Excerpt from Blood Is The Sky by Steve Hamilton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Blood Is The Sky

by Steve Hamilton

Blood Is The Sky
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2003, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The nest was hanging from one of the birch trees. They had already been smoked out the night of the fire, the nest partially caved in by the spray of the fire hoses. They were trying to rebuild, just like I was, but they had run out of time. Now half-crazed by the cold weather, most of them near the end of their natural lives, they saw me moving around below them, rattling around with my chain saw. They decided to go down fighting.

I slapped two off the back of my neck, another off my arm. "Crazy fucking things! Get away from me!" The next one caught me right on the cheek and that was it for me. The day was already going bad enough.

I had my extension ladder there, figuring I'd need it eventually, so I braced it up against the birch tree and climbed up with my ax. I was just about to swing at the branch. I was going to take the whole thing down with one good whack, and then I was going to soak the nest with gasoline and set it on fire. Knowing me, I would have emptied the can. A full two gallons of gasoline and then I would have thrown a lit match right in the middle of it. All the leaves on the ground would have gone up at once and I'd be running around with my pants on fire and both eyebrows singed right off my face.

I stopped myself just in time.

I took a deep breath and climbed back down the ladder. I dropped the ax.

It wasn't worth it. Watching the nest burn, sending the rest of those hornets to hell. They'd all be dead in another week, anyway.

It was a lesson I had taken most of my life to learn. Sometimes you have to let things go.

The rain came. The dark clouds stayed in the sky. I went back to work.




I had come back up here in 1987. My marriage was over and I was off the police force, with a dead partner in the ground and a bullet in my chest. I came up here intending to sell off the land and the six cabins my father had built, but I didn't do it. Somehow the Upper Peninsula was just what I needed. It was cold and unforgiving, even in the heart of summer. There was a terrible beauty to the place, and I could be alone up here in a part of the world where being alone was the rule and not the exception. I moved into the first cabin, the cabin I had helped him build myself, back when I was seventeen years old. I stayed up here and lived day to day and never thought I'd have to face my past again.

That didn't work. It never does.

Hours after I called it a day, I could still feel the buzz of the chain saw in my hands. There was a deep ache in my shoulder, right where they had taken the other two bullets out.

"What was it this time?" Jackie said. He slid a cold Canadian my way.

He was talking about my face, of course. There was a nice little swollen knot under my eye. Whenever something goes wrong, I end up wearing it on my face.

"Hornets," I said.

"How's the cabin going?"

"It's a little slow."

He nodded his head. He didn't say a word about how late it was in the season, or how much of a fool I was. Jackie understood why I needed to do this.

"You know who could help you," he said.

I knew. I took a long pull off the bottle and then set it back down on the bar. "I've got to get some sleep," I said. Then I left.

I was just as sore the next morning, but somehow everything felt different. It was all coming back to me, the way you let the chain saw and the ax do the work, the way you work with the grain of the log instead of fighting against it. The logs starting fitting together the way they were supposed to. I had the walls two logs high by lunchtime. Of course that meant it was getting harder and harder to wrestle the logs into position. I'd have to start using the ramps soon, and eventually I'd have to set up some kind of sky line. That would slow me down.

From Blood Is The Sky by Steve Hamilton. Copyright © 2003 Steve Hamilton, published by St Martin's Minotaur. All rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Guineveres
    The Guineveres
    by Sarah Domet
    It's a human need to know one's own identity, to belong to someone, to yearn for a place ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.