At a Glance
Steve Hamilton has several wonderful mystery novels in the Alex McKnight series, a few books in his newer Nick Mason series, as well as 2 standalone novels. He is to date one of my favorite mystery authors who caught my attention from the start when I read his first debut novel, A Cold Day in Paradise.
After publication, the book won two prestigious awards at the same time: the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Award for Best First Novel.
Here are the Steve Hamilton books in order for his series and standalone novels.
New Steve Hamilton Book
Alex McKnight Series In Order
Here are the Steve Hamilton books in order of publication, with the chronological order listed in brackets. It is a series well worth checking out if you like a good mystery with a PI that finds trouble when he’s not looking for it at all.
- Beneath the Book Tower (Alex McKnight book #0.5), published 2011
- A Cold Day in Paradise (Alex McKnight book #1), published 1998
- Winter Of The Wolf Moon (Alex McKnight book #2), published 2000
- The Hunting Wind (Alex McKnight book #3), published 2001
- North of Nowhere (Alex McKnight book #4), published 2002
- Blood is the Sky (Alex McKnight book #5), published 2003
- Ice Run (Alex McKnight book #6), published 2004
- A Stolen Season (Alex McKnight book #7), published 2006
- Misery Bay (Alex McKnight book #8), published 2011
- Die a Stranger (Alex McKnight book #9), published 2012
- Let It Burn (Alex McKnight book #10), published 2013
- Dead Man Running (Alex McKnight book #11), published 2018
- Riddle Island (Alex McKnight book #11.5), published 2020 (short story)
The Alex McKnight series has currently 11 novels and two short stories, the first of which while was published in 2011, has its story taking place while Alex was still a Detroit cop, before he moved to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, thus being a prequel to the series.
Nick Mason Series In Order
- The Second Life of Nick Mason (Nick Mason #1), published 2016
- Exit Strategy (Nick Mason #2), published 2017
- An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason #3), published 2019
Standalone Steve Hamilton Books
Should we read the Steve Hamilton books in order?
I’ve read all the Alex McKnight books and I’ve kind of read them out of order. However, I haven’t felt that I lost something important in the process. I could follow the plot quite well, so I think reading the books in order is not a major requirement unless you are a stickler for doing them in proper order. As for the Nick Mason series, I do prefer reading them in order because there is a direct character progression that follows the previous books’ plots.
And of course the standalone novels can be read any way you want, they are not related to anything else the author has currently written.
About Steve Hamilton
Steve Hamilton (website) was born in 1961 in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in Detroit and he graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in computer science, which allowed him to get a job with IBM in New York.. While at the university, he won the Hopwood Award for fiction, a prestigious award given to aspiring writers attending the university.
During his childhood, around the age of 12, he wrote a short story which he sent to Ellery Queen Magazine. The story got a rejection letter, so Steve stopped writing for a few years.
Steve Hamilton’s popular Alex McKnight series focuses on Alex, a private investigator in Paradise, which is a small town in Michigan. He is a former Detroit policeman who let go of his job after almost being killed by Maximilian Rose who also killed Alex’s partner. He still has the bullet lodged in his chest to prove it, and with a small disability pay, he wanted to find peace in a small town with not much crime going around. Sadly it looks like wherever Alex goes, crime follows him relentlessly.
I really enjoyed this series. It is very atmospheric, lightly reminding me of the writings of Lee Child and Harlan Coben, two other favorite authors. It is also very dark. One thing I remember from each book is that I was feeling constantly cold 🙂 The books have this cold and chilly feel to them, not quite supernatural, but at times really creepy.
The novels are mostly sent in winter, in Michigan, where is darn cold, windy, snowy and rainy. However, that hasn’t detracted me from reading yet another one in the Steve Hamilton book list, which I love. I really hope this author gets more credit among readers as he is worth checking out for a fun and thrill time.
His newer Nick Mason series is also well worth reading. A previous criminal who is given a second chance along with a few quite dangerous missions … sign me up!
Over the years, several Steve Hamilton books were nominated for the Shamus Award, Anthony Award, Dagger Award, Barry Award, and Dilys Award. A Cold Day In Paradise won two awards, including the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Shamus Award The Lock Artist, a standalone novel, won the Barry Awards for Best Novel in 2011.
The Second Life of Nick Mason, the first book in the Nick Mason series, has been acquired for the movie rights by Lionsgate.
Who is Alex McKnight?
Alex McKnight, the main protagonists of Steve Hamilton’s first series was once a Detroit cop who ended up working in the job because, even though his dream once was to play in the major league baseball, he was just not good enough. After playing in the minor league baseball, he left it at that.
As a cop, along with is partner, he used to patrol the streets during the night shift. One fateful night, both cops are shot, which ends with his partner dying and him getting a gift from the shooter: a bullet very close to his heart, one that can’t be removed because it’s too dangerous to do it.
So he left Detroit and moved to Paradise, Michigan, in a cabin that his father once built. He is retired and secluded, often dreaming about that horrible night. Back in the day, his father used to build cabins, and Alex used to help him, so now, Alex is living in the first cabin and is renting the rest to tourists.
While he is no longer a cop, he is reluctantly drawn back to the work as a private investigator.