Review: Hamilton’s ‘Dead Man Running’ a compelling thriller
“Dead Man Running” (Putnam), by Steve Hamilton
Former Detroit police officer Alex McKnight tangles with the FBI in Steve Hamilton’s compelling thriller “Dead Man Running.”
The FBI has been tracking a killer who keeps his victims for a prolonged period of time after their deaths before he leaves them to be found by authorities. Now they have caught a break when a man on vacation discovers on his webcam that an intruder left a dead body on his bed. A trap is set, and they capture the madman, Martin Livermore, who claims there is another woman, and she’s still alive. He will take the FBI to her on one condition: they bring along Alex McKnight.
McKnight lives in a tiny Michigan town, and he hardly thinks at all about his past as a Detroit cop. He helps out with bail jumpers every once in a while, but otherwise his life is serenity and peace. He’s about to capture another fugitive from justice when he’s literally grabbed by men in suits and taken to a waiting private plane. When they arrive in Scottsdale, Arizona, McKnight sees the prisoner in person, and while Livermore knows everything including extremely personal details about him, McKnight has never seen Livermore in his life. So why is he obsessed with McKnight?
The trek to the hiding place of his next victim sets up a horrible chain of circumstances that will shake McKnight to the core. What he and the FBI don’t realize is that Livermore knew the house had a video camera and his plan was to get caught and take revenge on everyone, most especially McKnight.
Hamilton has won numerous awards for his mysteries, and his first Alex McKnight novel in five years is not only one of the best featuring this iconic character, but also one of Hamilton’s best. A truly diabolical villain, a baffling puzzle and growing personal stakes make for a well-written and amazing reading experience.