Foes join forces in Steve Hamilton's eighth book of his Alex McKnight series. Chief Roy Maven seeks Alex's help when his friend, Charles Razniewski, is looking for answers about his son's suicide. Alex doesn't think there's much he can do to help, but for the grieving father, he's willing to go ask some questions. When a few details seem a little off kilter, Alex starts to ask more questions and discover some other oddities. The problems only escalate when Razniewski is murdered in the Chief's house. Alex has stumbled onto something much bigger than a young man's suicide and if he doesn't uncover the truth, Chief Maven may be the next target.
The Alex McKnight series has consistently been a strong crime fiction series, but with MISERY BAY Hamilton's taken his characters to a new level. The dynamics have changed between Alex and Roy Maven as they share experiences that no humans should have to endure. They see new sides of each other and that connection is authentic and well constructed. The bruised egos and jostled reputations are believable, often humorous and heartfelt.
Hamilton once again uses his setting to not only compliment but enhance the plot and build suspense and mood.
I had to chuckle to myself because once again Hamilton got me. I was anticipating his use of a cliche construct only to have him turn the tables and show that he was very conscience of that cliche. I could almost see him sticking his tongue out and saying, "really Forbus, don't you know better by now?" And I should because Steve Hamilton has not let me down to date, and MISERY BAY was no different.
Hamilton pays homage to two other crime writers in MISERY BAY; pay close attention to find Reed Coleman and Jim Fussilli making appearances in this McKnight novel.
I listened to MISERY BAY on audiobook, narrated by Dan John Miller. I am a fan of Miller. I think he does an outstanding job with crime novel narration. His style is especially fitting for Alex McKnight. He's not overly dramatic, but he build an appropriate intensity when it's called for. Miller also brings out the mood that Hamilton creates through his setting, so that you can almost feel the environment where the story is taking place. This isn't a fast-moving novel; Miller sets an appropriate pace that also brings out qualities in the characters. A very well-done audiobook.
MISERY BAY is available from Brilliance in audiobook (ISBN: 978-1-441-81552-1) and from St. Martin's Minotaur in hardcover print (ISBN: 978-0-312-38043-4).