“A Dangerous Breed” by Glen Erik Hamilton; Morrow (432 pages, $27.99)
Despite his criminal tendencies, professional thief Van Shaw is very much a family man — but without the family. So he has cobbled together his own family of friends, a foster child in need of a father figure, his criminal buddies and colleagues from his days as a U.S. Army Ranger. Raised by his late grandfather, master Donovan “Dono” Shaw, Van barely remembers his mother who had him when she was barely 16 and died in a car accident when he was six. He has no idea who his father is.
This lack has, at least subconsciously, affected Van throughout his life. A notice of a high school reunion addressed to his mother may lead him to answers. Apparently, the reunion committee didn’t know that Moira had died about 30 years ago. This may be a chance for Van to find out who his mother may have confided in when she was a teenager and lead him to his father’s identity.
Edgar winner Glen Erik Hamilton’s superior fifth novel works well as an action adventure and a story about families — the ones we are born into and the ones we create.
Before his search gets going, Van is targeted by master hacker Bilal Nath, who demands Van steal an item from a Seattle biotechnology company. If he refuses, Bilal will harm everyone Van cares about. Van believes that Bilal is after a remedy that the company has developed to erase an incurable disease. But never assume anything, Van knows.
Both the quest for his past and theft for Bilal put Van in the crosshairs of a Ukrainian arms dealer.
Hamilton continues his force field of solid action melded with deeply explored characters. A tense car chase scene jumpstarts “A Dangerous Breed,” and that suspense sustains throughout the novel as Hamilton pours on the twists. Even surveillance scenes heighten the plot that feels realistic with every turn.
Van’s personality continues to surprise. He’s a tough guy whose criminal background informs his every movement, yet also a caring and compassionate friend and adoptive family member. At the same time, Hamilton shows that Van is capable of making mistakes and isn’t above asking for help.
As did Hamilton’s other novels in this series, “A Dangerous Breed” delivers a cliffhanger suitable for a sequel.
©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)