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by Steve Hamilton
St Martin's Minotaur, June 2004
320 pages
ISBN: 0312301219

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

At first ex-Detroit police officer Alex McKnight thought that winter would be an easy one this year in his new home in Paradise, Michigan. There's very little snow and the weather is mild and pleasant. He has a new Canadian girlfriend, Natalie, and things seem to be going well. He should know better.

A snowstorm hits Paradise and almost three feet of snow is predicted to fall. Alex has a rendezvous scheduled with Natalie, but with that kind of snowfall he knows he will be late. So they decide to meet upstate in a hotel in Soo, Michigan instead of Alex driving all the way to Natalie's home in Canada.

When they finally get together, a day later than Alex expected, the couple make the acquaintance of an elderly man with an old-fashioned hat sitting in the hotel's lobby. The man seems friendly, but Alex is a little suspicious of him nonetheless.

Later that evening Alex and Natalie find the old man's hat sitting outside their hotel room. It is filled with melting ice and in the very bottom of the hat is a note, which says: "I know who you are."

Alex has no idea who the man was, but he soon learns that after leaving his hat by the door, the man left the hotel and just kept on walking. No one knew where he went until his frozen body is found the next day partially buried under the continuing snowfall.

Determined to discover the identity of the dead man, Alex starts to investigate. He soon learns enough to connect the elderly man to Natalie's family and secrets that she's kept hidden.

ICE RUN is the newest Alex McKnight novel in this wonderful series by Steve Hamilton. Once again Mr Hamilton brings us to snowy, cold, Paradise, Michigan with all its fascinating residents: Jackie, the owner of the Glasgow bar and steadfast friend to Alex, Vinnie, Alex's Native American 'brother,' and Leon, Alex's ex-partner. As usual, all these characters are looking out for Alex, trying to keep him alive as he works to help his new lady love.

I've read a few books in this series and it seemed as if it's never warm in Paradise. I wondered about this until I realized that Steve Hamilton is at his best describing the snow, cold, and the harshness that goes along with living in Michigan. Every book literally sends shivers up your spine, not just because of all the excitement in the stories, but also on account of the way Hamilton describes the weather to a tee. The climate is a definite character in the series! It adds quite a bit to the plot and is a contributing factor to what the people within the book do and why they do it.

A fast-paced story from start to finish, with a well thought-out mystery and three-dimensional characters, I definitely recommend ICE RUN. If you can't get your hands on this book right away, read any of the other books in the Alex McKnight series - just make sure you have a sweater nearby.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, May 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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