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Misery Bay (Alex McKnight #8)

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  2,534 Ratings  ·  268 Reviews
The New York Times Bestseller

One of The Boston Globe's Best Mysteries of 2011

ALEX MCKNIGHT IS BACK in the long-awaited return of one of crime fiction's most critically acclaimed series.

On a frozen January night, a young man loops one end of a long rope over the branch of a tree. The other end he ties around his neck. A snowmobiler will find him thirty-six hours later, his
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Minotaur Books
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A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve HamiltonMiddlesex by Jeffrey EugenidesAbby Cooper, Psychic Eye by Victoria LaurieBetter Read Than Dead by Victoria LaurieA Superior Death by Nevada Barr
Books set in Michigan
25th out of 333 books — 110 voters
Wolves by Cary GriffithNorthwest Angle by William Kent KruegerNorth of Nowhere by Steve HamiltonA Cold Day in Paradise by Steve HamiltonPurgatory Ridge by William Kent Krueger
Lake Superior Mysteries
23rd out of 29 books — 22 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 06, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast-paced interesting mystery with alot of great characters. The ending was a bit of a surprise, but it was believable. I really liked how Chief Maven and Alex McKnight worked together to solve the mystery, even though they didn't exactly like each other. Great dialogue, too. I will definitely be reading more books in this series.
Giovanni Gelati
Jun 04, 2011 Giovanni Gelati rated it it was amazing
I wanted to end the week with a bang and I chose this novel to start it off.
Let’s get rolling on” Misery Bay”! Here is the synopsis:
“On a frozen January night, a young man loops one end of a long rope over the branch of a tree. The other end he ties around his neck. A snowmobiler will find him 36 hours later, his lifeless eyes staring out at the endless cold water of Lake Superior. It happens in a lonely corner of the Upper Peninsula, in a place they call Misery Bay, a good 250 miles west of Pa
Mark Stevens
Jul 07, 2011 Mark Stevens rated it it was amazing
There’s a reason Steve Hamilton draws fine comments from the likes of Lee Child, George Pelecanos and many others at the rule at the top of the American mystery heap.

He’s very, very good. Nothing flashy, no gimmicks. Just good.

Hamilton is such a confident, powerful writer. He doesn’t rush or force anything. Despite the body pile-up in “Misery Bay,” the events don’t feel forced or contrived. There’s lots of plot and good detective work by Alex McKnight, but the whole book is so character-driven
Jun 13, 2011 Janet rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since Hamilton published an Alex McKnight mystery, but this book was worth the wait.

Alex is still drinking Canadian beer at the Glasgow Inn under the grumpy eye of barkeep Jackie, still working on rebuilding his cabins with Vinnie, still wondering why on earth he lives in a place where winter never seems to end. Everything in his life is reassuringly normal---and then he receives a plea for help from his arch nemesis, local police Chief Roy Maven. As strange as it seems to
Tim Niland
Aug 09, 2011 Tim Niland rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
After enduring a sweltering summer here in the armpit of the nation, it was refreshing to read about snow and winter. Alex McKnight, a sometime private investigator in Upper Michigan is sought out one snowbound evening at his favorite bar by his erstwhile nemesis, the town's chief of police. The chief swallows his pride and asks for McKnight's help on a baffling case - the son of a friend and fellow officer has has committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. The chief wants McKnight to do ...more
May 10, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for Library Journal:

There are not many places as remote or as unique as Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and few authors capture it better than Hamilton (whose stand-alone The Lock Artist won this year's Edgar Award for Best Novel). It has been six years since his last Alex McKnight novel (A Stolen Season), and eager fans won't be disappointed. McKnight, a former Detroit cop who retreated to the tiny town of Paradise after being shot and severely wounded by a psychopath who killed his partne
Jan 14, 2015 Jon rated it liked it
Well, not a book I'd be attracted to by the title; but I've very much enjoyed this series, and this was the next in line. Winter in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is even more a character than usual in this outing, and the hero drives hither and yon over most of the UP several times. He and the local sheriff have hated each other with a visceral hatred since they met in the first book of the series; but here they are forced to investigate together (and I mean together, for hours, in the cab of ...more
Jul 26, 2016 Kmalbie rated it really liked it
Larry Hoffer
Jan 04, 2012 Larry Hoffer rated it it was amazing
Steve Hamilton may be one of the best crime/mystery writers in the literary world today. After his spectacular book The Lock Artist, Hamilton returns to the town of Paradise in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and his series of books featuring baseball player-turned-cop-turned-sometime-private investigator Alex McKnight. And it's truly like the return of an old friend, as Hamilton hooked me within the first few pages and kept me racing breathlessly until the book's conclusion.

One cold night, a colle
Andreea Daia
Feb 11, 2012 Andreea Daia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, mystery, read-2012
This was an ARC copy, that was received through the GoodReads Advance program.

