Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Die A Stranger by Steve Hamilton

Ace crime writer Steve Hamilton continues his popular Alex McKnight series with his usual clear, straight-talking presentation and slow mounting suspense.  Die A Stranger is a pleasure to read and impossible to put down.

    Ex police officer Alex has been living a mostly solitary existence in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for some time.  His best and perhaps only friend is Vinnie LeBlanc, an Ojibwa Indian who has left the reservation and built a cabin of his own.  When Vinnie’s mother dies he is devastated.  He seems distraught by the idea that while on her death bed she mistook Vinnie for his father, a man who was serving time for killing some people while driving drunk.  Vinnie has sworn off alcohol, would never touch the stuff because of what it did to his father.  Thus, it’s even more perplexing when Alex finds him on the night of his mother’s funeral downing one Scotch after another.

    To further muddy the waters the next day Vinnie is gone.  Alex soon discovers that Buck, Vinnie’s cousin is also missing.  To top all of this off Alex’s search for his friend takes him to the airport which is awash with police cars and  there are five dead bodies.  The explanation?  “It looks like a drug delivery gone bad.  That plane over there is Canadian registered and it’s stuffed to the rafters with bags of marijuana...”

    Surely Vinnie had nothing to do with this.  The timing of Vinnie’s disappearance coinciding with the killings is just coincidence.  Or, is it?  Next, things really get dicey when a stranger appears in town also looking for Vinnie.

    Leave it to this skillful, imaginative author to hold readers enthralled with one more gripping tale.


    - Gail Cooke

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