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by hmhibbit, March 27, 2015



4 star


Past Crimes

Van Shaw #1

By Glen Erik Hamilton

ISBN# 9780062344557

Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt


When his estranged grandfather is shot and left for dead, an Army Ranger must plunge into the criminal underworld of his youth to find a murderer and uncover a shocking family secret in this atmospheric and evocative debut thriller

Van Shaw was raised to be a thief, but at eighteen he suddenly broke all ties to that life and joined the military—abandoning his illicit past and the career-criminal grandfather who taught him the trade. Now, after ten years of silence, his grandfather has asked him to come home to Seattle. But when Van arrives, he discovers his grandfather bleeding out on the floor from a gunshot to the head. With a lifetime of tough history between him and the old man, Van knows he’s the main suspect.

The only way he can clear his name is to go back to the world he’d sworn to leave behind. Tapping into his criminal skills, he begins to hunt the shooter and uncover what drove his grandfather to reach out after so long. But in a violent, high-stakes world where right and wrong aren’t defined by the law, Van finds that the past is all too present . . . and that the secrets held by those closest to him are the deadliest of all.

Edgy and suspenseful, rich with emotional resonance, gritty action, and a deep-rooted sense of place, Past Crimes trumpets the arrival of a powerful talent in the mold of Dennis Lehane, Robert B. Parker, and John D. MacDonald.


Past Crimes is well written, with interesting and thoroughly developed characters that takes the reader through an intriguing and intense drama in the debut thriller. Glen Erik Hamilton has written a wonderful first novel that ensnares the reader with descriptive writing and suspenseful action. A story of past family secrets, criminal lives, and a man set on clearing his name. For the main character Van Shaw, the life he left behind will be the only way he can clear himself.

Van Shaw who is now an Army Ranger, left his grandfather and his criminal life behind 10 years before. He has not spoken to Donovan, Dono, since he walked out the door 10 years before and joined the army. When he receives a note from Dono asking him to return home, he can not say no. But when he arrives at his grandfather’s house, the house he was raised in, he finds his grandfather shot and clinging to life. Since he is the one to find Dono, Shaw becomes the prime suspect as the detectives try to find answers. Shaw can think of only one way to clear his name, investigate himself and that means dipping back into the old criminal life and its occupants.

As Shaw searches for answers he finds some strange players in this mystery. Some old timers and some new game players have a part in the sad end of Dono. With intrigue and depth, Past Crimes is a thriller that keeps the reader guessing and involved in this intense novel. Glimpses of Shaw’s past are interspersed through the story so the reader can see how he came to be who is and where he is. The characters are interesting and the storyline is provocative. Even as you think you know what is going to happen, you take a different turn and off you go.

Past Crimes is a wonderful, suspenseful thriller that should appeal to several different genres. Thriller, suspense, criminal novels, all of that is in this wonderful debut novel. If this is going to be a series, I can not wait for the next installment. A character like Van Shaw is compelling and could make a wonderful action hero. There is an interesting twist in an old secret that is worth the wait. I highly recommend this novel to all readers that enjoy a real page turner.

 *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*

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