the 9th  book in the series Die A Stanger became book 20  of 2012! Alex McKnight is an ex-Detroit cop who, with a bullet lodged near his heart, rents cabins in Paradise, a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  This installment of the series focuses on Alex’s best friend, Vinnie LeBlanc. It started as a bad week for Vinnie, his mother the respected leader of the Bay Mills Reservation had died. On her death bed, she mistakes Vinnie for his father, who had long ago  abandoned Vinnie and his siblings. Later that night Vinnie a teetotaler because of this father, meets Alex at their favorite inn, The Glasgow and orders a drink, resulting in the first night he ever got drunk! But that same night, after parting ways with Alex….(from Hamilton’s website)

 A plane lands on a deserted Upper Peninsula airstrip, late at night. Five dead bodies are found the next morning.

And now Vinnie LeBlanc is missing.

Vinnie is an Ojibwa tribal member, a blackjack dealer at the Bay Mills Casino, and he just might be Alex’s best friend. He’s come through for Alex more than once in the past, and he never ever misses a day of work. So Alex can’t help but be worried…..

The next morning Alex finds a stranger in Vinnie’s cabin, it turns out to be Vinnie long lost father Lou, returned to find and help his son! Together Alex and Lou set out on a race against time to find and save Vinnie.

The book is written in Hamilton’s quick no nonsense style, full of wit and humor with plenty of twists and turns.  McKnight is the narrator and he knows his limits like in this passage:

N0, stay positive, I thought. You’re gonna find a way out of this. Even if you have to do something stupid, all by yourself. You’r certainly good at being stupid. 

I certainly think that you can read this book without reading the others, but I am sure that once you do you’ll find yourself wanting more of the series! Here’s a sample of Hamilton’s writing from the start of Chapter Two………

 

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