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Past Crimes by Glen Erik Hamilton
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Past Crimes

by Glen Erik Hamilton

Series: Van Shaw (1)

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Van Shaw, raised by his grandfather to be a thief, is stolen from a straight-an-narrow life back into the mayhem of his father’s world when his grandfather is found critically shot. Who shot him then is the overall mystery. Yet, while the mystery is intriguing, it is the relationship between Van Shaw and his grandfather that keeps the readers hooked. The relationship feels real. Granted, it is not the life most of us have grown up in, but considering theirs, the situation and problems come across authentically. This relationship is expertly developed by the use of flashbacks.
Hamilton uses flashbacks to compare past motives—character and crime history—with present circumstances. This ability to offer backstory along with story is nicely peppered allowing the reader access, along with the protagonist, to what is morally right and wrong. The more the characters become known, the more this line becomes fuzzy.
The draw of Past Crimes comes from the tension of the family dynamic between grandson and grandfather, and it is this tension that raises the game of plot twists, turns, and enables a surprise ending. Hard Cold Winter, his newest, has just been released. Find both on Amazon.

Reviewed in Le Coeur de l'Artiste http://www.djadamson.com/le-coeur-de-lartiste
( )
  DJadamson | Jan 4, 2018 |
Fast-paced and twisting, this is one of those mystery/suspense novels that's hard to put down. The characters at the center of the book--and especially the main character, Van Shaw--are believable and engaging, and Hamilton's use of atmosphere is masterful. The more I read of this work, the more I didn't want it to stop.

All told, I'll keep reading the Van Shaw series and any other works to come from Glen Erik Hamilton; the depth and believability of character here were incredibly refreshing for a work like this, and I'd recommend it in a moment. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Jun 3, 2017 |
For ten years Van Shaw's grandfather had not attempted to contact him, but now the message in Gaelic is not just a request, almost a command, and Van knows that his grandfather would not be asking if he didn't need him urgently.

He arrives at his grandfather's house to find Dono on the floor bleeding from a gunshot to the head. Some one flees the house just as he comes in. He has ten days leave from the army, just ten days to find out who shot Dono and why Dono had asked him to come home. A lot happens in the next ten days and all the action adds a sense of urgency to the novel, as his grandfather lingers in a coma in hospital.

Van finds that he still has some of the skills that his grandfather had taught him in his teens and the army has given him strength and resilience.

A good read that moves at a breathtaking pace. Apparently the first of a series featuring Van Shaw. ( )
  smik | Apr 19, 2017 |
A military man (Van) has a leave to go home to see his elderly grandfather who has been shot and is near death. His grandfather (Dono) has a long criminal past and we find that Van has done some unsavory things in his youth. Over time we find that Dono is involved in a plot to steal millions of dollars of diamonds. Others die and eventually so does his granddad. So the mystery is where are the diamonds and who shot his granddad? A really great book worthy of all the acclaim it has received. ( )
  muddyboy | Aug 4, 2016 |
Army Ranger Van (Donovan) Shaw -- prompted by a note from his grandfather to "Come home, if you can." -- takes a ten-day leave only to find the old man near death lying on the living room floor. The grandfather, Dono (also short for Donovan and Van's namesake) has an oozing gunshot wound behind the ear. Immediately afterwards, Van hears the house's back door slamming shut, and then receding footsteps. It sets Van on a mission to discover who'd tried to kill Dono, and why. Van's grandfather, a meticulous burglar with a life of crime in his past, is who'd tutored Van (as an adolescent) on the intricacies of breaking and entering, plus how to evade the law. Van knows Dono pretty well because, after being orphaned at six, Van had lived with his grandfather until reaching age eighteen. That's when the pair had a violent quarrel, and so no longer able to be Dono's partner in crime, Van ran off to join the army. Now, ten years later, Van begins to piece together a list of possible suspects who'd want to kill his grandfather. Was it a new associate of Dono's, or one from the past?

The storyline unwinds with intermittent flashback episodes of Van's life at different ages. One relates to Van being in foster care as Dono serves a single short sentence behind bars, while other sequences show the master thief, Dono, giving his passed-on knowledge to grandson Van. Readers will easily get why Van continues to hear his grandfather's guiding words in his ear, even as Dono remains comatose and at death's door in the hospital.

This is a tale that can appeal to readers of many genres. It's a grand whodunit, and there's a bit for caper lovers in it, with other parts for those who like treasure-hunt reads too. Those features will keep its reader hooked: but for me, what made this book such and undeniable gem stems from the palpable bond between its two protagonists. Yes, in my opinion, two -- Dono, the grandfather, and Van, the grandson, -- dual parts that make the Donovan whole. The complexity of their partnership, the working details of their burglary jobs shared, all the ins and outs of their PAST CRIMES, make this a totally absorbing read. At the finish, I at once knew there'd be parts I'd be reading over again. ( )
  PaperDollLady | Feb 18, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062344552, Hardcover)

When his estranged grandfather is shot and left for dead, an Army Ranger must plunge into the criminal underworld of his youth to find a murderer and uncover a shocking family secret in this atmospheric and evocative debut thriller.

Van Shaw was raised to be a thief, but at eighteen he suddenly broke all ties to that life and joined the military—abandoning his illicit past and the career-criminal grandfather who taught him the trade. Now, after ten years of silence, his grandfather has asked him to come home to Seattle. But when Van arrives, he discovers his grandfather bleeding out on the floor from a gunshot to the head. With a lifetime of tough history between him and the old man, Van knows he’s sure to be the main suspect.

The only way he can clear his name is to go back to the world he’d sworn to leave behind. Tapping into his criminal skills, he begins to hunt the shooter and uncover what drove his grandfather to reach out after so long. But in a violent, high-stakes world where right and wrong aren’t defined by the law, Van finds that the past is all too present . . . and that the secrets held by those closest to him are the deadliest of all.

Edgy and suspenseful, rich with emotional resonance, gritty action, and a deep-rooted sense of place, Past Crimes trumpets the arrival of a powerful talent in the mold of Dennis Lehane, Robert B. Parker, and John D. MacDonald.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:46 -0400)

Van Shaw was raised to be a thief, but at eighteen he suddenly broke all ties to that life and joined the military -- abandoning his illicit past and the career-criminal grandfather who taught him the trade. Now, after ten years of silence, his grandfather has asked him to come home to Seattle. But when Van arrives, he discovers his grandfather bleeding out on the floor from a gunshot to the head. With a lifetime of tough history between him and the old man, Van knows he's sure to be the main suspect.… (more)

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