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Blood Is the Sky: An Alex McKnight Mystery Hardcover – June 24, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews
Book 5 of 10 in the Alex McKnight Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

Edgar winner Hamilton's engrossing novel of revenge, the fifth in his Alex McKnight series (after 2002's North of Nowhere), alternates between well-paced action fraught with danger and Alex's slow, meticulous inquiries. A former Detroit cop sidelined by a bullet, Alex is living quietly in Michigan's remote Upper Peninsula when he agrees to help an Ojibway friend, Vinnie Red Sky LeBlanc. Vinnie's searching for his black sheep brother, Tom, who hasn't returned from a job guiding a hunting party of wealthy Detroit men in the Canadian wilderness. The staff of an isolated lodge on an island-dotted lake arouses Alex and Vinnie's suspicions with their unsatisfactory explanations about the hunting party's trip. Then the anxious wives report their husbands are missing to the Ontario Provincial Police, leading Alex and Vinnie deeper into an investigation that eventually points to a crime in Detroit in 1985. The fate of Tom's hunting party becomes apparent early on, as the reader gets drawn into a complex series of inexplicable, and highly improbable, coincidences. Nonetheless, Hamilton develops his plot carefully. A fine writer, he excels at describing the lonely locale as well as depicting such memorable characters as tough-minded cop Natalie Reynaud and Maskwa, a 70-year-old Cree still flying his clapped-out plane around the Canadian skies.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Series: Alex McKnight Mysteries (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (June 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312301154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312301156
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #689,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve Hamilton is the New York Times bestselling author of both the Alex McKnight series and the standalone novel The Lock Artist, currently in film development. He's one of only two authors in history (along with Ross Thomas) to win the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and then to follow that up later in his career with an Edgar for Best Novel. Beyond that, he's either won or been nominated for every other major crime fiction award in America and the UK, and his books are now translated into twenty languages. He attended the University of Michigan, where he won the prestigious Hopwood Award for writing. He currently lives in upstate New York with his wife and their two children. Visit his Web site at www.authorstevehamilton.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Blood Is The Sky - Steve Hamilton
This was my first Alex McKnight novel and it blew me away.
Alex McKnight, former Detroit police detective, beings to rebuild his previously destroyed (the last book maybe) log cabin in Paradise, Michigan, when a friend appears with bad news. Vinnie has lost his brother and needs Alex's help to find him. The two set off on a trail which takes them into the mountains and lakes of deepest Canada.
Switched identities, fearsome bears, moose with bad road sense and a deep, dark conspiracy test Alex and Vinnie's resilience and relationship to the limit. At once sad and funny, Hamilton has a great way of describing his surroundings, in what is obviously a well researched or well loved locality. You can feel the cold clammy weather under your shirt and you can imagine the miles and miles of unbroken forestland ahead of you. The camaraderie between Alex and Vinnie is excellent and all the other characters are carefully drawn.
In summary; great characters and an excellent plot, with a few twists to keep you on your feet, make this a sure fire award winner in the thriller genre.
Highly recommended.
Andrew Poole
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Format: Hardcover
This is another full-strength North Woods mystery from Edgar Award winning author Steve Hamilton. Sufficient background information is provided that a reader would not necessarily need to start at the beginning with "A Cold Day in Paradise," - but why miss all the fun and excitement?
Alex McKnight, former Detroit cop, former Major League Baseball player for a day, currently cabin concierge cum reluctant investigator in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (UP) signs on to help Ojibwa buddy Vinnie LeBlanc (Misquogeezhig - Red Sky) locate his wayward brother, last seen "guiding" a bunch of Detroit chimookomanag. This leads McKinight and LeBlanc through Northern Ontario - but it ain't no lightweight Bob Hope/Bing Crosby Road Movie. It's a taut tale, often bleak and gritty as the two, with help from friends and family back home in the UP, search for answers in the mysterious North. It's a fine addition to the Hamilton oeuvre. Reviewed by TundraVision
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By A Customer on June 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Though it is October and winter is establishing its frozen grip on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Alex McKnight begins rebuilding his devastated cabin. The ex everything (minor-league catcher, cop, and private investigator, et al) feels he must complete this job now as his humble abode, wrecked by a nut case, once belonged to his dad. His stoic best friend Vinnie "Red Sky" LeBlanc reluctantly helps though he thinks Alex should add asylum time to his resume.
Works stops when Vinnie learns that his brother Tom, a professional guide currently escorting a group in the Canadian woods, is lost. This seems out of character for a skilled expert like Tom, which worries Vinnie as much as his concern that his sibling's parole officer might learn about the parole violation of crossing the border. Vinnie heads north while Alex follows his friend. Neither realizes that the biting cold is not the nightmare on this journey.
Edgar and Shamus Award winner, Steve Hamilton has written his best mystery to date, which seems impossible, as the McKnight series is one of the best of the last few years. The story line twists and turns keeping the reader guessing as to what the heroes will find behind the next corner yet keeps a fast albeit cold pace without losing the prime plot. In spite of the frozen tundra, Alex seems warmer yet not mellower than he has previously appeared and the support cast provides the depth to a grand slam tale.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
My latest read is Steve Hamilton's Blood Is The Sky.

Ex-Detroit cop Alex McKnight has traded in the noise of the city for the quiet of building a log cabin on Lake Superior with his Ojibwa friend, Vinnie LeBlanc. The quiet ends when Vinnie's brother Tom fails to return from a hunting trip in Northern Ontario, Canada. The two friends go in search of him and are quickly plunged into the heart of a terrible secret in the Canadian wilderness.

A solid thriller from an Edgar-award winning writer. This is the first book of Hamilton's I've read and makes me want to read more. This novel has great characters and an excellent plot, with a few twists to keep you on your feet, makes this a sure fire winner in the thriller genre. I give it five stars. Some great descriptions of Canadian wilderness, moose, fishing and outdoor life woven around a solid mystery.

James A Anderson, Author
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Format: Paperback
Blood is the Sky by Steve Hamilton is the fifth book in the Alex McKnight series. It follows the adventures of Alex McKnight, who is a former minor league baseball player, a former Detroit cop and a licensed private investigator.

Alex is rebuilding his father’s cabin which was destroyed by fire when his neighbor Vinnie LeBlanc, who is an Ojibwa Indian, offers help. Soon he learns about the disappearance of Vinnie's younger brother, Tom LeBlanc, a young man out on parole. Vinnie tells Alex that a hunting party of five businessmen from Detroit wanted him to guide them to the forests of northern Ontario. His brother, Tom, who needs work and money went with them assuming his identity, carrying his ID and wallet. They are long overdue. But no one has heard from. Vinnie is worried about his brother and decides to go in search of him. Alex knows that it won’t be easy for Vinnie to go alone. So, he decides to help trace Tom and soon they were on their way to remote Canadian wilderness, where the five businessmen who hired Tom were headed. But when they reached the lodge where they had taken shelter, Hank Gannon, who is a pilot and part owner of the lodge, tells them there were only the five businessmen, and they had left a few days earlier.

It is getting more complicated with each passing hour. Alex is sure there are many secrets hidden in Canadian wilderness. Though advised against investigating the case any further, Alex and Vinnie persist. Soon they find themselves in a difficult situation where they must not only fight against nameless enemy but also nature. Are the businessmen on a moose hunt as they claimed to be? What happened to Tom? But the mystery also begins to unravel, and it is only a matter of time before all the pieces fall together.
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