Friday, November 24, 2017


EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND by Glen Erik Hamilton (William Morrow, 2017)

Reviewed by Craig Sisterson

Former Army Ranger Van Shaw is recently single, out of money, and struggling to keep on the straight and narrow. So when an old contact, Mick O'Hassan, shows up on his doorstep, fresh out of prison and claiming to know the whereabouts of a hidden stash of gold, Van feels the powerful pull of his past.

The trouble is, some things are too good to be true, and before they know it Van and O'Hassan are trapped in a game with few rules and too many deadly players. Turns out, the only easy part of a life of crime is getting sucked back in...

Seattle native Glen Erik Hamilton burst  onto the crime writing scene two years ago with Past Crimes, a superb debut that introduced childhood thief turned Army Ranger Van Shaw, and went on to win the Anthony, Macavity, and Strand Magazine Awards for Best First Novel, and an Edgar nomination.

In this third installment in what’s become a really top shelf series, Shaw is rebuilding his late grandfather’s destroyed home when a terminally ill ex-con who did a past job with his grandfather comes calling. It's a tempting score on offer: a forgotten fortune in gold bars, abandoned in the floor safe of a destitute building. Just lying there, ready for the taking...

Having left the US Army, a large part of Shaw wants to stay straight, but he’s also drawn to the opportunity to utilise his hard-earned safe-cracking skills, for a number of reasons.

Only he and his grandfather's old accomplice aren’t the only ones with a plan, and the duo fall into a trap. Scrambling to survive, and with the life of an innocent young girl on the line, Shaw must enter an ultra-violent corner of the criminal underworld. He might be in over his head.

Hamilton writes really well-balanced thrillers, which blend page-turning plotlines with fascinating, memorable characters, good action, and a great sense of place. He sprinkles the narrative with fresh description, has a great turn of phrase, and overall just keeps the reader engaged on multiple levels.

Overall, I really enjoyed Every Day Above Ground, a very good tale in what is becoming a must-read series. I look forward to more from Hamilton and Van Shaw.

Craig Sisterson is a lapsed lawyer who writes for magazines and newspapers in several countries. He's interviewed almost 200 mystery writers and discussed crime writing onstage at festivals on three continents, and on national radio and top podcasts. He has been a judge of the Ned Kelly Awards (Australia), the McIlvanney Prize (Scotland), and is founder of the Ngaio Marsh Awards (New Zealand). You can heckle him on Twitter: @craigsisterson

No comments:

Post a Comment