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Mystery Monday – A Cold Day In Paradise

A Cold Day In Paradise by Steve Hamilton

Review by Susan R. (Sue-in-AZ)



Story Synopsis

Alex McKnight is an ex-cop from Detroit.  During his final days on the police force, he was shot and nearly killed in an incident that killed his partner.  The attacker is convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but Alex’s career is over due to his injury and resulting nightmares. He’s retreated to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to start over in a simple cabin in the woods.

In the U.P., a local attorney recruits Alex to act as a part-time private investigator. Expecting some routine easy work, Alex agrees.  He’s still recovering from his physical and mental wounds, but things seem to be looking up.

Very shortly though, Alex acquires an enemy – the attorney’s previous P.I. who is now out of a job.  On the very same day, Alex is drawn by a friend into an unsolved murder. And it appears that the murder is just the first in a string of murders, and Alex is being framed for the crimes – and the local police seem willing to believe Alex is guilty.  And if that’s not enough, it appears that his assailant from Detroit has somehow escaped from prison and is now stalking Alex.

Alex is unwillingly drawn into the role of solving the murders just to clear his own name, but at the same time he has to dodge local enemies, the police and a madman from his past.


My Review

This is an older book (1998), but I picked it up because it is an Edgar Award winner (annual award for the best mystery of the year).

I greatly enjoyed this book. I was kept guessing about who was responsible for the murders, why would anyone want to set Alex up, and just how did his attacker from Detroit get out of prison?  I found the book to be a real page-turner!

The character development for the main character (Alex McKnight) was pretty good.  By the end of the story, I felt a little bit like I knew Alex personally.  Since this is the first book in a series about the same character, it makes sense that some effort would be put into defining that character.  Other characters in the book were a little less well defined, but still believable and realistic.  The book also gave an accurate picture of the setting – the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the winter is very well described. I almost felt cold just reading the book.

I enjoyed the twists and suspense in the story.  While I always try to figure out what’s going on and who the culprit is, I’m always disappointed if I can predict the ending.  In this book, I was able to see some of the “reveal” coming, but not all of it.  I was very satisfied with the ending – all the loose ends tied up.


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