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A Cold Day in Paradise: An Alex McKnight Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Steve Hamilton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 15 2000 Alex McKnight Novels (Book 1)
In an unprecedented literary event, Steve Hamilton's A Cold Day In Paradise has hit mystery's Double Play, winning the two most prestigious honors in the business-- the Edgar and Shamus Awards for Best First Novel. Now, open its covers and see for yourself why this extraordinary novel has galvanized the literary and mystery community as no other book before it...

Other than the bullet lodged less than a centimeter from his heart, former Detroit police officer Alex McKnight thought he had put the nightmare of his partner's death and his own near-fatal injury behind him. After all, Maximilian Rose, convicted of the crimes, has been locked in the state pen for years, But in the small town of Paradise, Michigan, where McKnight has traded his badge for a cozy cabin in the woods, a murderer with Rose's unmistakable trademarks appears to be back to his killing ways. With Rose locked away, McKnight can't understand who else would know the intimate details of the old murders-- not to mention the signature blood-red rose left on his doorstep. And it seems like it'll be a frozen day in Hell before McKnight can unravel the cold truth from a deadly deception in a town that's anything but Paradise.
 
A Cold Day in Paradise is the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

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From Amazon

Doing their best to ensure the future of the genre, St. Martin's Press and the Private Eye Writers of America give out an award every year for the Best First Private Eye Novel. The 1997 winner was this splendidly evocative work by IBM employee Steve Hamilton, which takes just about every cliché in the field and turns it inside out. Yes, Alex McKnight was an athlete in his youth--but a minor league baseball player, not a top pro forced out by injury. And yes, he was a cop in Detroit before he moved up to the town of Paradise on the shores of Lake Superior--but even this overused genre icon is made believable by the details of a particularly bloody shootout. In Paradise, Alex runs a hunting camp built by his late father and only drifts into private investigations because of two friends, a persuasive lawyer and a local millionaire with a gambling problem who needs his help. When two bookmakers are murdered and the millionaire disappears, all the signs point to the psychopath who killed McKnight's partner and left a slug near Alex's heart 14 years before. The only problem is that this man has definitely, positively been in prison ever since. You might figure out the plot twists a page or two before McKnight does, but don't bet the farm on it. And the deep layer of details that Hamilton provides about life in this bleak part of the world add to the book's many pleasures. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Hamilton combines clear, crisp writing, wily, colorful characters and an offbeat locale (Michigan's Upper Peninsula) in an impressive debut. Alex McKnight is a retired Detroit cop living in Paradise, Mich., on disability with a bullet next to his heart. He rents cabins to hunters and has recently taken out a private-detective license at the suggestion of Lane Uttley, a local lawyer. The book begins fast, with a lot of background deftly woven into the narrative. At a local bar, the lawyer's former investigator accuses Alex of stealing his business. Later, Edwin Fulton, the scion of a wealthy Detroit family and a compulsive gambler, calls Alex from a nearby motel where he has found the murdered body of his bookie. After Edwin's strong-willed mother hires Alex to protect the family, another local bookie is murdered and Edwin disappears, prompting Alex and the lawyer to start a search of their own. Meanwhile, Alex receives letters and calls that appear to be from the Detroit man who shot him and whom the then-cop had helped send to prison for life without parole 14 years ago. Hamilton cleverly joins the plots, leaving but one disappointment: how long it takes Alex to learn to place his trust in others with care. (Sept.) FYI: This book won the Private Eye Writers of America/St. Martin's Press Award for Best First Private Eye Novel of 1997.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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I STOOD IN a cheap motel room just inside the Soo city limits at 2:30 A.M., looking down at a man who had died that night, a man who had seemingly lost every ounce of blood from his body. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, solid read March 2 2003
Format:Hardcover
Steve Hamilton's writing reminds me a lot of William Tapply's books. I am now a fan of both! This is a well-written, good solid myserty. My only complaint is that our hero never confronts the real bad guy at the end. I was hoping for a Raymond Chandler-type showdown. Anyway, after reading the second novel in the series, I think that showdown may still be coming!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Big Disappointment Feb. 12 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I wanted to like this novel---I really, really did, because it had apparently received rave reviews and the beginning of the book was promising. But if you're an avid reader like me who is always looking for something new and exciting, you'll be as disappointed in this book as I was. The characters were flat, unimaginative and two-dimensional. The writing was about as exciting as the back of a cereal box. The plot was strange and unbelievable. Sometimes a book with these flaws can be saved by stellar prose, but that wasn't the case with this novel. The writing was blunt, plain and unevocative. Imagine someone without much personality---say an insurance salesman or someone who fixes air conditioners for a living---sitting you down and telling you a story about four or five uninteresting people. That's the level of excitement that this book generated for me. If you want well-developed characters, poetic prose and interesting plots, look elsewhere. This was a halfway decent effort from a first-time writer, but I'm stunned and amazed that so much praise has been heaped upon such an average effort.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Do Yourself a Favor Sept. 19 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A COLD DAY IN PARADISE is Steve Hamilton's first novel. In it he introduces us to Alex McKnight, ex-cop, ex-baseball player, current private investigator carrying around a bullet in his chest from a shooting 14 years previous in which his partner and friend was killed. When McKnight is taunted with information supposedly known only to he and the imprisoned killer and is later tormented with intrusive recollections from the past, it begins to appear to McKnight that the man in prison is responsible for two murders in the present. Once the groundwork for the mystery is laid, i.e. how can a man in prison commit two murders out of prison, I was hooked. My guess is you'll be hooked too.
