The Barnes & Noble Review
Steve Hamilton's seventh Alex McKnight novel (Ice Run, Blood Is the Sky, et al.) is an emotionally supercharged, darkly atmospheric masterwork matching the bleak setting of Michigan's Upper Peninsula with the spiritual condition of the series' forlorn protagonist, former Detroit cop McKnight.
Although it's allegedly summer in northern Michigan, the Fourth of July finds the inhabitants of the UP experiencing abnormally cold, wet, and downright dismal weather. Standing on the shores of Waishkey Bay, watching the numbing fog engulf everything around him, McKnight is deep in thought -- especially concerning the recent departure of the only really significant person in his life, Ontario police officer Natalie Reynaud -- when a wooden boat crashes full speed into old bridge pilings a few hundred feet from shore. Along with some other onlookers, McKnight heroically rescues the three men aboard, only to be approached by them a few days later and ordered to hand over a mysterious lockbox he supposedly stole from the wreckage -- or else. As the love of his life slowly slips away from him, working undercover in Toronto, McKnight is drawn into a deadly confrontation with ruthless criminals involved in a prescription drug smuggling ring.
A Stolen Season is one of those rare novels in which everything -- the setting, character development, symbolism, pacing, etc. -- flows together seamlessly to create a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. And mystery fans who may have not yet read an Alex McKnight novel need not worry: Hamilton does a great job of getting readers quickly caught up on backstory and making every book a stand-alone. No novel is perfect -- but A Stolen Season sure comes close. Paul Goat Allen