Published in 1997, Steve Hamilton’s A Cold Day in Paradise — the first book in the Alex McKnight series — has its share of boilerplate elements, but by deftly integrating its protagonist’s past and present in his search for a murderer, unreeling the mystery with an escalating sense of tension — which culminates satisfactorily rather than surprisingly; more golf-clap ‘well-played’ than voracious applause — it’s clear why McKnight has starred in ten subsequent novels, and why Hamilton has developed a reputation as one of the genre’s most reliable storytellers.
Fourteen years ago, Maximilian Rose put three bullets in ex-Detroit cop McKnight’s chest, and murdered his partner in cold blood. Forced into retirement, one bullet still lodged next to his heart, McKnight’s only just registered himself as a private investigator when corpses begin appearing in the small town of Paradise, Michigan, and he starts receiving late night phone calls, letters, and mementos — seemingly Rose. But how’s that possible, when authorities at Jackson State Prison report he hasn’t left the facility or had any visitors for years?
Even though its final revelations didn’t shock me, I appreciated the craft of Hamilton’s debut, and his economy and masterly command of pace. I’ll be tracking down the other McKnight books as soon as I possibly can.
Imprint: Minotaur Books
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publish Date: 22-May-2012