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Misery Bay (Alex McKnight #8)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,849 ratings  ·  219 reviews
The New York Times Bestseller

One of The Boston Globe's Best Mysteries of 2011

ALEX MCKNIGHT IS BACKin 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 lif
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Minotaur Books
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Giovanni Gelati
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
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
Mark Stevens
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
Tim Niland
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
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
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
Foster Winter
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
Larry Hoffer
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
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 o ...more
Craig Sisterson
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
Andreea Daia
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
Nicole Ellet-petersen
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
This was my first book in this series. It was a very good read. The story begins with an apparent suicide in a place known as Misery Bay. Two months later, PI Alex McKnight is asked by his professional nemesis Sault Ste. Marie police chief Roy Maven to investigate the event as a favor to an old friend, a U.S. Marshall, whose son was the one who died. As Alex begins his investigation, the father is found murdered. Since he was a federal officer, the FBI is now involved. As Alex, Roy, and the FBI ...more
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
Harry Roger Williams III
Hamilton interlaces an unfamiliar technique through this satisfying mystery. The familiar elements of Alex McKnight, the reliability of his steadfast friends and the frightful Upper Peninsula environment confront twists and turns of evil that keep you guessing - and reading. I "had it figured out" more than once, only to find the plot bobbing and weaving and deflecting my comprehension. While reviewing the fourth in the series, North of Nowhere, I wrote, "The satisfying conclusion left questions ...more
Somehow I overlooked this one when it first came out. I read the next Alex McKnight mystery and there were references to events that I could not remember happening. While at my local library recently looking for the newest Alex McKnight I found this and realized this was the missing book. Like most of Steve Hamilton's books, I couldn't put this down once I started reading it and I finished it in just over a day. The unlikely teaming of Alex with Chief Maven actually worked quite well. And even t ...more
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 comp ...more
Sandy Kell
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!
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!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Gina Williams
Alex McKnight and Police Chief Roy Maven, have never seen eye to eye, or agreed on anything other than their mutual dislike for each other. So, Alex is taken aback when the Sheriff approaches him asking to help out an old partner from early State Trooper days.

It appears the man's son has committed suicide, hanging himself in a desolate location called Misery Bay, and the father is seeking some type of closure or answers as to why his son killed himself. When the father is discovered murdered, b
Ashland Mystery Oregon
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 Mav ...more
Having waited (almost) patiently for four years for the next instalment of the Alex McKnight series I tucked myself up for an evening in front of the fire and immersed myself in this tale of wintry despair, suicide and murder.

What never fails to disappoint with Hamilton's writing is his depiction of place and atmosphere. As a reader you are transported to the snowy bleakness of the shores of Lake Superior or the warm confines of McKnight's watering hole the Glasgow Inn and you feel that you are
Scott Foley
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
Kathleen Hagen
Misery Bay, by Steve Hamilton, a-minus, Narrated by Dan John Miller, produced by Brilliance Audio, downloaded from

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 coldwater 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 Paradise. Al
Gloria Feit
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
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 putti ...more
Annie Williams
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
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
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The Mystery, Crim...: Steve Hamilton is Quite Good 9 96 Oct 05, 2014 07:57AM  
  • Trespasser (Mike Bowditch, #2)
  • Purgatory Chasm
  • Empty Ever After (Moe Prager, #5)
  • Back Of Beyond (Cody Hoyt, #1)
  • The Hanging Tree (Starvation Lake, #2)
  • Purgatory Ridge (Cork O'Connor, #3)
  • The Silent Hour (Lincoln Perry Series #4)
  • Dead Silence (Doc Ford, #16)
  • Blue Wolf in Green Fire: A Woods Cop Mystery (Service, #2)
  • The Queen of Patpong (Poke Rafferty Mystery, #4)
LET IT BURN, the next Alex McKnight novel, coming Summer 2013
More about Steve Hamilton...

Other Books in the Series

Alex McKnight (10 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)
The Lock Artist A Cold Day in Paradise (Alex McKnight, #1) Blood is the Sky (Alex McKnight, #5) Winter of the Wolf Moon (Alex McKnight, #2) North of Nowhere (Alex McKnight, #4)

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