Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pg. 69: "A Stolen Season"

A Stolen Season is the seventh volume in Steve Hamilton's "Alex McKnight series."

Steve put his latest novel to "page 69 test." Here's what he found:
Page 69 of A Stolen Season takes place in a restaurant in a casino run by the Ojibwas in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Alex McKnight and his friend Vinnie LeBlanc are talking to Theresa LaFleur, who works at the tribal clinic. It’s her only appearance in the book, but she has some important information and Vinnie has brought Alex there to hear it in person.

They’re talking about prescription painkillers, which tribal members can get at no cost. And how this situation creates a real opportunity for abuse. They’re talking purely hypothetically now, about how a doctor might start suspecting something, and how a simple drug test might turn up an abnormally high level of the drug in the patient’s system. But then, just as Alex thinks he’s getting the picture, she turns everything upside down…

She looked around the room. Then she lowered her voice a little bit and delivered the punch line. “What if the drug test was perfectly clean?”

That’s Alex’s first hint that there might be something much bigger going on. He has no idea just how big, or how far-reaching, or what a terrible cost he’ll pay when he finds out. But as he heads out into the night, Theresa LaFleur’s last words to him will keep ringing in his head…

“One thing you have to understand,” she said. “These are serious drugs, and if you become dependent on them, you’ll do anything to keep getting them. Do you understand what I’m saying? You’ll do anything.”
Many thanks to Steve for the input.

Read an excerpt from A Stolen Season, and check out some of the praise it earned, including:
The chill of Michigan's Upper Peninsula doesn't cool the action in Edgar-winner Hamilton's expertly paced seventh Alex McKnight novel. Plot turnarounds and double-crosses ensure a startling conclusion.
-- Publishers Weekly

A real page-turner [with] enough twists in the story to keep you guessing throughout the book. Highly recommended.
-- Nancy Eaton for

[T]he setting is always perfectly rendered, and the plot is suspenseful and involving. If you haven't read this book yet, you've got a treat in store for you. Meanwhile, I have to wait another year to see Alex again -- don't you feel sorry for me?
-- Maddy Van Hertbruggen for

There are pages in this book that are staggering in their intensity. Hamilton has a deep understanding of how seductive isolation can be, how it can work its insidious magic inside a receptive soul... Steve Hamilton's work reminds you of the reason why you began reading fiction in the first place.
-- Yvette Banek for
A Cold Day in Paradise, the first in the Alex McKnight series, won the Private Eye Writers of America/St. Martin's Press Award for Best First Mystery by an Unpublished Writer. Once published, it went on to win the Edgar and Shamus Awards for Best First Novel, and was short-listed for the Anthony and Barry Awards.

The subsequent Alex McKnight novels have earned considerable recognition, and Sarah Weinman finds that a year without a Hamilton novel is cause for complaint.

Earlier this month John Kenyon interviewed Steve at Things I’d Rather Be Doing.

Read "The Education of Steve Hamilton" in January Magazine and other interviews with Steve.

Visit Steve Hamilton's website.

