Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Cold Day In Paradise (Alex McKnight, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Cold Day In Paradise (Alex McKnight, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Cold Day In Paradise (Alex McKnight #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  4,099 ratings  ·  395 reviews
A Cold Day in Paradise launched Steve Hamilton into the top ranks of today’s crime writers. Now, see for yourself why this extraordinary novel has galvanized the literary and mystery community as no other book before it....

Other than the bullet lodged near his heart, former Detroit cop Alex McKnight thought he had put the nightmare of his partner’s death and his own near-f
ebook, 288 pages
Published February 15th 2000 by Minotaur Books (first published 1998)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Cold Day In Paradise, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Cold Day In Paradise

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

An interesting enough mystery that kept my attention and didn’t out stay its welcome but will be one I will no doubt forget before the turkey has even been carved. A private investigator in a remote location looking at his own inner demons whilst trying to hunt down a killer and possible crazy lunatic who seems to be hunting him down. The style of writing was a breeze to get through here and the book was relatively short considering there were a number of things going on so credit where cred
Oct 07, 2008 Craig rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers, Michael Connelly fans
Recommended to Craig by:
"The Year of Mystery Continues!"... This book was a great surprise! I picked it up at Partners & Crime after discovering it on the "first in a series" display, after I noticed that a) it's set in Michigan (had just got back from a week's vacation there), b) it won the Edgar Award for best first novel, and c) it's relatively short and I was looking for a break from another book that I was having a hard time getting into. The overall premise seems formulaic at first - former cop now PI encount ...more
Not bad mystery, with an interesting small-town Michigan setting. I only picked this up because it got recommended in a vague "readers also liked" kind of way for Julia Spencer-Fleming's books. Small town setting it had, ex-cop now PI for ex-army now chief-of-police it had, but other than that - Alex is no Russ, though he's mostly a pretty decent guy. I don't even know what to say about the "love interest" (it wasn't love)/ex (of an affair, as she's married)/clichéd gorgeous but maybe heartless ...more
Scott Rhee
Alex McKnight was a Detroit police officer who witnessed the brutal murder of his partner and was nearly killed himself (he still has a bullet lodged an inch from his heart) by a psychopath named Rose. For fourteen years, McKnight has lived with the knowledge that Rose is behind bars. It's been a long, cold fourteen years, and McKnight doesn't carry the badge or the gun anymore. He lives in a quiet, uneventful little town called Paradise in the Upper Peninsula area of Michigan, far from Detroit ...more
I enjoyed the first 15 chapters of the book. In fact, I mentioned it to a friend as a book to look for. And then we reached chapter 16 and the entire book went weird. As in, I wondered if I had accidentally plugged in the wrong book. A suspect suddenly appears, the former cop makes a series of stupid B-movie decisions and an implausible showdown occurs. At that point, the end seems clear but I listed to the next few chapters while I waited for him to figure it out. I finally reached chapter 22 a ...more
A former Detroit cop, having been wounded in the line of duty, settles deep in the woods, chopping wood and serving as a PI on the side ... all while having an affair with his "best" friend's wife. What could be wrong with this picture? Other than the fact that he's a Detroit cop living in the woods and betraying his friend, it appears the man who shot him multiple times and who murdered his partner is back, leaving red roses, notes, dead bodies, and wanting to relive the past.

Winner of the Edg
I agree that the overall premise seems formulaic at first - former cop now PI encounters a killer reminiscent of the case that ended his career. None the less I found that Alex McKnight is a detective that I can care about and I didn't guess the end too soon. It was also one of those books that makes me start casting the movie in my head which is a good sign.

I would recommend this book to someone who likes to read something between Lee Child and James Lee Burke. And dress warm.
aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot)
Alex McKnight still thinks like the Detroit police officer he was for 8 years; however, he is still suffering from PTSD and three healed bullet wounds. He retired 14 years ago on partial disability and now takes care of vacation property his deceased father had bought in Paradise, Michigan. Five cabins were built on the forest acreage, and McKnight keeps himself fit chopping wood and delivering it to the deer hunters who rent the cabins. Despite the stiffness of his shoulder and the bullet still ...more
What is an ex-cop on 3/4s disability pay with a bullet still lodged near his heart to do with his time? Become a PI of course and in UP Paradise Michigan, Alex feels he will probably have alot of time on his hands and get paid for it. Right??? Up until that first murder, then the second and oh those notes left for Alex, they let him know real quick, his past ain't staying buried for long...nope it intends to come up and slap him right in the face.