I thought that this was an excellent read from all points of view - character development, plot, and atmosphere. What attracted my at this novel was its realism. I sometimes find the detective figure to be over-the-top in a way or another (smart, witty, valiant to foolishness, or empathic). But there is nothing excessive about Alex McKnight: he makes mistakes, he is in no particular way courageous, his level of compass
Oct 13, 2014 Ted rated it liked it
Misery Bay marked the return of Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight character after a five-year hiatus. McKnight hasn't changed much, which is good news, but Hamilton's storytelling becomes more nuanced than he demonstrated in the series' first seven titles.

Hamilton's tendency has been to interrupt scene-setting passages with rapid-fire action sequences that can be abrupt. In the past we've met characters such as Ontario Provincial Police Officer Natalie Reynaud who was very likable, but after gettin
Craig Sisterson
Jun 17, 2012 Craig Sisterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, thrillers
Following the acclaim for, and award-winning success of, his standalone thriller starring a mute safe-cracker, The Lock Artist, US crime writer Steve Hamilton brings back to the page his troubled hero, ex-cop Alex McKnight, for the first time in several years.

McKnight, a former city cop from Detroit still haunted by his own bloodstained past, finds himself investigating the hanging suicide of a young University student in the frozen wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – prodded by the most
Ronald Roseborough
This one has more twists than a hangman's noose. Alex McNight is a part time private investigator and a full time retired Detroit police officer with a bullet lodged near his heart. He is reluctantly drawn from his rustic cabin in Paradise, Michigan, into the investigation of an apparent suicide of a young college student. The father, a U. S. Marshal, just wants to know why. Why would his son hang himself? Before Alex can report back from Misery Bay, the scene of the suicide, he finds the body ...more
Foster Winter
Mar 20, 2014 Foster Winter rated it it was amazing
I've followed this series primarily because I'm familiar with, and love the locations. This story takes place in locations that, while in Michigan, are separated by more miles than NY to Detroit; from Bad Axe (yes there is such a place) to Houghton home of Michigan Tech University, a frozen but well respected school known for its engineering program. (Okay some of my kids went there so I am a bit biased).

Of course I may have been somewhat influenced by the fact that I read this soon after return
Jim Nolt
"Misery Bay," the eighth in Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight series, begins with an apparent suicide in a cold and desolate site on the upper peninsula of Michigan. Strangely, soon after the boy's father asks McKnight to look into the reasons behind his son's suicide, the father is found murdered. And it doesn't end there. Soon there are several "suicides" followed by the murder of a parent. McKnight is once again a reluctant investigator, but what makes this story different is that his usual ...more
Jan 07, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
I have to give this book four stars because there were several days when I couldn't put it down. Plus, it takes place in my beloved UP. My husband is devouring this series in a way I've never seen him move through books before. I enjoyed reading a story that covered so much familiar ground and I also enjoyed trying to figure out the mystery. However, this book exaggerates characteristics of the UP climate and people, and sometimes Hamilton gets his facts just plain wrong (characters looking out ...more
Aug 06, 2016 wally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hamilton
3 aug 16, another from hamilton for me...don't know what # this one is, just that i've read others. was out in vegas riding in the elevator to the top of the they call it the paris casino? elevator operator noticed my shirt. i think that's how it goes. something on my shirt about the u.p. 'up north' maybe? don't recall. asked if i've ever read any steve hamilton. no, haven't. i have since. been down near misery bay, too, fishing streams in the area.
onward, ever onward.
6 aug 16, fini
Sandy Kell
Jan 12, 2012 Sandy Kell rated it liked it
Not as good as "The Lock Artist" (which was great!), but another entertaining Alex McKnight novel with great discriptions of northern Michigan, now added to my 'places to avoid' list - at least during their 10+ months of winter!
Apr 16, 2015 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the story and characters! the ending is little bit weak, but overall I love the character's colorful personalities, the plot is good and intense, some humors are the icing on the cake.
Jun 16, 2011 Kaye added it
Misery Bay arrived in today's mail and I immediately read it cover to cover. SO happy to have Alex McKnight back!
Oct 18, 2016 GymGuy rated it really liked it
Not bad but with one big issue....just WAY too long for what was in the story.

I will say that there was good character development. I really enjoyed reading about almost all of them. I enjoyed the writing style. I liked Alex. I liked Mavin. The plot was intriguing and had a descent ending. Great descriptions and realistic settings. I will have to say that the UP of Michigan is NOT going to be one of my winter vacations.

