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Five Star First Edition Mystery - A Killing Frost Hardcover – September 2, 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Ron Shade Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Police officer and short story writer Michael A. Black likewise brings authenticity to A Killing Frost: A Ron Shade Novel. A search for a missing fiance, who turns up floating dead in a canal, leads Chicago PI Ron Shade into far more trouble than he bargained for in this assured debut in the classic hard-boiled tradition, which boasts blurbs from Sara Paretsky and Andrew Vachss.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This intriguing first mystery by a police officer features Ron Shade, a Chicago-area tough-guy P.I. and martial arts aficionado. Looking for Carlos, an illegal immigrant gone missing, Ron hears conflicting stories from his shifty-eyed bosses and the other illegal immigrants with whom Carlos toils at dangerous tasks. The scene predictably shifts to murder, complicating Ron's employment, training for a kick-boxing match, and romantic agendas. Black's steadily engaging narrative and frequent action make this essential for fans of hard-boiled detective fiction.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Five Star First Edition Mystery
  • Hardcover: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Five Star; 1 edition (September 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786243090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786243099
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,397,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Some of the finest memories of my youth involve the arrival of the latest novel from Mickey Spillane. I knew, from repeated experience, that the next couple of days were going to be great.
I still enjoy the hardboiled PI genre --I've even been tempted to try my hand at writing one, though my own books tend toward a different direction entirely. But in recent years, the Mike Hammer school of private detective has been supplanted by a series of popular but... well, overly genteel gumshoes. Somewhere along the line, things got a little too politically correct, a touch too enamored of fern bars and gourmet cooking. I missed the grittier, more darkly complicated PI hero.
Well, he's back. In the deft hands of author Michael Black, the noir flavors I remember from my oft-misspent youth have been resurrected in the person of Ron Shade.
A KILLING FROST is the first of what we can only hope is a new series by Black featuring his Windy City toughman-with-a-heart. In it, we rediscover that an intelligent mind and a wicked right hook are not mutually exclusive; nor are cracked heads of the bad guys and a tough-but-tender touch with the requisite beautiful ladies who populate Shade's world.
Author Black himself is a journeyman writer, a cult favorite among authors-in-the-know. Go to any writers' conference, mention Black's name, and be prepared for the rave comments from writers whose names regularly populate the best-seller lists.
With A KILLING FROST, Black reaches a wider audience. My guess is that they will be equally appreciative of the talents of this hard-working, hard-hitting writer and the stories that he tells so well.
--Earl Merkel
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There may be lots of great literary PIs out there, but they'd better step aside, because Ron Shade has just entered the ring.
A Killing Frost really packs a punch. It has it all: Excellent story, delightful writing, and characters so real, I found myself thinking about them even after I turned the last page.
Michael A. Black has introduced private investigator Ron Shade, former full-contact Karate champion and former cop, who's gearing up to reclaim the heavyweight title, while dealing with the ups and downs of life. Just as the downs seem to be overtaking the ups, Ron's good friend Maria steps in with her friend, Juanita, bringing him a case that will put all of Ron's investigative and kick-boxing skills to use.
A Killing Frost pulled me in from the opening line, and didn't let go till the heartfelt ending that brought it all together. Ron Shade is the kind of guy we'd all love to have in our corner. He's strong, brave, tough, and yet possesses an undeniable gentle side that makes Maria sit up and take notice. I found myself so immersed in his adventures that I didn't realize I'd read the whole novel until it was done. This is a story that will engage, entertain, and most of all make you cheer for our hero.
A Killing Frost is Black's spectacular literary debut...Now let's hope there are lots more of his novels to come!
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Format: Hardcover
You know how it goes: most times when a friend or relative or coworker raves about a new book (or movie or TV show), it doesn't add up to the expectations built up around all the hype. But sometimes it is as good as you've heard, and it's those special times that keep you going back for more, searching the new talent pool that will amaze and delight you. A KILLING FROST by Michael A. Black is one of those even rarer treats, a book that's even BETTER than you've heard.
Simply put: I couldn't put the book down. Will Private Eye Ron Shade discover what happened to Carlos? Will the relationship with Maria blossom into something more? Will Shade regain his kickboxing title? And will Shade survive the breathtaking climax to reveal the murderous political corruption underlying everything about Space Oddities? The plots and subplots are woven so seamlessly and intricately that it simply isn't possible to set the book aside without wondering what will happen next. And so you find yourself saying, "Oh, I'll just read one more chapter," until you suddenly realize you've read the whole thing. It's that good.
One of my favorite things about the novel is Shade's relationship with Maria. I can't tell you how tired I am of reading PI novels where the "dolls" exist only to gush "My hero" or the sexy dame turns out to be the true murderer. Black sweeps all that silliness aside by showing Maria as a complex woman with her own identity and life. Their relationship is wonderfully romantic while still being true to each of their own issues and concerns of real life.
Best of all, Black reminds us that a car is just a car and a kickboxing title is just a title, but making the best of what you have and being true to yourself and your ideals in the search for truth and justice is what truly makes a man. And when all is said and done, the only question remaining at the end of the novel is: "When's the next one coming out?!"
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Michael Black has created a PI (Ron Shade) for the current times and set his PI in the Windy City, Chicago. That is fitting, since the author also has been a cop in Chicago for a number of years, and obviously, Chicago has some "mean streets" down which PI Ron Shade can prowl.

As a female reader who enjoys PI novels, I can't help but think that Black has created a PI that's macho--Shade is a competitive kickboxer--and one that also has a kind of gentle soul. For example, in Shade's love scenes with girl friend Maria, he is sensitve with a slow hand, so to speak.

Black's writing is spare and moves the story along quietly and efficiently. The reader doesn't have to wade through lengthy exposition. I could see a bit of Parker's Spenser in Ron Shade. For example, Spenser works out at a gym with a buddy who owns it, and Shade works out, too, and has a buddy in Chappie, the gym owner and his manager. There's also a bit of Macdonald's Lew Archer in Shade in that both have loner/melancholy qualities about them.

But Shade is distinctive.

I finished the book in one sitting, and when I closed it, I had the sense that I'd gotten in on the ground floor with this debut novel of Black's. I have no doubt that his PI character will evolve in upcoming novels and give readers many hours of enjoyment.

And I'm looking forward to the next one.
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