"That's how it happened. That hesitation, that long silence while she thought about it, I figured that was just natural. Just part of the dance, the getting to know someone new. Of course it wasn't that at all. It was something else entirely. But I didn't know her well enough yet. I didn't know the way she was, the way she has been for most of her life. The way she had to be. Above all, I didn't know the one most important thing about her - that she never, ever hesitated that long about anything. Not unless it was something big. Really big. Damn it all to hell. If I had only known."
It's Alex's first real relationship in years. In some way it's terrifying. But Natalie has her own fears to deal with, and her own secrets. When they arrange a romantic evening at the old Ojibway Hotel, Alex is approached by an elderly gentleman he's never seen before. The man is impeccably dressed, and for some reason he follows Alex onto the elevator, where he proceeds to strike up a bizarre conversation. The man shows Alex the ancient homburg he's wearing, the kind of hat that men just don't wear anymore, and asks Alex if he'd like to know how old it is. When Alex declines to guess, the man simply tips his hat and rides back down the elevator. Later that evening, Alex and Natalie discover the old man's hat lying on the floor outside their room. It is filled with ice and snow and the note on top has five simple words written in crude letters: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Little do they know, this one episode will reignite a blood feud that has lasted for most of a century. The stakes are higher than ever, and Alex is right in the middle of it. This is a man who has gotten beaten up, shot at, and even dragged behind a snowmobile, all because he's a sucker for a friend in need.
How much farther will he go for love?
Though it's winter in Michigan's Upper Peninsula,
where 30-below is commonplace, one lucky citizen has summer in his
heart. Alex McKnight is in love. Yes, the 50-something ex-cop,
ex-private cop, ex-"good field, no-hit" minor-league catcher,
ex-husband, who wears Weltschmerz like an extra set of thermal
underwear, has been Cupid-struck, converting Paradise, his usually bleak
hometown, into paradise. The lady is Natalie Reynaud, the Canadian
police officer Alex met in Blood in the Sky. Since then, the
affair has ripened, and Alex knows he wants it to become a thing that
lasts. The question is whether red-haired, green-eyed Natalie does too.
Maybe yes, maybe no; Natalie is hard to read. Moreover, friends have
warned Alex against her. You're a man who already has "too much trouble
in your life," one of them sensibly reminds him. But Alex, proof against
well-intended warnings, arranges a romantic weekend in an old luxury
hotel where the lovers immediately find themselves targets of an
unlikely stalker, a dark-suited octogenarian who proceeds to disappear,
leaving behind his homburg and a message: "I know who you are." The you,
of course, is Natalie: beautiful, tantalizing, enigmatic, loaded with
emotional baggage, and as much trouble as prophesied. Character-driven,
briskly paced, occasionally witty, even wise: Hamilton's best, better
than Edgar-winning A Cold Day in Paradise.
This gripping, roller-coaster read, the sixth in
Hamilton's Alex McKnight series, commences in the forlorn burg of
Paradise, Mich., where ex-cop Alex ekes out a living renting cabins to
snowmobilers from "down below." Alex's conspicuous consumption of salads
and newly dyed hairdo alert his pub owner/protector that he's smitten
with someone. But love isn't enough to shield Alex and Constable Natalie
Reynaud, on leave from the Ontario Provincial Police, from the violent
fallout of a Reynaud family secret. A merciless snowstorm threatens
Alex's plans for a rendezvous with the traumatized Natalie, who
witnessed the killing of her partner in Blood Is the Sky (2003),
but they meet halfway at a charming hotel on the Canadian border. A
cryptic note in an old Homburg hat left outside their room arouses
Alex's curiosity. McKnight, with the aid of his former PI partner Leon
Prudell, plumbs local Prohibition history to find the seed of enmity
between two destructively intertwined clans. His efforts earn him a
brutal beating, an incomprehensible breach with Natalie and the
discovery of more than one untimely death. Hamilton expertly delivers
sharply etched characters, a vivid setting and a thoroughly enjoyable
hero, leaving us breathless, perched at the edge of our seats for this
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