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Winter of the Wolf Moon: An Alex McKnight Mystery (Alex McKnight Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – February 15, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Alex McKnight Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reissue edition (February 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312974752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312974756
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Snow doesn't just fall on cedars on Michigan's Upper Peninsula: it coats everything, mobile and inanimate, in a treacherously quick, dangerously thick blanket of white. As Alex McKnight observes, gazing out the window of his cabin in Paradise, "It looked like about six inches of new snow. Around here, that qualifies as scattered flurries." Given this climate, the urge to hibernate is perfectly understandable--batten down the hatches, throw another log on the fire, and wait until the spring thaw. For Alex, the denning impulse is as much psychological as it is physical. Haunted by memories of his deadly failures as a cop, a private investigator, and a lover, Alex wants nothing more than to plow his driveway, be cordial to the snowmobilers who rent his cabins, and lower his core emotional temperature to the forgetting point. Unfortunately, he's got friends who get in the way of his seasonal plans.

When Vinnie LeBlanc, an Ojibwa Indian, convinces Alex to fill in as goalie for his hockey team, slap shots and hard checks are soon the least of his worries. Instead, he becomes embroiled in a tangle of conflicting allegiances; one of his opponents, Lonnie Bruckman, a bigot and a psychotic, is terrorizing the Ojibwa reservation in ways both personal and professional: he abuses his girlfriend, Dorothy Parrish, and sells "wild cat," a methamphetamine derivative, to members of the reservation. Dorothy--desperate to escape her Ojibwa heritage but reluctantly acknowledging its force--turns up on Alex's front door with a mysterious canvas bag and a plea for shelter: "'The wolf moon means it's time to protect the people around you because there are wolves outside your door.'" But the next day, she's gone.

As Alex, devastated by his inability to protect Dorothy, tries to find her, he must confront Bruckman--for whom a snowmobile is less a recreational vehicle than an instrument of torture; a mysterious Russian named Molinov; the combined forces of the local police and the DEA; and, it seems, even those he has always considered friends. Luckily for Alex, Leon Prudell, "a two-hundred-forty-pound whirlwind of flannel and snowboots," who really, really wants to be a private investigator, is right there to lend a hand. Leon adds a welcome note of comic relief to the novel (as does, to be sure, Alex's own dryly sardonic wit), but the book's tone is largely elegiac: "It was the middle of the day, but with the sun hidden behind the clouds and the weight of snow in the air, there was an oddly muted light, dim yet persistent, as each snowflake seemed to glow with its own energy. I stopped for a moment ... hypnotized by the sight of it and by the sound of my own breathing." Surviving winter takes many kinds of courage, and the reader will be enthralled by Alex's efforts to disprove Molinov's ominous warning, "'Once you freeze all the way through to your soul, you will never feel warm again. You'll see.'"

Steve Hamilton won the 1999 Edgar Award for his first Alex McKnight mystery, A Cold Day in Paradise, and Winter of the Wolf Moon will reassure readers that neither beginner's luck nor sophomore jinx troubles this author. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

It's just another lovely day in Paradise... for those who love zero-degree weather and frozen pipes. This Paradise is a town on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where Hamilton catches up with reluctant gumshoe Alex McKnight after his debut in A Cold Day in Paradise. The frigid season finds Alex focused on snowplowing, maintaining the cabins he rents to snowmobilers and whiling away evenings at the Glasgow Inn with a few cold Canadians. After years as a cop and PI, Alex is ready to settle down to undisturbed country life. But as any good mystery writer knows (and Hamilton, who won the 1999 Edgar for Best First Novel, is no exception), that's not in the cards. One night, a young Native American, Dorothy Parrish, whose troubles are unclear but obviously serious, approaches Alex, then disappears. Her sudden disappearance has Alex presuming she's dead, and there's evidence that she was involved with ill-tempered, drug-crazed hockey player Lonnie Bruckman. Ignoring his initial trepidation to reenter the crime world, Alex vows to find Dorothy and her kidnapper--or killer. Bruckman is definitely involved, and Alex, with the help of his "partner," Leon Prudell, identifies multiple suspects. Bruckman's hockey buddies are threatening, but it soon becomes apparent that there's a more powerful force behind them. This is a most entertaining tale, peppered with wry humor and real, amusing characters. Hamilton presents a fast mystery brimming with insight into both the politics of U.S./Canadian border crimes and the relations between Native Americans and their white neighbors. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

