Done: A Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton, 1998, 0312969198 (paper).
I went to Webelo camp in Janesville a couple weeks ago and needed a second book to take along. I had this unread paperback on the shelf at home. The cover says this novel won an Edgar. The story was okay, but not fantastic. Spoileristicness awaits.
Medically retired Detroit Police Officer Alex McKnight lives on the North shore of Upper Michigan. He's been there fifteen years, ever since he was shot in the chest and his police partner was killed. Alex recently started private investigation work for a local lawyer. Alex does normal PI stuff like interviewing witnesses, observing injury claimants, so on, so forth.
Alex gets late night call from his local pal and super wealthy guy, Edwin, asking for immediate help. Alex drives to a small motel in another town where Edwin is waiting at a very bloody murder scene. Alex calls the cops. The local Police Chief is a dickhead-and-a-half. Alex heads back home and gets a late night call from the killer. The Killer claims to be the guy who shot Alex 15-years-ago. The guy who did the shooting is still in prison. Killer has knowledge of Alex's shooting that Alex never told anyone. Ooh, mysterious.
Alex gets involved. A second guy is murdered. Both dead guys were bookies who owned Edwin's gambling debts. Police Chief is suspicious of Alex. Police Chief is scornful of Alex when learning Alex never pulled his gun when Alex was shot and his partner killed. The Killer leaves a note on Alex's door and the police start watching Alex's house.
More stuff happens. Alex is hot for Edwin's wife with who (whom?) he previously had an affair. She hates him because he broke things off. Local Lawyer is working for Edwin's family. Alex is hired by Edwin's mother to keep a watch on things. Alex then has to go hunting for gambling addict Edwin and finds Edwin's car and a bloody boat on Lake Superior. Killer claims Edwin murder. Alex is main suspect.
Things happen and the real killer is shot dead by Alex. Real killer was crazy dude. Killer makes no sense to Alex. Alex investigates. Alex goes to visit the guy who shot him 15 years ago. That guy is batshit crazy. Alex realizes what really happened as he drives home. Alex confronts Local Lawyer who set everything up and faked Edwin's murder. Alex has no evidence. Local Lawyer cannot kill Alex. Alex drives home to await Hamilton's sequel.
1. Thunder, lightning and rain are always much, much louder and scarier when you are inside a tent.