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The Hunting Wind: An Alex McKnight Mystery (Alex McKnight Mysteries (Hardcover)) (Alex McKnight Novels) Hardcover – June 8, 2001

85 customer reviews
Book 3 of 10 in the Alex McKnight Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Alex McKnight, the burned-out former cop turned PI of Steve Hamilton's Edgar Award-winning first novel, A Cold Day in Paradise, was a promising catcher who never quite made it to the majors. But his old teammate Randy Wilkins did, for one game with the Detroit Tigers that effectively ended the pitcher's career. What Randy can't forget about that game was the beautiful young woman he met the night before he blew his future in professional sports. Over two decades later, he's come to McKnight to track down the mysterious Maria, whose memory still haunts him. The trail is pretty cold after all these years, but Alex manages to get a line on Maria's relatives, who aren't exactly thrilled to make his acquaintance. In fact, they're downright hostile when Alex finds them in a small Michigan town, and he just barely escapes with his life. But he perseveres, and ultimately makes his way to an even smaller resort town, where the natives are almost as unfriendly. The police chief is so hostile to Alex's efforts that he quickly realizes someone else is on her tail, and that there's a good reason she's been hiding out for so long. Not only that, when someone shoots Randy and almost kills him, Alex is in for another nasty surprise. His old friend isn't who he seems to be, and Alex himself may be the victim of exactly the kind of scam Randy's been running since he left the majors.

Hamilton has a well-developed sense of place, and he's good at exploring the complexities of his protagonist. But it's Randy the reader wants more fully realized, even after the mystery is solved and Alex makes a beeline back to Paradise. This is a taut, well-written thriller that fulfills Hamilton's promise as a writer to watch. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

