Hard Cold Winter
Van Shaw, Book #2
By Glen Erik Hamilton
Author website: http://www.glenerikhamilton.com/
Former Army Ranger and thief Van Shaw is thrust into danger as lethal and unpredictable as the war he left behind in this emotionally powerful and gritty follow up to the acclaimed Past Crimes.
When an old crony of Van Shaw’s late grandfather calls in a favor, the recently-discharged Ranger embarks on a dangerous journey to the Olympic Mountains, in search of a missing girl tied to Van’s own criminal past. What he finds instead is a brutal murder scene, including a victim from one of Seattle’s most influential families.
But the dead bodies are only the start of Van’s troubles. A fellow Ranger from Afghanistan turns up at Van’s doorstep, seeking support from his former sergeant even as Van wrestles with his own reemerging symptoms of PTSD. The murder investigation leads to heavy pressure, with a billionaire businessman on one side and vicious gangsters on the other, each willing to play dirty to get what they want.
The price of his survival may be too high, demanding moral compromises that could destroy Van’s relationship with his iron-willed girlfriend, Luce. And when a trusted friend’s betrayal pushes him to the edge, Van has to enlist help from some unexpected places—including someone he believed was lost forever.
The Ranger will need every ally he can get. A powerful, unseen player is about to unleash a firestorm on Seattle that will burn Van and his people to ashes—and it will take a miracle to stop it.
First let me say that Hard Cold Winter is not really my cup of tea, however it was wonderful. Powerful, action packed and attention grabbing for sure. This is the second Van Shaw book author Glen Erik Hamilton has written, the second one I have read, and the best yet. Donovan (Van) Shaw is one intriguing, strong, intelligent and deep main character. Former army ranger and thief, he has to juggle his new life with his past. Finally, out of the service and living in his grandfather’s old home, Van Shaw is capable and determined when faced with danger. In this installment an old friend of his grandfather’s asks for a favor. Van Shaw figures it will be easy peasy and takes it on. He is instead dropped into a world of hurt and a treacherous adventure begins.
Instead of finding the missing woman Van Shaw was sent to find, he discovers a murder scene that unfortunately includes a member of one of Seattle’s big wig families. He becomes entrenched in some serious business that include a billionaire businessman and unscrupulous Russian gangsters as well as a fellow ranger that has PTSD and his strong willed girlfriend Luce. The action is fierce and well developed. There really is no unnecessary violence just for the sake of violence. Everything has a purpose and a reason for being in the story line. Twists, turns, fights, stealth, the whole gambit of thrilling adventure are front and center in this well written read.
Author Hamilton has given birth to a wonderful, deep and intense character in Van Shaw and this second installment just gave the character more depth and more realism. Although some of the situations are out of my purview, I did not find them as outlandish as they should have been. His writing style is fierce and passionate and draws the reader in with a power that I find rare. As I stated before, this is not my type of reading material, however this series has drawn me in and I have to admit I liked it, a lot.
If you have not read the first in this series, Past Crimes, you can still hope right into this one and have no problems following the story line. Glimpses of Van’s past (and others) are sprinkled throughout to give a wonderful backstory to the character and his life. If you are a fan of those powerful protagonist such as Reacher, Bourne, and the life, Van Shaw is going to become your favorite. With such depth, strength and a tab bit of angst, Van Shaw is well developed and with each of these 2 books has become even more alive. If you are a fan of well written thrillers with an extremely fascinating main character, this is the book for you.