Mysterious Book Report Die A StrangerDie A Stranger by Steve Hamilton

Minotaur Books, $25.99, 278 pages, ISBN 978-0-312-64021-7

We reviewed Mr. Hamilton’s most recent Edgar Winner The Lock Artist last week, and this week we’ll review his newest work, Die A Stranger, the latest, in his acclaimed Alex McKnight series.  It takes place in northern Michigan, where McKnight is living a quiet life, making his living renting cabins to tourists.  As the book begins, a small airplane is landing on a remote rural airstrip on the dead of night, delivering a load of Canadian Marijuana.  What was supposed to be just another routine, albeit clandestine, dope-drop turns into a blood-bath. . .  that leaves five dead bodies, enough blood to launch a canoe, an abandoned  Canadian aircraft with a dead pilot on board, a growing mystery, and a missing person: Vinnie LeBlanc, an Ojibwa Indian and Alex’s best friend and neighbor, who appears to be implicated in the affair.  When a mysterious, sinister stranger comes to town looking for him . . . Alex gets involved in what turns into a race against time when a doomsday clock with Vinnie and Alex’s name on it ticks relentlessly down to zero.  It’s a thrill ride at high speed on bald tires as Alex and the unlikeliest of allies team up to stop an unstoppable clock.  Written by the hand of a master, Die A Stranger is as smooth, mellow and warm as fifteen year-old single malt scotch.  It’s a series I personally was unaware of . . . an oversight I’m already correcting.  They’re too good to miss, and Hamilton will be a companion of mine as I read the rest of his work sometime in the next few weeks, we’ll review A Cold Day In Paradise, his first novel, also an Edgar winner.


John Dwaine McKenna