Friday, March 18, 2016

HARD COLD WINTER by Glen Erik Hamilton

Hard Cold Winter: A Van Shaw Novel (Van Shaw Novels)
    Last year’s debut thriller by Glen Erik Hamilton showed without a doubt that an amazing new talent had arrived.  Past Crimes (2015) was a runaway bestseller and nominated for an Edgar Award.  Now Hard Cold Winter makes it plain that Hamilton isn’t any one-hit wonder.  With Van Shaw he presented a tough, likable character that has readers pulling for him from start to finish.  Shaw is a far from perfect disillusioned Army Sergeant who is simply trying to get by.

           Giving me special pleasure in Shaw’s second adventure is the author’s sense of place - his descriptions of Seattle are spot-on.  I could see Pike Place Market in my mind’s eye through his text, and could almost smell the flowers.  Another plus for me was the introduction of Leo Pak, one of Van’s Army buddies who shows up for a visit and stays.  For this reader Hamilton’s character development is topnotch as at first I was leery of Pak but later appreciated him and hope he’s in the next Van Shaw tale.

    However, re this one Van has returned to his home in Seattle after the death of his grandfather who raised him.  Flashbacks to when Van was 17 and he and his grandfather were breaking and entering are not to be missed.  When one of Van’s grandfather’s oldest friends asks  for a favor Van is quick to say yes.  He’s asked to go into the forest of the Olympic Mountains to a remote cabin in search of a missing girl, Elana.  Van remembers her well from his youth.  What he will not and cannot forget is what he finds there - a horrific murder scene.  Elana is dead as is the son of a prominent Seattle family.

    As dreadful as this is it’s only the beginning as Van is fighting with his symptoms of PTSD, and the murder investigation finds him caught between a billionaire businessman on one hand and vicious thugs on the other.  Before long Van realizes Elana may have become involved in an illegal scheme that tops by far anything he and his grandfather ever attempted.  Yet no matter the cost Van is determined to find out the truth - what a journey that is!

    Stayed up until all hours unable to put down Hard Cold Winter, and now all I can do is eagerly await the next from Glen Erik Hamilton!

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