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By Steve Hamilton

Thomas Dunne Books; (June 2003)
ISBN: 0312301154

Reviewed by Karen Meek

BLOOD IS THE SKY is the fifth in this acclaimed series set in Michigan's Upper Peninsular featuring retired cop and some time PI Alex McKnight.

Alex is rebuilding his cabin after the events in NORTH OF NOWHERE. It's the wrong time of year to begin but he makes a start anyway. His neighbour and friend Ojibwan Indian Vinnie LeBlanc begins to help him out until one day Vinnie doesn't turn up. Alex is worried and discovers that Vinnie is heading up to Canada to find his brother Tom who has taken a job there, guiding for a hunting party. As Tom is on parole he's used Vinnie's name and is now several days overdue on his return. As Tom is breaking his parole the police cannot be called, so Alex volunteers to accompany Vinnie to find out what's happened.

When Alex and Vinnie get to the hunting lodge, the owners claim that the party has left. However it turns out that Alex and Vinnie are not the only ones looking for the missing men and that something is seriously wrong. Fortunately they get assistance from some local Native Americans, who fly them to the Lake where Tom's party spent their stay. Vinnie and Alex stay overnight but unfortunately the next day their return plane doesn't materialise and somebody starts shooting at them...

The author is a talented writer who makes you care about the characters, even those the reader never meets firsthand. The descriptions of the locations, in Michigan and Canada, are written so well and so atmospheric that the reader feels they are there. What lies behind the 'disappearance' of the party is a bit surprising and not predictable and possibly a bit disappointing. However there is a lot of tension and emotion before the denouement and there's even signs of a romance for our reluctant hero. If you haven't tried this series, what are you waiting for?

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