Every Day Above Ground is the third Van Shaw crime novel by multiple-award-winning author Glen Erik Hamilton. Past Crimes and Hard Cold Winter were both Staff Picks by Sarah, who calls the stories of the ex-thief and Army Ranger “an addictive and compelling series.” Van agrees to participate in what is presented as a largely victimless crime to assist a friend of his grandfather’s and get some financial stability; however, he rapidly is enmeshed in a complex and dangerous scenario.
A favor for a dying ex-con turns into a violent battle against a mysterious enemy for Van Shaw in this emotionally powerful and gritty thriller from the award-winning author of Past Crimes and Hard Cold Winter.
It sounds like a thief's dream to Van Shaw: A terminally ill ex-con tells him of an easy fortune in gold, abandoned and nearly forgotten after its original owner died in prison. For the dying man, the money is a legacy to ensure his preteen daughter's future. For Van, the gold is cash he desperately needs to rebuild his destroyed family home.
The grandson of a career criminal who taught him all the tricks of his trade, Van suspects that nothing is ever that easy. Sure enough, the safe holding the fortune is a trap--set by a mysterious player armed with tremendous resources and a lifetime of hatred. Now, Shaw's partner is in the clutches of the hunters, and the former army ranger may be their next prey. But when the ex-con's innocent daughter is threatened too, Van's own hard childhood means he can't let her come to harm.
To discover who has them in the cross hairs, Shaw must seek out the hunters' real prey. His quest leads him from an underground bare-knuckle fighting ring, which may be fronting a darker purpose, to a massive pop-culture convention, where Van and his allies, Hollis and Corcoran, play a dangerous game with foes on every side. It also introduces Van to a brash and beautiful aspiring journalist who poses a whole different kind of personal risk.
For years, Van Shaw has tried to live every day above ground, on the right side of the law, even though crime is his gift . . . and in his blood. If he survives the coming storm, he'll have to decide what he wants--and whether he can live as an outlaw without sacrificing his honor.
Hamilton’s debut novel, Past Crimes, was one of my favorites last year, and the second in the Van Shaw series, Hard Cold Winter, has impressed me even more. Van, former Army ranger and ex-thief, is summoned by a friend of his late grandfather to check on the whereabouts of his niece, Elana. The search leads Van to a cabin in the Olympic Mountains where he stumbles upon a brutal double murder scene. The investigation takes Van into the world of vicious Russian gangsters as well as a corrupt billionaire. Brief scenes of Van’s criminal past with Elana are deftly interspersed with the suspenseful murder investigation. It all culminates into an explosive ending, confirming this is another powerful installment in an addictive and compelling series.
The story opens with Army Ranger Van Shaw arriving at his grandfather’s home in Seattle, a home he left ten years ago and not on the best of terms. It’s not exactly a welcoming homecoming either as Van stumbles upon his grandfather lying on the floor, left for dead. This is all in the first chapter and the action doesn’t let up from there. Van is Seattle PD’s number one suspect, of course, and it’s up to Van to track down the killer. The only way to do that is to go back into the criminal underworld his grandfather inhabited, a world Van swore off forever. The deeper he digs, the more shocking secrets he uncovers about his grandfather; not to mention his own demons he’d rather leave buried. I wanted to tear through the book to find out what happens next, but the rich atmospheric details had me savoring it instead.