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By Steve Hamilton

St. Martin's Minotaur, June, 2004
ISBN: 0312301219

Reviewed by Karen Meek

ICE RUN is the sixth in the Alex McKnight series and follows on a few months after the events in BLOOD IS THE SKY where Alex met a Canadian policewoman, Natalie Reynaud. After a bit of time they have started seeing each other. She lives a few hours across the International border from Alexís cabin in Michigan.

Itís February and the weather is real bad, snow blizzards are on their way. Nonetheless Alex is determined to go up to Natalieís place but as a compromise they agree to meet up half way at the Ojibway Hotel in Soo, Michigan for a romantic weekend. Alex is delayed by a day due to the snow but when he gets to the hotel he gets into a strange conversation with an old man in a hat. Later the hatted gentleman sends Alex and Natalie champagne before disappearing into the night. The next morning they find the old manís hat outside their hotel room door containing a note stating, "I Know Who You Are." The owner of the hat, Simon Grant, is later found frozen to death in a snowdrift.

Alexís curiosity leads him to Mr. Grantís family who think it was Alexís fault that the old man died and so mete out a severe beating. Meanwhile Natalie calls off their relationship and apparently disappears. The weather worsens but Alex sets off to Natalieís home with a companion, one of Mr. Grantís sons whose brother is also missing.

The plot of ICE RUN revolves around family disputes and connections from decades ago and I found the nitty gritty of it a bit complicated. There is also a lot of travelling in this book including hours long drives between Michigan and Canada, which seems to slow the story down. Alex does his stubborn best as usual and I particularly like the way his friends support him: Jackie the pub manager, his ex partner Leon and Vinnie his blood-brother all help him and these are the most enjoyable sections for me. Natalie is an unsympathetic character and there are good reasons for her being that way but that, coupled with a not very exciting plot, make this book less enjoyable than the previous two Iíve read. ICE RUN is still interesting, the writing is as smooth as ever and capturing the setting is the authorís strongest suit, itís just probably not the best one to start this series with.

Would you like to read a review of BLOOD IS THE SKY or NORTH OF NOWHERE by this same author?

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