SH is a brand new author for me and this will no
Cautionary note: this review was written after reading the first novel in this series. Series reviews are fickled, unpredictable, and sometimes downright wrong if you base the entire series review on just the first puzzled bite. Maybe the cold weather outside's is making me grumpy, or I just don't wanna go all the way downtown to work, or maybe I just don't feel like pouring honey over my cereal. Whatever!

Not that this isn't a good read. I finished it in record time. Frowning for an acceptable
A Detroit policeman just shot in the line of duty and barely survives. The perp gets life in prison. The cop retires and moves back home to the Upper Peninsula where he takes on some P.I. work for a local lawyer. When a bookie gets shot and stabbed, it begins to look like the killer is is the same guy who shot the cop. But isn't he in prison?

This book has a pretty good story with a couple of really tense moments in it. But the wrap up contained some details that were a little hard to believe. So
I read this book after a Goodread friend suggested I try reading Steve Hamilton. Sorry for my ignorance but I had never heard of him but decided to read his first novel anyway.
How glad I am, I got into the book instantly and finished it the same day. The style of the book reminds me of one of my favourite authors, Harlan Coban. The story is fast paced and full of action and more than a hint of humour.
Thank you Jan I will be reading more of this author.
I read this for my Detective Fiction course and was quite pleased with the plot. It was definitely more of a fast paced novels but there were some parts that where completely pointless.

McKnight was a nice protagonist and I enjoyed his back story as well.

A nice quick read if you like mysteries and psychopaths.
I'm not usually one for detective stories, but when I went in search of another Steve Hamilton book I stumbled upon "A Cold Day In Paradise", and decided to give a try. I was pleasantly surprised with this book. After a slow start in the first 40 pages, this became an intriguing mystery I could not put down. This wasn't a classic detective mystery where the story revolved around mundane interviews, which I don't prefer. Instead, this was a mystery where the main character happened to be a detec ...more
Feb 23, 2010 Jonathan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mark Mallett,Ed Lynskey
Shelves: fiction, mystery
After I added The Lock Artist: A Novel to my To-Read queue, Steve asked if I had read any of author Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight series. I had not, so I added it to my queue and found it at the library just a few days later. A Cold Day In Paradise opens the series and it is one excellent read!

Alex McKnight is an ex-cop from Detroit who moved back to his old summering place, Paradise, Michigan, where his dad built a set of hunting and fishing camps. He left the police force after a particularly
C1998. FWFTB: cabin, rose, Paradise, former, police-officer. I can not remember why I got hold of this book. And it is just too easy to be cheesy and say “It left me cold”. I was motoring along enjoying the pace and the dialogue and all was good. And then the end....well, I wasn’t totally convinced. “There are no sand beaches on Lake Superior, nothing that easy and inviting. Instead there are rocks, more rocks than there are starts in the sky, pounded and washed by the waves ever since the glaci ...more
Darrell Delamaide
Steve Hamilton's debut novel won both the Edgar and Shamus awards for first novel, and it is indeed very good. The writing is crisp, the voice fresh, the first-person main character, Alex McKnight, is well-drawn, able but flawed and mostly sympathetic.

And it is certainly a page-turner. After about the first third, you will want to finish the book at a single sitting because the author paces the suspense well.

But it is a first novel and not perfect. There are some big holes in the plot. The most
Gloria Feit
This novel was the debut, in 1998, of the long-standing popular Alex McKnight series, introducing him as a Detroit cop, shot three times by a lunatic, forced to take a disability retirement three-quarters pension because one bullet remained near his heart and too dangerous to remove. So he left the Motor City and moved to the town of Paradise in the Upper Michigan Peninsula where his father had built several cabins for rental to hunters and winter recreationers. The man who shot him, one Maximil ...more
While traveling to the upper peninsula this weekend we listened to Steve Hamilton's first book in his Alex MeKnight mystery series. It takes place in the little town where we were going, Paradise.

I think Hamilton could have done so much more. McKnight is an ok main character but not very deep. I like it when a character has some little words that make me pause. (I did chuckle a few times though.) Or, if more of the silent type, then there better be some meaningful action. Driving back and forth
This book is a mostly enjoyable read for fans of the detective/crime novel genre. But it's nothing special.

Things I liked:

1. Fairly fast-paced, a couple good plot twists in the second half save what for a while appears to be a humdrum storyline.

2. The setting is Michigan's upper peninsula; Hamilton does a good job incorporating the setting into the story. If you're from there or have ever vacationed there, it's worth reading just for this.

