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Blood Is The Sky - Steve Hamilton
This was my first Alex McKnight novel and it blew me away.
Alex McKnight, former Detroit police detective, beings to rebuild his previously destroyed (the last book maybe) log cabin in Paradise, Michigan, when a friend appears with bad news. Vinnie has lost his brother and needs Alex's help to find him. The two set off on a trail which takes them into the mountains and lakes of deepest Canada.
Switched identities, fearsome bears, moose with bad road sense and a deep, dark conspiracy test Alex and Vinnie's resilience and relationship to the limit. At once sad and funny, Hamilton has a great way of describing his surroundings, in what is obviously a well researched or well loved locality. You can feel the cold clammy weather under your shirt and you can imagine the miles and miles of unbroken forestland ahead of you. The camaraderie between Alex and Vinnie is excellent and all the other characters are carefully drawn.
In summary; great characters and an excellent plot, with a few twists to keep you on your feet, make this a sure fire award winner in the thriller genre.
Since I am 75 years old and have been an avid reader of crime, mystery, and detective stories since age 7, I have literally read ALL the great wirters. This extremely gifted writer captures the entire mood and geography of Michigan's UP, Canadian and Lake Superior environs. It is truly "different" there than any place else in the world and the reader can sense it. In most instances I've "been there and seen that." The reader gets a vivid picture of some of the old bars, villages, and lakesites where Alex visits. The geographic descriptions are splendid. Steve Hamilton deserves all the accolades he can get. Thela Ostling