North of Nowhere – Steve Hamilton

February 8, 2017

Steve Hamilton brings another installment in his five-novel Alex McKnight series in North of Nowhere, published by Thomas Dunne Books, copyright 2013.

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The novel begins with Alex McKnight receiving an invitation to a friend’s poker game since the usual player, the sixth man, could not attend that evening.  The game will be held at a rich land developer’s mansion on his newly bought six-sided felt poker table.  The game went well for most of the night as it is not a high stakes game but friendly and the home’s owner, a man named Vargas, provided good whiskey and snacks for the six players.

Suddenly three men wearing masks and holding guns came rushing in and ordered everyone to lay face down on the floor and not to move.  One of these robbers picked out the home owner and ordered him upstairs to open his secret wall safe that Vargas had told very few people about.  Alex, from the floor, gets a look at one of the robber’s eyes and the athletic shoes he was wearing.  After talking to the police this remains their only clue as to who these bandits might be.  The developer is quite upset and accuses some of the players of having masterminded the robbery.

Leon Prudell, Alex’s ex-partner, is in a professional investigation business and is hired by Vargas to find where the money went by following the poker players and observing if any of their spending habits have taken a turn for the better.  Leon finds very little to work with and Vargas fires him.  Alex knows Leon well however and keeps him in consultation as to any further developments he might come up with.  Working together again Alex and Leon slowly unravel a bigger story about the men in the game as well as the land developer who’s house was robbed by these gunmen.

This intriguing adventure takes place on the Michigan Upper Peninsula which is bordered by Lake Superior to the northwest and Lake Michigan to the east and is one of the more remote places in the northern United States.  McKnight’s father had built several cabins here in a place named Paradise.  Alex loved the seclusion from the outside world and enjoyed renting these cabins to people who seek the same retreat from the life to the south.

Steve Hamilton was born and raised in the Detroit, MI area.  He has won several awards for his mystery novels and this story was a great one.

Literally, Paul

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