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A Dangerous Breed


A Dangerous Breed

Glen Erik Hamilton seemingly came out of nowhere a few years ago. Over the course of five thrillers, he has developed and sculpted Van Shaw into a fully realized and compelling character --- a flawed antihero of sorts who carries himself as a rumpled knight. A DANGEROUS BREED is a one-sit read that may be his best work thus far. Its only “flaw” is that it does not contain a good place to stop reading.

Shaw has an interesting background, given that he was raised by Dono, his maternal grandfather, a skilled and highly respected criminal whose name still opens doors for him of both the right and wrong kind in the Seattle area. Shaw’s mother died when he was just a child, and he never knew his father, either in person or in name. So it is a bit of a shock to him early on in A DANGEROUS BREED when an invitation comes to their family homestead inviting his deceased mother to her 30th high school class reunion. Shaw believes that this might be an opportunity to unravel the tangled threads of his past, both with respect to the mother he never really got to know and the father who was totally unknown to him. He reaches out to the sender, who puts him in touch with another contact, and another, and yet another, each bringing him ever closer to the information that he desires.

"A DANGEROUS BREED is a one-sit read that may be [Hamilton's] best work thus far. Its only 'flaw' is that it does not contain a good place to stop reading."

There is a surprise waiting at the end of the road in the form of a killer who is as good, if not better, at murder for hire as Shaw is at unlocking doors. The man really wants nothing to do with him, at least at first. However, while Shaw is following this path, his attention is diverted by another matter. His good friend, Hollis, has a business associate with a serious problem. Shaw steps in to assist, but it puts him in the path of an enigmatic couple who know of his reputation and force him to aid them as well, threatening his loved ones if he does not comply. The task involves breaking into a seemingly impregnable Seattle biotechnology firm and stealing a heavily guarded vial of...something.

Shaw reluctantly takes the gig, enlisting some other friends possessing various skill sets in what becomes somewhat of a homage to Mission: Impossible, only somehow better. Some of the folks with whom Shaw crosses swords aren’t as bad as they seem to be initially, while others are much worse. The plot is complex, but Hamilton’s surefooted narrative provides the reader with a clear-eyed path to the conclusion, which resolves a number of questions that have been hanging fire over the series while providing a launch pad for the “more,” which is hopefully to come.

Hamilton does a terrific job bringing new readers into the fold without stopping everything to give a “what has gone before” exposition of Shaw’s history. That said, you can start with A DANGEROUS BREED, but once you’re finished, you will want to jump back and see what you’ve missed. That wouldn’t be entirely a bad thing. You’ll have the joy of a new encounter with one of the thriller genre’s best series.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on July 17, 2020

A Dangerous Breed
by Glen Erik Hamilton

  • Publication Date: March 30, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0062978527
  • ISBN-13: 9780062978523