cover image Dead Man Running: An Alex McKnight Thriller

Dead Man Running: An Alex McKnight Thriller

Steve Hamilton. Putnam, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-57444-3

Why would a scarily intelligent serial killer allow himself to be caught? That’s the enigma at the center of Edgar-winner Hamilton’s brilliant 11th Alex McKnight thriller (after 2013’s Let It Burn). Thanks to a home surveillance system, robotics engineer Martin Livermore, a necrophiliac who’s eluded the law, is spotted abusing a corpse in the Arizona home of a couple vacationing in Europe. It’s unclear whether he murdered the victim before or after he brought her to the house. As Livermore’s m.o. is to return to where he left his victim, FBI agent Roger Halliday leaves the cadaver in place and later arrests Livermore when he goes back to the scene of his crime. The FBI brings in McKnight, a retired Detroit police officer who now works as a bounty hunter in Michigan, after Livermore discloses that he knew about the surveillance system and that he will provide details only to McKnight about another potential victim, who, at least for now, is still alive. McKnight, who has never heard of Livermore, has no idea why the killer requested his involvement. The plot develops in multiple unexpected directions, and its logical convolutions are matched by Hamilton’s deepening portrayal of his fully realized lead. Fans of serial killer fiction won’t want to miss this one. Agent: Shane Salerno, Story Factory. (Aug.)