When Van Shaw receives a cryptic message from his grandfather Donovan (Dono), he knows something must be wrong. First, the polite request to “Come home, if you can” seems totally out of character, but writing it in Irish Gaelic…now that’s a red flag. The wily old man who had raised Van was a career criminal, tough as a Puget barnacle, and about half as friendly. He’s the one who forced Van to leave Seattle in the first place after a little dust-up with a local drug dealer. That was ten years ago and Van, now Army Sergeant Shaw, hasn’t spoken to Dono since then, so why all the mystery?
Van returns to Seattle on a ten-day leave from Afghanistan expecting some sort of reunion with Dono. Instead, he finds the old man lying in a pool of blood, clinging to life with a bullet in his brain. Van has been away too long to have any idea who would do this, or why. All he knows is the police investigation is moving too slowly and leading nowhere. Anxious for answers, Van reverts to the illicit skills and instincts he learned from his grandfather, and launches his own investigation, Dono-style.
Debut author Hamilton does a cannonball into the murder mystery pool with his first Van Shaw Mystery. The action and mayhem are unrelenting, with jaw-dropping surprises springing up at every turn. Van has his grandfather’s talent for stealth and he isn’t afraid to use it. Dono’s old cohorts are feisty and loyal, though it’s unsettling because you’re never quite sure who you can trust. Brilliantly written with a brisk, intelligent plot. This is an amazing first novel. Glen Erik Hamilton, where have you been?