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by Steve Hamilton
Minotaur Books, July 2012
320 pages
ISBN: 0312640218

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Drug dealing operations originating out of Canada have become more and more creative. In the latest twist, drugs are being flown in to small airfields in Michigan. The plane lands, the drugs are unloaded, and the plane departs in a matter of minutes. But this time something has gone terribly wrong, with several of the local smugglers being killed. An Ojibwa Indian named Buck Carrick is somehow involved and has disappeared, possibly aided by his cousin, Vinnie LeBlanc, who has also gone missing. It appears that Buck may have been the only witness to what happened, and the bad guys are in hot pursuit.

Vinnie's mother has just died; and his estranged father, Lou, has returned to the area to pay his respects and settle some emotional business. It's been many years since Lou was a part of Vinnie's life. Lou has spent several years in jail and isn't someone that is welcomed back home by his family or the members of the Ojibwa reservation. He's trying to make amends and partners up with Vinnie's best friend, Alex McKnight, to find Vinnie and Buck. They make a formidable team, with the skills of the former policeman and the ex-con complementing each other.

DIE A STRANGER is an excellent book in every way. The characterizations are powerful—we learn much about the continuing characters and the portrayal of Vinnie's father and his contentious relationship with his family is extremely well done. The plot moves along rapidly, with the suspense building all along the way. Hamilton has a smooth writing style that makes the narrative flow, and the dialogue is very realistic. The book has lots of action and twists, but it also has an emotional core that moves it beyond standard fare. The only flaw for me was a deal that Alex struck with a drug kingpin that didn't seem at all plausible.

Hamilton is the rare author whose books always work for me, whether they be part of this series that I love or a standalone, such as THE LOCK ARTIST. He has been on my list of favorite writers ever since A COLD DAY IN PARADISE; and based on what he's written so far, I don't expect that he'll ever fall off it.

§ Formerly a training development manager for a large company, Maddy is now retired and continues to enable the addiction of crime fiction fans as owner of the online discussion group, 4 Mystery Addicts(4MA), while avidly reading in every possible free moment herself.

Reviewed by Maddy Van Hertbruggen, July 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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