blood is the sky


Steve Hamilton

Orion Books, £12.99 hdbk June 2003

Reviewed by Mike Jecks

Aw, where to begin.
Right this guy got me hooked in moments, because it's all about Canada, and I know and love the place. Second, this is a story about hunting lodges far in the north, which fascinates me, and third, it has a brilliant set of leading characters. This is Steve's fifth book with his main character, Alex McKnight. McKnight has been a cop in Detroit, then a private eye, and now he's in semi-retirement, making a living renting out cabins built twenty years ago in the Michigan woods by his old man and living in one. A cabin has burned down, and Alex is rebuilding it. He's lucky, because his neighbour, Vinnie, offers to help him, and Vinnie is far more competent. It's probably his Ojibwa Indian blood. But then Vinnie gets called away. It's his brother, Tom. Tom went off on a hunting trip to Canada with a rich group, but hasn't returned, and Vinnie's family is growing concerned. Especially since Tom is on probation and shouldn't leave the country - and especially since Tom borrowed Vinnie's passport and wallet. Which makes it sort of difficult for Vinnie to get up there himself. They scrape past the border control into Canada and follow the hunting party's steps, but the two meet with only hostility and obstruction from the local northern Ontario folks, including the cops. And then they learn the truth about the hunting party and what happened to them.
This is really well written, with very fast action, lots of convincing detail, and a likeable pair of leading characters from an author who has already won great comments from such writers as Michael Connelly and Lee Child