In A COLD DAY IN PARADISE, Hamilton displays his skill to write tense and absorbing scenes driven by realistic dialogue spoken by intiguing characters easily visualized. Having read two previous novels with McKnight as the main character, it was well worth the reading experience to read Hamilton's first book. It was interesting to see the basis for the behaviors and relationships described in the later books.
Whether you've read Hamilton's later books and are interested in McKnight's past, or have never experienced the writing skill of Steve Hamilton, do yourself a favor and read this well-deserved Edgar and Shamus awards winner!
Tim Smith
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lost and Found Aug. 10 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Steve Hamilton's A Cold Day In Paradise is a quiet mystery novel with the punch of a heavy weight fighter. The story in itself is very simple but so well executed and complemented with such a great protagonist that you will soon find yourself completely lost into Hamilton's brilliant narrative.
Told in the first person, the book has us follow Alex McKnight, an ex-cop who retired when he was nearly killed while on the job. Now, many years later, he's a private investigator for a small-town lawyer. When the lawyer and Alex's best friend, Edwin, find themselves stuck in the middle of a murder investigation, Alex has no other choice but to help his friend and boss. But he soon realizes that the killer might have something else in mind: revenge.
The muderer seems to be a man named Rose, the very same man who nearly killed Alex so many years ago. When Rose begins terrorizing Alex's friends, Alex will have to try to find the murderer before he kills again, and before Alex becomes the only suspect in the investigation.
Suspenseful and brilliantly written, A Cold Day In Paradise in one small novel that never disappoints. In facts, it leaves you craving for more. There are no big shoot-out scenes in this novel, no car chase or chase through the woods. What you do have is a reserved thriller that is all about intelligence. Hamilton isn't going for the visceral. Instead, he takes his time to weave a tale that is all about its characters. It's hard to find a PI novel that isn't just about plot. And the fact that you sympathise and care for Alex, one of the best PI character to come along since Connelly's Harry Bosch, is only icing on the cake.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible First Novel June 5 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is Steve Hamilton's first novel. The main character is Alex McKnight, a former Detroit police officer. McKnight was a police officer for eight years until he was shot three times and his partner was killed. McKnight is haunted by the shooting and the fact that his partner died and he didn't. One of the bullets is still in his chest and serves as a reminder. The man that did the shooting is now in prison serving a life sentence for the shooting. Or is he?
Now living in a quiet town in northern Michigan called Paradise, the town suddenly becomes not so quiet when a murder occurs. To add to the fear that the murder brings, McKnight is contacted by the killer, who reveals intimate details of his own shooting that only he and the shooter would have known. Is McKnight's shooter out of prison? That is the question that begins to haunt McKnight.
This book is written pretty well. I really enjoyed it. It is suspenseful throughout. At one point it seems like the book is about to end, but then there's a surprising twist. This twist is just one of many that happen throughout the book. The suspense never stops. Hamilton does an excellent job of taking the reader inside the head of Alex McKnight. This book is great, so I'll definitely be picking up another book by Steve Hamilton. I'd highly recommend this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I hoped
I had heard great things about this book, so my expectations were high. The setting (nothern rural Michigan) is interesting, the protagonist is reasonably likeable, but otherwise... Read more
Published on July 12 2004 by David Spiller
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to believe
I listened to the book on CD, read by Nick Sullivan. I tried to read the book at first, but got caught up in the simple writing style. Read more
Published on Oct. 28 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to a great series
I began this series with vol 2 and although I went out of order it really didn't matter. The books are all very well written in a way that he explains what has happened in... Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2003 by Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars Debut in series gets my vote.
Steve Hamilton's "Cold Day in Paradise" won the Edgar as Best First Novel---I can see why. It completely captured me. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2003 by nobizinfla
4.0 out of 5 stars Debut in series gets my vote.
Steve Hamilton's "Cold day in Paradise" won the Edgar as Best First Novel---I can see why. It completely captured me. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2003 by nobizinfla
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cold Day in Paradise
Loved it, Loved it, Loved it.
Published on Nov. 30 2002 by SLP books
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cold Day in Paradise
I loved this book from the first page. As a life-long resident of the Upper Peninsula, I appreciate that Steve didn't portray the "locals" as idiots. Read more
Published on Nov. 2 2002 by SLP books
3.0 out of 5 stars mediocre
Steve Hamilton's debut entry in the Alex McKnight won both the Shamus and Edgar awards for best first novel. Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2002 by Orrin C. Judd
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