Monday, July 1, 2013

Ray's Reviews: Steve Hamilton's Let It Burn


Steve Hamilton will be signing novels at a 
Tue. July 2 at 7:00 PM at Schuler Books, 
1892 West Grand River Ave. (Meridian Mall) Okemos.

He will also be signing on Friday, July 5 at 7:00 PM 
at Aunt Agatha's, 213 South Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor.


"Let It Burn" by multiple Edgar-Award winning author Steve Hamilton (Minotaur, $25.99) is the tenth in his very popular series starring private detective Alex McKnight.

Scheduled for release on Tuesday, this excellent crime novel is set minimally in his usual stomping grounds in the Upper Peninsula.

Most of the action takes place in decaying Detroit, with flashbacks to a time when McKnight was still a cop, before he was severely wounded and his partner was killed.

McKnight's last arrest, before he was shot, was teenager Daryl King, discovered in the huge, abandoned Michigan Central Train Station with a brutally murdered woman.

A colleague notifies McKnight of Daryl's impending release and is worried that revenge might be on the prisoner's mind.

McKnight drives down to Detroit to discuss the case with the old friend; it also gives him an opportunity to contact Janet Long, an FBI agent.

Although Daryl confessed to the crime, McKnight was hospitalized and not around for the trial. He has suspicions that Daryl isn't telling the complete truth and decides to investigate.

The diligent private eye uses his gut feelings and a variety of sources to gather information, discovering that there were other similar murders that took place after Daryl was sent to prison.

McKnight's investigation raises considerably more questions; the FBI becomes more involved as unnerving facts emerge.

The author's description of the current state of Detroit is exceptionally accurate. He deftly captures McKnight's distress at the ongoing decay of the once bustling and proud metropolitan center, noting "it's turning into a ghost town."

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Hamilton won  the coveted Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1988 for "A Cold Day In Paradise" and for Best Novel, for "The Lock Artist" which was published in 2010.

He's in fine form with his latest release, creating a highly entertaining crime novel with great characters and many unexpected plot twists.

If you haven't discovered Hamilton, you're due for a real treat - most of his superb McKnight mysteries are set in Paradise, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop 
grew up in northwest Detroit. He's reviewed crime novels and 
Michigan books regularly since 1987.

Find this and other books by great Michigan authors
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was published by the Lansing State Journal on June 30, 2013.

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