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Misery Bay: Alex McKnight #8    by Steve Hamilton order for
Misery Bay
by Steve Hamilton
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2012 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Alex is enjoying a beer at his usual spot beside the fire at the Glasgow Inn, and watching the show as owner/bartender Jackie expertly harasses an out-of-towner. Suddenly the front door swings open and the cold wind blows in Alex's arch nemesis, Chief Roy Maven. Once Alex gets over his shock at seeing Maven out of his usual element and the pair takes a few moments to exchange their usual round of pleasantries, Maven gets right to the point. He wants Alex to look into the suicide of a college student who hung himself up in Misery Bay. The young man was the son of Maven's long ago patrol partner, Charles Razniewski, who's simply looking for some sort of closure - at least that's what Maven says.

But as always, once Alex takes on a new case, all hell breaks loose. Within hours of his interviewing Razniewski, who's a federal marshal, he's found murdered in Maven's kitchen. Now the FBI's involved and they've got little patience for a small town PI and a pushy police chief nosing around. Maven isn't about to back down, however, and for reasons he can't begin to understand, Alex refuses to leave the surly cop dangling in the wind. They keep working the case, despite the Feds warnings to go home. As one clue turns into another, it soon becomes clear to the unlikely duo, and then the FBI, that the death of Razniewski and his son is all about a madman's twisted revenge - and that Chief Maven could well be the next target.

It's been a long time between Alex McKnight mysteries, six years in fact, but Misery Bay is well worth the wait. Hamilton offers up another slick, multi-layered plot that takes plenty of unexpected turns, particularly the shocker of an ending. The bleak wintry atmosphere also comes alive and at times is as much of a nemesis as the killer Alex is hunting. Hamilton offers up one of his best stories in Misery Bay and it's great having Alex McKnight back doing what he does best.

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