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by Steve Hamilton
St Martin's Minotaur, September 2007
304 pages
ISBN: 0312353618

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Joe Trumbull, a juvenile probation officer, lives in a small apartment located above a gym in Kingston, New York. Since his fiancée was found strangled to death two years earlier, Joe has done nothing more than go to work, listen to jazz, and do a little boxing to calm his nerves. After some nagging from his friends he's decided to try dating again. He even has a nice evening on a blind date – but the next day the woman is found strangled.

State detectives are called in to investigate and of course Joe is their prime suspect, especially after yet another woman Joe had been in contact with is also found strangled as well. There are now three women associated with Joe who have all been murdered the same way.

Joe decides he'd better find the killer before he is arrested for the crimes, so with some help from the man who owns the gym where Joe boxes, and a few of the athletes who also work out there, he investigates.

NIGHT WORK by Steve Hamilton is the author's first standalone novel. The reader gets a good idea of what life is like in the small upstate town of Kingston, New York. Like Joe, life seems to be at a standstill in this community and things don't seem to come alive until the women are killed.

The reader travels through the many small towns that make up upstate New York as Joe investigates potential suspects who might be the killer. There is a great surprise when the reader finally finds out who the killer is – I didn't suspect it at all. I just wish the readers weren't led around to so many dead ends with Joe constantly going over the same material.

Even though there is a lot of action and tension at the end of NIGHT WORK, some of the things that happen did not seem plausible or ring true. Too many questions were going through my mind as to the reason Joe permitted himself to get into a dangerous situation without any back-up, and I kept wondering why he didn't even tell someone what he was planning to do.

Joe is a likeable enough character and it would be nice to read more about him and his life in Kingston in future books, but I hope Hamilton can add a bit more logic to this potential new series.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, August 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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