Mr. Hamilton is a very good writer and paces the story well.
sweetmolly
I have now read all of Steve Hamilton's books, and look forward to the next one.
grammajanet
I just finished the book last night, after previously reading the first one.
Hawk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By TheReader23 on February 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Steve Hamilton returns with another of Alex McKnight's "adventures" in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. McKnight is abrasive and arrogant at times but has the most endearing quality about him -- he's a real good friend. The thing that sets Hamilton's books apart from all the other mystery/thrillers out there is the setting. His descriptions of the cold weather are unparelleled. In this book, Alex takes a ride on a snowmobile and "he isn't exactly the driver." He ends up in the hospital a few times but readers of this series know that you can't keep Alex McKnight down. In the first book, A Cold Day in Paradise, we learn of Alex' expertise in the field of baseball. In this book, he's a hockey goalie. Maybe he'll be a downhill skier in the next book. This is a quick read and a rewarding one. Hamilton is a terrific writer and doesn't lose you for one minute. He doesn't disappoint his fans with this second book.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The only problem with this series is that Mr. Hamilton cannot possibly write the books fast enough to keep me happy! Once again he evokes my home territory with love and with fear- his descriptions of the weather and its effects on his human characters are dead on perfect. This is a man to watch because his books are just going to get better and better. I am just waiting to see how he handles an Upper Peninsula summer because he wrote so well of the awful winters we have that I actually turned the heat up in the house as I read the book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on March 29, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Alex McKnight's second outing is a little more light-hearted than his first. He is still an accident waiting to happen, but he's getting a grip. The action again takes place during winter in Michigan's Upper Peninsula right on Lake Superior. The author can and does give us a whole new definition of cold.
The story line is a stretch at times, and some things are never satisfactorily explained. It is more than surreal to meet a cultivated Russian gentleman in an ice shack in the wilds of upper Michigan. We are never told how and why he is there. Mr. Hamilton is a very good writer and paces the story well. There are no "dead" spots where nothing happens and the story stagnates. The reader's interest is engaged at all times with the interesting characters, Alex's actions and reactions, and the descriptive passages. What I needed is a more coherent plot that doesn't fall flat at the end.
I'm looking forward to Steve Hamilton's future efforts. He is too good a writer to disappoint us.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Judith Lindenau on February 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
That's where Steve Hamilton's "Winter of the Wolf Moon" takes place--just across The Bridge from my home. And I'm sitting here by my fire, reading this book, thinking that Alex McKnight could be my next door neighbor, the one with the small cabins and far too many snowmobiles screaming on the cold night air. I know those Indians, those casinos, and even the bars with the fireplaces and greasy hamburgers.
I didn't relate too well to the plot, I guess: I couldn't figure out why Dorothy Parrish had all those men chasing her around, including Alex. I didn't understand the presence of Molinov, or why a Russian was sitting in the middle of a Northern Michigan lake in an ice shanty, jigging with corpses and plugging his own men.
But somehow, I didn't care. The action was exciting, and Steve Hamilton's sense of place and detail and his excellent prose style kept me sitting right there by my fire, finishing this novel in one sitting while outside the snowmobiles roared through the night.
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you had the good fortune to read Steve Hamilton's Edgar Award Winning first book, "A Cold Day in Paradise", then you will certainly want to get this one. The very likeable character of Alex McKnight returns, and once again Steve Hamilton will hook you from the first few pages and keep you there until the very end. If you are looking for a new author with a fresh approach to the mystery genre, then Steve Hamilton will not dissapoint you. The characters, story line, and description of the settings are outstanding.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Steve Hamilton's "Cold Day in Paradise" was an excellent first novel, introducing us to the unusual hero, Alex McKnight.
However, this follow-up seems thrown together haphazardly. Although I hate to be picky, there is one disturbing error in this book. In the first novel, one of the main characters was EDWIN Fulton. In this book, the character's name mysteriously changes to EDMUND. Is this an author's faux pas or an editors? In any case, it is a shoddy booboo!
Also, in this book, Alex doesn't really do much of the private investigating at all, leaving it up to Leon Prudell, who emerges as more of an interesting character than McKnight. McKnight seems to be a whiny, pessimistic, self-pitying failure in this book, and his "devotion" to finding the missing Dorothy is rather tiresome and unmotivated.
The inclusion of the Russian Molinov and the scene in the ice cabin is way over board. The resolution, likewise, is too pat and contrived. Seems like McKnight should consider his choice of friends in the future, since in both books, they certainly aren't what they seem.
I do agree that Hamilton's descriptions of the frigid Michigan weather is stunning and evocative; unfortunately, the story and pacing in this one is tepid.
I also have a problem with Hamilton continuing to toy with us on McKnight's plans for revenge on his foes from the first book. Get with it, Hamilton. Stop manipulating and use your extraordinary writing abilities to deliver good reading.
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