The thing was sitting on the hallway carpet, right in front of the door to our room. . . I pulled the napkin off. Underneath was a hat, upside down, filled with ice and snow. . ."What the hell," I said. I bent down and picked it up.
"That's the hat he was wearing, right? The old man downstairs?"
"It is," I said. "But why?"
"Wait a minute," she said. "Is there something else inside there?"
She was right. I reached into the frozen mess and pulled out a piece of paper. There were five words written on it with an unsteady hand.
"What does it say?" she said.
I didn't answer. I just turned the piece of paper and showed it to her.
I KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Alex McKnight is in love. Even though he met Natalie Reynaud, an officer from the Ontario Provincial Police, under difficult circumstances, they share a common bond of solitude, as well as the same nightmare - they're both cops who buried their partners. It's Alex's first real relationship in years, which in some ways is terrifying. But Natalie has her own fears to deal with, and her own secrets.
They brave a violent snowstorm to spend the night together in a historic hotel in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. There, they meet a mysterious old man who seems to know a lot about Natalie, and about her family. But they won't be getting any answers from him - he'll be found frozen to death in a snowbank the very next morning. From this single incident, an old blood feud will be reignited, one going back decades to an event buried in her family's past - an event that even now can still drive men to kill each other.
As much as Natalie doesn't want Alex to become entangled in this web of lies and hatred, there's no way he can let her face this danger alone. This is a man who has gotten beaten up, shot at, and even dragged behind a snowmobile, all because he's a sucker for a friend in need.
How much farther will he go for love?
This gripping, roller-coaster read, the sixth in Hamilton's Alex McKnight series, commences in the forlorn burg of Paradise, Mich., where ex-cop Alex ekes out a living renting cabins to snowmobilers from "down below." Alex's conspicuous consumption of salads and newly dyed hairdo alert his pub owner/protector that he's smitten with someone. But love isn't enough to shield Alex and Constable Natalie Reynaud, on leave from the Ontario Provincial Police, from the violent fallout of a Reynaud family secret. A merciless snowstorm threatens Alex's plans for a rendezvous with the traumatized Natalie, who witnessed the killing of her partner in Blood Is the Sky (2003), but they meet halfway at a charming hotel on the Canadian border. A cryptic note in an old Homburg hat left outside their room arouses Alex's curiosity. McKnight, with the aid of his former PI partner Leon Prudell, plumbs local Prohibition history to find the seed of enmity between two destructively intertwined clans. His efforts earn him a brutal beating, an incomprehensible breach with Natalie and the discovery of more than one untimely death. Hamilton expertly delivers sharply etched characters, a vivid setting and a thoroughly enjoyable hero, leaving us breathless, perched at the edge of our seats for this chilly ride. FYI: Hamilton has won Edgar, Anthony and Shamus awards.