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"There is a bullet in my chest, less than a centimeter from my heart. I don't think about it much anymore. It's just a part of me now. But every once in while, on a certain kind of night, I remember that bullet. I can feel the weight of it inside me. I can feel its metallic hardness. And even though that bullet has been warming inside my body for fourteen years, on a night like this when it is dark enough and the wind is blowing, that bullet feels as cold as the night itself."

The bullet has been lodged next to Alex McKnight’s heart for fourteen years now, the police officer who was his partner is fourteen years dead, and the borderline psycho named Rose, who shot them both, has been shut up in the state penitentiary since he was caught a year later. So how is it that in a small town named Paradise, on the shore of Lake Superior on Michigan’s Northern Peninsula, the man named Rose seems to be stalking Alex McKnight? There is no doubt that Rose is still in prison – he has neither seen nor spoken to anyone on the “outside” in all these years. But McKnight, returning to his cabin in the woods late one night, finds a rose – the killer’s calling card – in the snow at his doorstep. He’d been called out earlier by Edwin Fulton, a wealthy acquaintance and a compulsive gambler, who unilaterally thinks of McKnight as his “best friend.” Fulton had gone to a local motel to pay off a bookmaker and found the man murdered with his throat cut. In his panic, he called ex-cop McKnight to extricate him. The bookmaker’s murder is only the first of what becomes a series of killings, and Fulton’s domineering and semihysterical mother engages McKnight, now a private detective, to insure her son’s safety. McKnight accepts the job reluctantly, knowing he will suffer the recriminations of Fulton’s beautiful, dissatisfied wife, with whom he had a brief liaison. And all the while, there are the constant reminders that, impossible as it seems, somewhere nearby is Rose – his namesake flower at McKnight’s door, his ghostly phone calls, his insane letters that remind the ex-cop of things done and words said that only McKnight and the killer could know. It’s a double mystery that plagues Alex McKnight – how could Rose be in Paradise, and what is he planning to do to Alex?


“Ingenious…Hamilton unreels the mystery with amounting tension many an old pro might envy.”
-- Kirkus

“Combines crisp, clear writing, wily colorful characters, and an offbeat locale in an impressive debut.”
-- Publishers Weekly

“[A] brooding, caustic, well-plotted and tightly written thriller.”
-- Detroit Free Press

“[A] brilliant, chilling debut…”
-- Barnes & Noble.com

Foreign Editions

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