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Past Crimes: A Van Shaw Novel (Mass Market Paperbound)

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Staff Reviews

To recap, Van Shaw grew up under the rough and criminal tutelage of his grandfather, the respected but feared Dono Shaw. Van knew the tricks of heists, scams and crimes large and small but at the end of high school, he broke with Dono and ran away to join the army. Now an Army Ranger, Van has added a new raft of talents to his arsenal but believes he’s left his past in Seattle well behind him.

Then he receives a cryptic message from Dono, the first communication between them in years and sent in a way that lets Van know he is needed back in Seattle. So home he goes.

Past Crimes is action packed, that’s true, but it’s more than a heist novel. Van has to come to terms with who he really is, and he finds himself walking a very thin line between the folks he knows from his criminal past with Dono and his desire to stay out of the criminal world in the life he’s now built. The people we meet along the way are also a mixture of good and bad, like any of us. Okay, some of these folks are more honestly criminal than anyone I know, but in a way, that makes them more interesting!

But I have to admit that I was enchanted by the way Hamilton uses Seattle as a character in Past Crimes. I know these places, a lot of them anyway, and he captures the feeling of being in Seattle beautifully. I was talking to a couple of folks here in the shop about it while I was reading it, and at one point, I said something about a crime in the book taking place on Capitol Hill, and the response was basically, “Break in of car? Or house?” Well, house, now that you mention it. Then I commented about a dive bar with a bad band, and someone else observed, “Well, THAT never happens here!” and we all laughed.

This is quite the promising debut, and one I honestly think is going to be a solid hit. Because it’s labeled a “Van Shaw novel”, I’m hoping we’re going to see more of the folks in Glen Erik Hamilton’s world, and I hope he stays close to Seattle for most of them.

— Fran Recommends


Van Shaw was raised by his Irish immigrant grandfather Donovan to be a thief--to boost cars, beat security alarms, and crack safes. But at eighteen, Van broke all ties to that life and joined the military, serving as an Army Ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, after ten years of silence, Dono has asked his grandson to come home to Seattle.

Van is curious and a little unnerved by his grandfather's request. But when he arrives at Dono's house, Van discovers his grandfather bleeding out on the floor from a gunshot wound to the head. With a lifetime of tough history between him and the old man, the battle-tested Ranger knows he'll be the first suspect.

To clear his name and avenge his grandfather, Van plunges back into a violent, high-stakes world where right and wrong aren't defined by the law . . . and where the secrets held by those closest to him are the deadliest of all.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062344564
ISBN-10: 0062344560
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016
Pages: 448
Language: English
Series: Van Shaw Novels