Previous "page 69 tests:"
Eric Klinenberg, Fighting for Air
Donna Moore, ...Go to Helena Handbasket
Louis Bayard, The Pale Blue Eye
Neal Thompson, Riding with the Devil
Sherry Argov, Why Men Marry Bitches
P.J. Parrish, An Unquiet Grave
Tyler Knox, Kockroach
Andrew Rehfeld, The Concept of Constituency
Laura Wiess, Such a Pretty Girl
Jeremy Blachman, Anonymous Lawyer
Andrew Pyper, The Wildfire Season
Wendy Werris, An Alphabetical Life
Laura Lippman, What the Dead Know
Meghan Daum, The Quality of Life Report
Scott Reynolds Nelson, Steel Drivin' Man
Richard Aleas, Little Girl Lost
Paul Collins, The Trouble With Tom
John McFetridge, Dirty Sweet
Michael Kazin, A Godly Hero
Bill Crider, Murder Among the OWLS
Zachary Shore, Breeding Bin Ladens
Rolf Potts, Vagabonding
Matt Haig, The Dead Fathers Club
Lawrence Light, Fear & Greed
Simon Read, In The Dark
Sandra Ruttan, Suspicious Circumstances
Henry Ansgar Kelly, Satan: A Biography
Alison Gaylin, You Kill Me
Gayle Lynds, The Last Spymaster
Jim Lehrer, The Phony Marine
Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.
Debra Ginsberg, Blind Submission
Sarah Katherine Lewis, Indecent
Peter Orner, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo
William Easterly, The White Man's Burden
Danielle Trussoni, Falling Through the Earth
Andrew Blechman, Pigeons
Anne Perry, A Christmas Secret
Elaine Showalter, Faculty Towers
Kat Richardson, Greywalker
Michael Bess, Choices Under Fire
Masha Hamilton, The Camel Bookmobile
Alex Beam, Gracefully Insane
Nicholas Lemann, Redemption
Jason Sokol, There Goes My Everything
Wendy Steiner, Venus in Exile
Josh Chafetz, Democracy’s Privileged Few
Anne Frasier, Pale Immortal
Michael Lewis, The Blind Side
David A. Bell, The First Total War
Brett Ellen Block, The Lightning Rule
Rosanna Hertz, Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice
Jason Starr, Lights Out
Robert Vitalis, America's Kingdom
Stephen Elliott, My Girlfriend Comes To The City And Beats Me Up
Colin McGinn, The Power of Movies
Sean Chercover, Big City, Bad Blood
Sigrid Nunez, The Last of Her Kind
Stanley Fish, How Milton Works
James Longenbach, The Resistance to Poetry
Margaret Lowrie Robertson, Season of Betrayal
Sy Montgomery, The Good Good Pig
Allison Burnett, The House Beautiful
Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History
Ed Lynskey, The Dirt-Brown Derby
Cindy Dyson, And She Was
Simon Blackburn, Truth
Brian Freeman, Stripped
Alyson M. Cole, The Cult of True Victimhood
Jeff Biggers, In the Sierra Madre
Jeff Broadwater, George Mason, Forgotten Founder
Alicia Steimberg, Andrea Labinger (trans.), The Rainforest
Michael Grunwald, The Swamp
Darrin McMahon, Happiness: A History
Leo Braudy, From Chivalry to Terrorism
David Nasaw, Andrew Carnegie
Leah Hager Cohen, Train Go Sorry
Chris Grabenstein, Slay Ride
David Helvarg, Blue Frontier
Marina Warner, Phantasmagoria
Bill Crider, A Mammoth Murder
Robert W. Bennett, Taming the Electoral College
Nicholas Stern et al, Stern Review Report
Kerry Emanuel, Divine Wind
Adam Langer, The Washington Story
Michael Scott Moore, Too Much of Nothing
Frank Schaeffer, Baby Jack
Wyn Cooper, Postcards from the Interior
Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov
Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew
Cass Sunstein, Infotopia
Paul W. Kahn, Out of Eden
Paul Lewis, Cracking Up
Pagan Kennedy, Confessions of a Memory Eater
David Greenberg, Nixon's Shadow
Duane Swierczynski, The Wheelman
George Levine, Darwin Loves You
John Barlow, Intoxicated
Alicia Steimberg, The Rainforest
Alan Wolfe, Does American Democracy Still Work?
John Dickerson, On Her Trail
Marcus Sakey, The Blade Itself
Randy Boyagoda, Governor of the Northern Province
John Gittings, The Changing Face of China
Rachel Kadish, Tolstoy Lied
Eric Rauchway, Blessed Among Nations
Tim Brookes, Guitar and other books
Ruth Padel, Tigers in Red Weather
William Haywood Henderson, Augusta Locke
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith
Robert Greer, The Fourth Perspective
David Plotz, The Genius Factory
Michael Allen Dymmoch, White Tiger
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Civilizing the Enemy
Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing
Libby Fischer Hellmann, A Shot To Die For
Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm
Bob Harris, Prisoner of Trebekistan
Elaine Flinn, Deadly Collection
Louise Welsh, The Bullet Trick
Gregg Hurwitz, Last Shot
Martha Powers, Death Angel
N.M. Kelby, Whale Season
Mario Acevedo, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue