A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.
Let It Burn, by Steve Hamilton (Minotaur):
Coming off the success of last year’s Die a Stranger, this 10th installment in Hamilton’s justly lauded series
about reluctant northern Michigan investigator Alex McKnight sends the ex-cop back to his former stomping grounds, Detroit. His old sergeant, Tony Grimaldi, calls Alex out of the blue to tell him that Darryl King, the teenager he’d put away years ago for the stabbing murder of a woman--a highlight of Alex’s career with the Detroit Police Department--is about to be freed from incarceration. No big deal, there shouldn’t be repercussions to Alex or anyone else as a result of King’s release; Grimaldi just thinks Alex would like to know it’s happening, that’s all. But McKnight, who has more or less retired to the
remote Upper Peninsula town of Paradise, where he rents out a string of cabins
his father built to summer vacationers and winter snowmobilers, decides this is
an opportunity for a rare visit to the Motor City, maybe a chance to see some of his previous police colleagues and reconnect with an FBI agent to whom he once took a
romantic shine. So, much to the surprise of Grimaldi--who’d only offhandedly
invited him out for a libation the next time they were both in the same place
at the same time--McKnight hops in his truck and wheels south to take him up on
that offer. That excursion reminds Alex McKnight of how much Detroit
has changed (not necessarily for the better) in the time since he worked there.
It also provokes him to reconsider the incident that left his partner dead
and a bullet lodged in his own chest, and to chew over some facets of
the Darryl King investigation that were left unresolved. Could it be that they arrested the wrong person for homicide? Did they leave the real killer at large, free to take other lives? Let It Burn is a tense, well-constructed, and sometimes
poignant tale that will make newcomers to Hamilton’s series want to
go back and read the previous entries.