Dead of Winter by S.M. Jones is a page-turning thriller

Dead of Winter, by Stephen Mack Jones (3rd August Snow thriller)
May, 2021 – Soho Press
ISBN: 978-1-64129-102-6

In Dead of Winter, Detroit ex-cop and Mexicantown native August Snow fights not only for his own life, but for the soul of the neighborhood he loves. When Snow is invited for a business meeting at Authentico Foods, he finds that the owner is being blackmailed into selling out by an anonymous developer. Snow doesn’t want to run a tortilla factory (the reason for the meeting), but he does want to find out who’s threatening his neighborhood. It’s a thriller with strong elements of a whodunnit (and why). Old friends, flames and enemies converge with violent, genuinely inspired and deadly results.

This third book featuring August Snow raises the tension—and the stakes—on Jones’s major themes of redemption, forgiveness and belonging. Snow carries scars from his time with the military in Afghanistan and can’t forgive himself for something that happened there; the Detroit police department where he used to work can’t forgive him for crossing the thin blue line. He finds joy in the everyday details of his neighborhood and its people. And its food. The sense of place, of history and of belonging is vivid and runs deeply in the August Snow series. That sense of place, of belonging, adds to the stakes if Snow fails to find out who or what is behind this latest threat.

An action-packed thriller, Dead of Winter delivers high-stakes drama with twists and surprises (one of which you will never see coming!); and a solid, compelling hero for these confusing times.

Readers who enjoy a cracking mystery-thriller, with surprising (and alarming!) twists will love Dead of Winter. Readers of the Jack Reacher novels will be rewarded, too, with action, tension and intrigue. But where Reacher carries his ethics from place to place, August Snow deals justice in his own hometown.

“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are,” is the well-known quote from the epicure and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. And author Stephen Mack Jones wastes no time letting us know exactly who and what August Snow is, even as those behind the blackmail and murder remain in shadow. Though the novel’s keeps a furious page-turning pace, there’s time to eat. Food in August Snow’s world is a vital ingredient. Its function in the story is almost like another character in the drama. Its creation, its consumption—and what it means—wafts through these pages like “a warm and seductively spicy aroma.”

The other characters are compelling and seductively spicy in their own way. His on-again-off-again love Tatina, his confessor and friend Father Grabowski, his godmother and godfather are all compelling and fully realized. Their dialogue crackles with terse interchanges that brim with snark and subtext. It’s hard to say which character intrigued me the most, and all I can say without giving too much away is that the assassin is someone I’d like to know more about.

An action-packed thriller, Dead of Winter delivers high-stakes drama with twists and surprises (one of which you will never see coming!); and a solid, compelling hero for these confusing times…A tale, I might add, with enough meat on its bones to be thoroughly satisfying. Highly recommended!

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James McCrone

James McCrone is the author of the Imogen Trager political suspense-thrillers Faithless Elector , Dark Network and Emergency Powers–noir tales about a stolen presidency, a conspiracy, and a nation on edge. All books are available on BookShop.org, IndyBound.org, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. eBooks are available in multiple formats including Apple, Kobo, Nook and Kindle.

His work, “Numbers Don’t Lie” also recently appeared in the 2020 short-story anthology Low Down Dirty Vote, vol. 2, and his short story “Ultimatum Games” will appear in Rock and a Hard Place this fall. His next book, w/t Bastard Verdict, is a noir political thriller set in Scotland.


A Seattle native (mostly), James now lives in South Philadelphia with his wife and three children. He’s a member of the The Mystery Writers of America, Int’l Assoc. of Crime Writers, Int’l Thriller Writers, Philadelphia Dramatists Center and is the newly elected vice-president of the Delaware Valley chapter of the Sisters in Crime network. James has an MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle.

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