Things I disliked:

1. The protagonist and a few charact
Cheryl Cooper
This is the kind of book I hate. It's 11:00 pm and you need to get to bed but you think "just one more chapter to get to a good stopping place". Before you know it it's 1:00 am, you never found that good stopping place but you give up so you can get some sleep. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more about Alex McKnight.
Really good book; I will definitely read more of the Alex McKnight series. I already read the Lock Artist by the same author which was very good also. A Cold Day in Paradise had a good mystery and I think McKnight will grow into a great character.
Re-read just to refresh my memory of the series beginning; first read in early 2000's on recommendation of a friend. Liked it as much the second read as the first. If I didn't have so many books on my to-read list I'd do the whole series over.
McKnight is an engaging character in a rugged setting who might be called the reluctant detective. But this is one case he can't avoid, as it seems his past is coming back to haunt him. Well-written, action packed story with good characters. Read in the ho
Harry Roger Williams III
In Goodreads, 5 stars = "It was amazing." What I find most amazing about this first novel was how deceptive it is. Of course the plot is deceptive - it's a mystery. The writing is even more deceptive, flowing and seemingly simple, yet powerfully pulling this reader into the mind and emotions of first-person narrator (and hero) Alex McKnight. "Less is more." It was the advice of two nephews, one a firefighter, the other a firefighter/paramedic, that led me to his book. Both of them have been read ...more
Christopher Fulbright
This book was a nice surprise. No one told me about it. In fact, I was totally unaware of Hamilton's work until browsing the bookstore a few weeks ago -- I just picked up A COLD DAY IN PARADISE and WINTER OF THE WOLF MOON on a whim. I finished the first one recently and enjoyed it quite a bit.

The main character Alex McKnight is an ex-cop with a horror story in his past. His partner lies six feet in the ground, and McKnight has bullet lodged in his chest to show for it. He's moved to the far nort
L.A. Starks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2011 Barry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: mystery
I was talking to Tami, a lady I work with, about my upcoming trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Tami and I often discuss books we are reading. She mentioned Steve Hamilton and his books that have plots centered around Paradise, Michigan. I found Steve's books in a gift shop in Paradise so I purchased them. I didn't have high expectations about the books but I was delightfully surprised. I'm now filling my Kindle with the Alex McKnight series.
I really liked this book. I liked the way you slowly got the backstory throughout the book, rather than spending the first two chapters explaining it...

The ending was off for me, only because I didn't expect it, and it wasn't what I wanted to have happen, but that's OK. It was just unexpected, so that is probably why.

It was a very well written mystery, and can't wait to read the next one with Alex McKnight!
Ellen Keim
Really more like 3 and a half stars. This is a great first novel in the series. I really like the main character. He seems like a stereotype--an ex-cop with some kind of trauma who is trying to escape from his past--but he's much more accessible than that type usually is. When he's scared, he admits it, at least to himself. And he has a sense of humor.

I like the setting, too. It's harsh enough to add to the scare factor plus its interesting to get a look at life in that part of the world. A cree
Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆
This book was 'okay'. I might've given this a three. I can't say it was my fav book every but I was thinking about book two.

The ending, though. The ending! WTF was up with that? Are you kidding? It seems like every book I've read this money has the villain giving the hero a monologue about why and how and who.

I truly think the author should look up the 'The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord' list. There all good suggestions, but I think number seven hits the mark:

7. When
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Tonight I Said Goodbye (Lincoln Perry Series #1)
  • Iron Lake (Cork O'Connor, #1)
  • Starvation Lake
  • The Blue Edge of Midnight (Max Freeman, #1)
  • Ice Hunter: A Woods Cop Mystery (Service, #1)
  • The Poacher's Son (Mike Bowditch, #1)
  • Back Of Beyond (Cody Hoyt, #1)
  • Vanishing Act (Jane Whitefield, #1)
  • Big City, Bad Blood (Ray Dudgeon, #1)
  • Tularosa (Kevin Kerney, #1)
  • Dead I Well May Be (Michael Forsythe #1)
LET IT BURN, the next Alex McKnight novel, coming Summer 2013
More about Steve Hamilton...

Other Books in the Series

Alex McKnight (10 books)
  • 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)
  • Misery Bay (Alex McKnight, #8)
  • Die a Stranger (Alex McKnight, #9)
  • Let it Burn (Alex McKnight, #10)
The Lock Artist Blood is the Sky (Alex McKnight, #5) Misery Bay (Alex McKnight, #8) Winter of the Wolf Moon (Alex McKnight, #2) North of Nowhere (Alex McKnight, #4)

Share This Book