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A Cold Day in Paradise: An Alex McKnight Novel    by Steve Hamilton order for
Cold Day in Paradise
by Steve Hamilton
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2012 (1998)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I'm not sure how I missed reading Steve Hamilton's mysteries before now but I'm ready to catch up after accelerating through the pages of A Cold Day in Paradise (winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Best First Novel) in one absorbed day.

Alex McKnight was once a minor league baseball player, and later a Detroit cop, until a shooting left his partner dead and Alex with a bullet lodged near his heart. After that, he moved to Paradise on the shores of Lake Superior. He lives there in a cabin he built with his father and rents out other cabins to seasonal visitors. He frequently hangs out at the Glasgow Inn, his 'second home', with owner Jackie. He's been working as a PI for six months.

One Halloween night, Alex drops in at the Inn, where wannabe PI Leon Prudell picks a fight. Afterwards, he's called in the middle of the night by short, wealthy Edwin J. Fulton (a gambling addict), whose wife Sylvia had a relationship with Alex. Edwin calls from a cheap motel, where there's a corpse (of a bookmaker) and blood everywhere. Chief Roy Maven is not impressed, and the crime scene brings back bad memories, of the death of his partner, for Alex.

He begins to get strange phone calls and mail, a blast from his past - the note is signed Rose, the man who shot Alex and killed his partner. But Rose has been in prison for the past fourteen years, and the note contains details that only he and Alex knew. Is someone playing with Alex? The plot gets even more convoluted after Edwin disappears, and Maven picks Alex as his lead suspect.

The whodunit is hard to second guess in A Cold Day in Paradise - for Alex as much as for the reader. This thriller is an excellent start to an outstanding series. If you haven't discovered Steve Hamilton's work yet, then start here - you have many hours of engrossing reading ahead.

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