Edgar and Shamus Awards-winner Hamilton's third Alex McKnight thriller (after A Cold Day in Paradise; Winter of the Wolf Moon) is the next best thing to Evelyn Wood. It is un-put-downable. McKnight, a former Detroit cop, was "retired" by a bullet that remains lodged in his chest. He owns a small business in upstate Michigan and likes to spend his time in the local pub watching his beloved Tigers on TV. One day, an old friend walks in a man he hasn't seen for 30 years. Alex has a soft spot for old buddies who exploit him mercilessly. This one is no exception. He wants Alex to help him find an former girlfriend whom he hasn't seen in decades. As he won't listen to reason, he and Alex are soon in Detroit on the almost nonexistent trail of his boyhood love. It is a leisurely but interesting trek that doesn't quicken until it seems to peter out entirely. Then, an unexpected act of violence causes everything we have believed real to blur into a haze of doubt. We are in the glorious, shadowy realm of noir where nothing is what it seems. Alex, the street-smart cop, is momentarily a babe in the woods in a pit of vipers. Hamilton's prose moves us smoothly along and his characters are marvelously real. His world is an existential one merciless to the innocent but in this exceptionally entertaining novel, McKnight is a decent man whose wits are a match for a whole world of vipers.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Series: Alex McKnight Novels (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (June 8, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312268947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312268947
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #805,235 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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Vale-Allen VINE VOICE on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Hunting Wind was my introduction to Steve Hamilton and, wow, what a wonderful introduction! Here is a man who writes with humor, with assurance, and with plotting skills that are right up there with the best of the best; certainly a fine, convoluted, narrative Ross Macdonald would have been proud to have written. Alex McKnight is a weary, highly believable (and very human) former cop who once had a brief-lived baseball career. It is this former career that brings Randy Wilkins, the left-handed one-time pitcher, back into his life after thirty years. Randy is a charming chatterbox who, in many ways, is still the very young man who had a shot at the big time and blew it in the first inning of his one and only major league game. And it is Randy's desire to track down Maria, the love of his young life, that takes the two men on a journey so labyrinthine that much of the state of Michigan is traversed in pursuit of the woman. Along the way the two men encounter some of the most intriguing and eccentric characters ever to appear in print--most notably the exquisitely drawn Maria and the strangely touching Chief Rudiger.
Before writing this review I ordered Hamilton's two previous books, and I will certainly buy anything else he writes. Here is an author with enormous talent who deserves all the kudos and a wide audience.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Wayne C. Rogers on July 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Steven Hamilton's newest book, THE HUNTING WIND, is another home run straight out of the park. He brings back Alex McKnight (A COLD DAY IN PARADISE & WINTER OF THE WOLF MOON) for a third outing that takes a hard look at the meaning of friendship and what it entails. McKnight is in the Glasgow Inn one cold night, drinking his favorite Canadian beer, when Randy Wilkins suddenly walks in to ask for his help in locating Maria Valenescu, a woman he once loved and whom he hasn't seen in thirty years. Normally, McKnight would say no to a case like this, but Wilkins was a close friend of his when they played together in the minor leagues over three decades ago, plus he's a hard man to refuse. Together, they begin to slowly track down Maria, using information on the Internet, birth records, and knocking on doors in the old neighborhoods around Detroit. Something, however, isn't quite right. When they finally locate Maria's family, both men are beaten up and almost killed by the woman's brother. It seems that Maria has been hiding from an individual named Charles Hardwood for several years. Hardwood used to be business partners with her husband, Arthur Zambelli. When Maria's husband was mysteriously murdered, she suspected that Hardwood was the one behind it so that he could take over their real estate business and marry her after everything quieted down. Maria didn't wait around. Out of fear for herself and her daughter, she took off, moving from place to place, barely managing to stay ahead of Hardwood and his private detectives. McKnight quickly realizes that he and Wilkins have gotten caught in the middle of something very deadly. It isn't until his friend is nearly killed, however, that our Michigan detective begins to understand that nothing is quite as it seems.Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on April 14, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In "Cold Day in Paradise," I thought Alex McKnight was a nervous breakdown waiting to happen. In "Winter of the Wolf Moon," I thought depression was his middle name. In "Hunting Wind," I am pleased to say Alex has settled in for the long haul with dogged determination, a delightful sense of humor, and a trustfulness indeed rare in a full grown man. I think Kevin Costner should play him in the movies.
While imbibing his favorite Canadian beer in his bar of choice in Paradise, MI, the Glasgow Inn, Alex is confronted with a blast from the past, Randy Wilkins. He hasn't seen or heard from Randy, a former phenom left handed pitcher, since his minor league baseball days thirty years ago. Randy has used everything but a dog sled to get to Alex and informs him that he wants help in finding the love of his life, Maria. He hasn't seen her in thirty years either. Randy had one idyllic week with her at the height of his career (he'd been called up by the Detroit Tigers). Do any warning bells go off? Sort of, but Randy is a silver tongued devil and enchants the entire Glasgow Inn (not an easy feat.) Joe Lansdale would love this situation.
By some impressively slick detective work, Alex does by-God locate the elusive Maria. Then we get into the "be careful what you wish for, it may be granted" scenario. Everyone's character and story goes through massive shape shifting with Alex along for a rueful ride.
The dialogue is crisp and frequently hilarious. I have never read of an off-season resort town recounted so well. I particularly liked the one knot left untied: Randy. Maybe I'll figure him out by 2005.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lorraine Milligan on October 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Steve Hamilton has a natural grace as a storyteller. His character is compassionate and decent, yet filled with mischief. I hope the next novel is not too long in coming. Keep up the great work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. C. T. Henry Jr. on January 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
There's something about Alex McKnight that resonates with me. Maybe it's his bad attitude. Maybe it's his sarcasm. Or maybe it's that in the end, he's a sucker like me. In this outing, author Steve Hamilton takes on a ride through Alex's past. Through the streets of Detroit, Alex and his old friend, Randy Wilkins, are off on a crazy search for a girl Randy knew when he played for the Tigers. When Randy gets shot, Alex tenaciously searches for answers. The plot falls short because the set-up isn't that believable and the ending is too abrupt. Furthermore, Randy's personality is quite annoying. I'm glad he got shot. An enjoyable read, but not Hamilton's best.
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