Night Work Paperback
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Top Customer Reviews
It was two years ago that he was looking forward to marrying Laurel. Then, on the night of his bachelor party she was strangled. Since then Joe has turned inward, retreated, doing his job and working out at the gym. But now he thinks that just maybe he's ready to make a better kind of life for himself, so he goes out on a blind date. Surprisingly to him the evening went well. Shocking to him was the murder of his date later that same evening.
As other women are killed, women who had some contact with Joe, the police zero in on him as suspect No. 1. It seems the only way he can clear himself is to find the psychotic killer who is intent upon destroying him.
Edgar and Shamus winner Steve Hamilton has crafted a suspenseful tale, which is read by another winner - Dick Hill. Named a Golden Voice and a Voice of the Century by Audiophile magazine, Hill delivers one more stunning narration.
- Gail Cooke
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Two years earlier, Joe's fiancée, Laurel, was murdered just days before their wedding. The case is still open. Lonely and afraid of staying that way, Joe puts a listing in a singles' site and lands a blind date with a beautiful woman. In a humorous opening, Joe approaches his evening out as if he were facing an impending execution. Fortunately, he and his companion hit it off and, for the first time in a long while, Joe is looking forward to the future. Unfortunately, a series of unexpected and terrifying events follow that make Joe the prime suspect in a series of homicides. To clear his name, he will need to find the answer to a crucial question: Who hates him enough to want to destroy him?
Steve Hamilton made his reputation with the solid Alex McNight series, and although this thriller lacks the punch of Hamilton's earlier books, it does have its strengths. Hamilton wisely sets his story in an offbeat location, Kingston, New York, and he gives his protagonist an occupation (probation officer) that is also a bit different. Joe is likeable enough, the writing is crisp and direct, and the mystery is fairly suspenseful. The only negative is that "Night Work" adheres too closely to the old formula: Nice guy tries to get over the death of his fiancée. He suddenly finds himself on the run from the cops, who suspect him of being a serial killer. He must find the real perpetrator before the detectives take him into custody. We have seen this plot too many times before, and Hamilton does not provide enough variations on this familiar theme to make his novel stand out from the crowd.
Ross McDonough wrote a good mystery in the 1950's, Meet Me at the Morgue, with a probation officer at the center, but Bantam Books thought Howard Cross wasn't hard bitten enough for the paperback trade, so there were no more Howard Cross mysteries. And so it goes. Revenge goes down better in the mystery trade than redemption.
So... I was impressed with Night Work. Steve Hamilton got the essentials of the probation officer line of work down right, and he made the contradictory mission of P.O.'s into the driving force of a plot with multiple murders. P.O. Joe Trumbull has come into contact with many hundreds of troubled people in his seven years on the job. When your job is redemption, then there are hundreds of ways for you to fail. The "T" you didn't cross, the "I" you didn't dot: you may have had a good reason, but you never know if and when you will pay. I can remember my own self thinking, please let no one die on my watch.
I hope that we see more of this small town probation officer from the Hudson Valley.
The storyline is a familiar one, but Hamilton has an enjoyable writing style and injects enough twists and surprises to hold the reader's interest. I was trying to make sense of the clues along the way but didn't guess what the final outcome would be. After a slightly slow start, the book picks up momentum and makes for a fast read to the end. Yes the eventual conclusion is pretty silly, but no worse than most books in this genre. I enjoyed this book.
Steve Hamilton is the author of a great series about a retired cop living in Paradise, Michigan. (If you haven't read any of them, start with A Cold Day in Paradise). Night Work is a one-off standalone novel, although on his website he suggests that there will be future books about Joe Trumbull.
If Amazon has any clout please convince Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Silva to keep writing