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MISERY BAY
by Steve Hamilton
Minotaur Books, June 2011
304 pages
$11.99
ISBN: 0312380437


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Alex McKnight and Chief Roy Maven go back a way. It's never been a pleasant trip, either. They've stepped on each others toes way too many times for their relationship to be anything resembling friendly. When Chief Maven stops in at the Glasgow Inn to ask Alex to do him a big favor, Alex is not inclined even to listen to, much less do what Maven is asking. He is even less inclined after he hears what Maven has in mind.

Maven's old partner, from a long time ago, wants someone to look into the suicide of his son. The police have already investigated. There was no note. It was clearly a suicide. The suicide took place in a far-away corner of the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan), Misery Bay. Aptly named, in this case.

Maven puts enough pressure on Alex and Alex has demons of his own to avoid, so he takes on the job. He is almost convinced, after his investigation, that this death is what it seems to be. His gut says no, and Alex keeps poking under rocks. Eventually, something comes out to bite him. This convinces him that there IS something to investigate.

What he finds is a very cold-blooded serial killer. If "Revenge is a dish best eaten cold." this killer likes his icy. He's waited a long time for this, and his motive is obscure for quite a while.

Hamilton has been writing about Alex McNight for some time now. He took a short break, as these things go, and is back with a vengeance. McKnight keeps trying to avoid his demons; his friends won't let him. He's a good man, often involved in bad things. Hamilton keeps this character growing, book after book. The setting is wonderful, particularly if one is sitting around in the middle of a heat wave but fine this time of year, too. The convoluted story line/plot is up to anything Hamilton has written in the past. Welcome back.

P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, September 2011

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