My only real objection was that there was just too much running around Mich
Oct 18, 2016 Delores rated it it was amazing
Steve Hamilton/Alex McKnight series never disappoint!! Awesome....great mystery filled with a good amount of suspense encountered by the main character. Highly recommend....this book/the entire series.
Oct 09, 2016 Cindy rated it really liked it
Not quite as good all the other Steve Hamilton books I've read but still a heck of a read. I like the simplicity of the settings, of the characters and of their dialogue. They talk like real people and I find that refreshing in stories. The reason for a lack of that 5th star in my rating is two-fold. 1) the ending seemed rushed and convoluted. The story progressed at a steady pace and all of a sudden, assumptions were made and conclusions were draw, even though they did prove to be correct. 2) ...more
Annie Williams
Feb 02, 2012 Annie Williams rated it it was amazing
Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton

~~~About the author~~~

Steve Hamilton is a prolific American crime/thriller writer. He has written many books, some of which are stand alone books. This book however is the eigth in the 'Alex McKnight series'. Alex McKnight is the main character in these books, he is, in Misery Bay, a retired police officer turned private investigator. I have not read the other books so I cannot comment on how his character develops through the series. The series includes (in order of
Gloria Feit
Jun 07, 2012 Gloria Feit rated it it was amazing
The first page of the newest book by Steve Hamilton, which brings the welcome return of Alex McKnight, describes a scene wherein the body of a young man is found hanging from a tree branch at the edge of a bay in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For those new to the series, McKnight is a former Detroit cop and current holder of a p.i. license, although he protests that he ‘doesn’t do that anymore’: He owns and rents out cabins to ‘the snowmobile people’ in season.

Three months after that first-page ev
Scott Foley
Nov 02, 2011 Scott Foley rated it really liked it
I recently discovered Steve Hamilton and read his work entitled The Lock Artist, a book I thoroughly enjoyed. So when the opportunity arose to procure an advance copy of his latest, a thriller called Misery Bay, I jumped at the chance.

Misery Bay stars a character called Alex McKnight. McKnight has, apparently, appeared before in previous Hamilton works, but my unfamiliarity with McKnight proved inconsequential. Hamilton eased me into McKnight's world by utilizing an organic, smooth narrative sty
Jul 05, 2011 Donald rated it really liked it
It's been a while since the last Alex McKnight novel, and it was worth the wait. Author Steve Hamilton (recent Edgar Award winner) does a good job of slipping back into the familiar characters and settings of the series, while still keeping it fresh. He feeds you just enough information from past books to refresh your memory, while also helping out first-time readers of the series. (So, you don't need to have read earlier novels to enjoy this one.) Some of the usual, secondary characters of past ...more
Jul 04, 2011 Hallie rated it it was amazing
The bleak, frigid Michigan's Upper Peninsula is the setting for Steve Hamilton's eighth novel featuring Alex McKnight, a one-time minor league baseball player and ex-Detroit police officer who at last count took three bullets in the line of duty. The novel opens with a young man, hanging from a tree on a snow-covered bank of Lake Michigan, staring out with unseeing eyes at Misery Bay. State police investigators deem it a suicide, but for the victim's father, a U.S. marshal, that's no answer. He ...more
Rogue Reader
Feb 05, 2012 Rogue Reader rated it liked it
Glad to catch up again with Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight series. Alex is a reluctant investigator, once a cop and now a private detective holed up here in Paradise, Michigan. A young boy is found dead, an apparent suicide hanging dead at Misery Bay on Lake Superior. And there starts a complex and seemingly impossible quest, to satisfy the grief of a father on the loss of his son. Alex's solid investigation - persistent, detailed and open minded - and his teamwork with Paradise police chief ...more
Oct 03, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
This is like slipping on an old pair of sneakers. Hamilton has done such a nice job of deep characterization in the previous seven books that he needs to waste little time in placing the pieces on his board, so to speak. Not that he rests of stereotypes of cardboard characters. He puts the series structure and the past character relationships to good use in turning on of the key adversarial relationships on its head here, pitting McKnight and Maven on the same side. It works really well at ...more
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  • Empty Ever After (Moe Prager, #5)
  • Trespasser (Mike Bowditch, #2)
  • Blue Wolf in Green Fire (Woods Cop, #2)
  • The Hanging Tree
  • Northwest Angle (Cork O'Connor, #11)
  • The Silent Hour (Lincoln Perry, #4)
  • Purgatory Chasm
  • Concourse (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #2)
  • The Queen of Patpong (Poke Rafferty Mystery, #4)
  • Mirror Image
THE SECOND LIFE OF NICK MASON, the start of a new series, will be out in May, 2016.

(Working on the next Alex McKnight book right now!)
More about Steve Hamilton...

Other Books in the Series

Alex McKnight (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • A Cold Day in Paradise (Alex McKnight, #1)
  • Winter of the Wolf Moon (Alex McKnight, #2)
  • The Hunting Wind (Alex McKnight, #3)
  • North of Nowhere (Alex McKnight, #4)
  • Blood is the Sky (Alex McKnight, #5)
  • Ice Run (Alex McKnight, #6)
  • A Stolen Season (Alex McKnight, #7)
  • Die a Stranger (Alex McKnight, #9)
  • Let it Burn (Alex McKnight, #10)
  • Untitled (Alex McKnight, #11)

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