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Blood is the Sky by Steve Hamilton
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Blood is the Sky

by Steve Hamilton

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This is Steve Hamilton's fifth book in the series featuring former Detroit cop Alex McKnight, now 62 and living in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

As the story begins, Alex is trying to rebuild the cabin built by his father but destroyed by fire. His neighbor, Ojibwa Indian Vinnie LeBlanc, begins to help Alex but stops showing up. Alex discovers that Vinnie’s troubled brother Tom has disappeared on a moose hunt he was leading, and Alex offers to help Vinnie go up to Ontario to try to track him down.

The two get stonewalled and worse as they try to uncover what happened to the hunting party, all of whom have gone missing. They are further stymied by the hostile local police force in Canada working on the case, Natalie Reynaud and her partner Claude DeMers.

Although Alex and Vinnie are warned to leave the police to the case and go home, neither one of them are willing to do that. Soon enough, they are in a fight for their lives, with no idea who the enemy is or what the problem is. All they know is that the odds are against their survival.

Discussion: The crime portion of the plot wasn’t all that consistent or convincing, but in any event, it mainly seemed to serve as a foil to explore the relationship between Alex and Vinnie. But there was a moderate amount of tension to keep one reading, and Alex is a likable character. ( )
  nbmars | Sep 23, 2014 |
First book I've read by this author, and it was a good story. Set in upper=peninsula Michigan and northern Canada, the beauty of the setting doesn't distract from the storyline as Alex and Vinnie search for Vinnie's brother.
  wareagle78 | Feb 8, 2014 |
The story was a bit more convoluted than the previous one in the series and there was a lot of driving back and forth which seemed a bit 'casual' - I think an 8 hour road trip normally would take more thought than just hopping in your truck and heading out.

And there was a bit of a lapse regarding the border crossings into Canada. The main character and his cohort drive across the border without id, with weapons, and all beat up. And nobody stops them or even looks at them funny. Pretty sure you can't get across an international border so easily.

Oh, and after the 'big reveal', there is another little.... hmmm... continuation of the story which I think might have been a bit too much. The tension was all resolved by this point so I wasn't really that invested in this second wrap up.

Of course, I will be reading the next in the series. ( )
  crazybatcow | Aug 20, 2013 |
I've read all of Steve Hamilton's books and I watch his web site looking forward to the next one. I recommend them to everyone, even people who don't read mysteries. I recommended this book to a teenage boy who was very surprised to find out that he enjoyed a book that was recommended by an old lady. ( )
  R0BIN | Apr 27, 2013 |
Alex McKnight of this series is a hard-luck guy! His promising baseball career is brought to an end by an injury. He joins the Detroit police but this part of his life ends tragically when he gets shot up and his partner is killed. Wouldn't you know it, his wife leaves him! He ends up in the wilds of Michigan where his father has left him some land with a few cabins which he rents out during hunting and snowmobiling seasons. Hamiliton's subtle humor and magnificent descriptions of the land and people held my interest and made the story worth reading. ( )
  Lynn_Barker | Aug 9, 2012 |
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I saw a lot of fires when I was a cop in Detroit.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312991509, Mass Market Paperback)

One of the most promising secondary figures in Steve Hamilton's series about reluctant northern Michigan PI Alex McKnight has always been his teetotaling Ojibwa Indian pal, Vinnie LeBlanc. But Vinnie remained mostly to himself through the first four McKnight adventures. Blood Is the Sky finally lets him loose, and it's both a pleasure and painful to see what results.

Vinnie's younger, ex-con brother, Tom, has disappeared. In violation of his parole, Tom had guided a small contingent of moose hunters into the pacific forests of Ontario, but none of them had returned home on schedule. To assuage Vinnie's worries, McKnight agrees to drive with him into Canada and look for the men. No luck; the owners of a money-losing lakeside lodge where those sportsmen had stayed say they departed days ago. So where did they go? Who were the two other, unidentified guys who came looking for them in advance of McKnight and his friend? And why was the hunters' vehicle abandoned, with their wallets inside, near an Indian reservation? Looking for answers, the detective and Vinnie set off into the woods, where hungry bears are by no means the most dangerous creatures they'll have to face.

Despite its Deliverance-like moments, and an explosively violent conclusion that's not sufficiently foreshadowed, Blood Is the Sky is really a gracefully composed study of character, as focused on Vinnie's strengths and failings as Hamilton's previous novel, North of Nowhere, was on the backstory of another series regular, bar owner Jackie Connery. Yet McKnight shines here, too, his self-effacing humor keeping readers amused, when they aren't amazed--again--by the lengths to which this supposedly lonerish sleuth will go to help a friend in trouble. --J. Kingston Pierce

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:45 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Compelled by an old friend to investigate the disappearance of a hunting group in the woods of northern Ontario, reluctant investigator Alex McKnight finds himself deep in the wilderness, lacking food and weapons and at the mercy of a killer who could prevent everyone's return.… (more)

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