Steven Hamilton's newest book, THE HUNTING WIND, is another home run straight out of the park. He brings back Alex McKnight (A COLD DAY IN PARADISE & WINTER OF THE WOLF MOON) for a third outing that takes a hard look at the meaning of friendship and what it entails. McKnight is in the Glasgow Inn one cold night, drinking his favorite Canadian beer, when Randy Wilkins suddenly walks in to ask for his help in locating Maria Valenescu, a woman he once loved and whom he hasn't seen in thirty years. Normally, McKnight would say no to a case like this, but Wilkins was a close friend of his when they played together in the minor leagues over three decades ago, plus he's a hard man to refuse. Together, they begin to slowly track down Maria, using information on the Internet, birth records, and knocking on doors in the old neighborhoods around Detroit. Something, however, isn't quite right. When they finally locate Maria's family, both men are beaten up and almost killed by the woman's brother. It seems that Maria has been hiding from an individual named Charles Hardwood for several years. Hardwood used to be business partners with her husband, Arthur Zambelli. When Maria's husband was mysteriously murdered, she suspected that Hardwood was the one behind it so that he could take over their real estate business and marry her after everything quieted down. Maria didn't wait around. Out of fear for herself and her daughter, she took off, moving from place to place, barely managing to stay ahead of Hardwood and his private detectives. McKnight quickly realizes that he and Wilkins have gotten caught in the middle of something very deadly. It isn't until his friend is nearly killed, however, that our Michigan detective begins to understand that nothing is quite as it seems. Everyone appears to be lying and more people are definitely about to die. McKnight puts his life on the line in order to get through the tangled web of deceit, trusting no one, not even the man who was once his best friend, fighting the temptation to run as he seeks to learn the truth of who Maria really is. THE HUNTING WIND explores the bond of friendship and what it means. Through the character of Alex McKnight, we are able to learn that the image we have of someone close to us is often only a partial glimpse into the actual person. People change, people wear masks to hide their true nature, and people lie to either protect themselves or to get what they want. How good do we actually know our friends, and how far are we willing to go for the sake of friendship? These are questions posed by the author that every man must answer sooner or later. As with his first two novels, Mr. Hamilton once again weaves an intriguing tale with underlying subplots and riveting suspense, carrying the reader on a meandering path, whose final destination is unknown. The characters are vivid and true to life, making us care, hate, desire, mistrust, and ultimately to believe in them. I especially liked Maria, feeling the intense desire for her that McKnight experiences, knowing that it would be easy for any man to succumb to her seductive manipulations. The prose is taut with not a word wasted, and it grabs the reader by the shirttails in the first couple of paragraphs, demonstrating what good writing is all about. With just three novels, Steve Hamilton has managed to take his place amongst the top authors in the field of "mystery" writing. If you're an individual who likes the "Matthew Scudder" series by Lawrence Block or the "Dave Robicheaux" books by James Lee Burke, then give the novels by Steve Hamilton a shot. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.