Hard Cold Winter by Glen Erik Hamilton
We were in Seattle last weekend visiting with a friend from Texas. We stayed at the Arctic Club, a delightful hotel on Cherry Street just off Pioneer Square, set in the shadow of Columbia Center. Whether coincidence or providence, the book I brought with me to read, Hard Cold Winter by Glen Erik Hamilton, takes place in and around Seattle. As the book’s main character navigated the local streets and buildings, I was able to keep pace with the story from a whole new perspective.
Hamilton’s debut thriller, Past Crimes, introduced us to Van Shaw, an Army ranger who just returned home to Seattle after 10 years. When his grandfather is shot and left for dead, Shaw finds himself pulled back into his grandfather’s criminal culture. Publisher’s Weekly in a starred review called Past Crimes “an atmospheric and evocative debut thriller.”
In the sequel, Hard Cold Winter, Van Shaw is back in Seattle meeting with Will Willard whose niece, Elana Coll, has gone missing. Van was close to Elana when they were kids; both were teenage thieves. Van learns from Willard that Elana was heading for a remote cabin in the Olympic Forest with Kend Haymes, a spoiled rich kid from Seattle. Van finds the cabin where he sees a large bear devouring what remains of Kend, and Elana dead by two hollow points to her head.
As Shaw tries to make sense of the brutal killing he uncovers a conspiracy so heinous that it just might leave Seattle in ruins. With the help of Leo, a former Ranger who served with Van in Afghanistan, Shaw navigates a path filled with Russian gangsters, the rich and famous, and corrupt business tycoons with ties to his family’s past.
Faced paced and action filled, Hard Cold Winter is a top notch thriller. Van Shaw stands tall, a principle filled character with a full range of defects, both physical and mental, delivering him to the reader a little bit more realistic than most. I look forward to more Van Shaw novels.
– Virginia and John