Friday, July 3, 2020

Book Review: August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones

Jones, Stephen Mack. 2017. August Snow. New York, NY: Soho Press.
 ISBN 9781616958688. $15.95 U.S.D.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 stars*

I have a new book boyfriend: his name is August Snow. I met him in June, 2020, when he charmed me with his witty dialogue, snarky attitude, strong moral centeredness, and empathetic actions on behalf of underdogs, or anyone, really, he felt strongly needed help. Luckily he appears in two more books, Lives Laid Away, available now, and Dead of Winter, coming in May, 2021.

August Octavio Snow, half Black, half Mexican, grew up in the Mexicantown area of Detroit. He is a retired veteran and a former police officer with the Detroit Police Department. When he exposes high level corruption within the department and city council, he is fired from his job. A wrongful dissmissal settlement nets him $12 million dollars, and after spending some time traveling, drinking, and escaping his troubles, he settles back into his childhood home, working on updating not only his house, but the neighborhood itself.

When he is asked by a blue-blooded society woman to investigate some shennanigans at the bank she owns, he declines since he is no longer an officer of the law. But when the woman is killed the next day, August's moral center won't allow him to let it go. And as he investigates the killing we are introduced to a wide variety of unique characters and conversations that just make this book sing. In addition, the descriptions and history of Detroit make the setting a character itself in the novel.

Not often do I read a crime novel that surprises me so much with unique characters, captivating prose, and an unexpected resolution to the story.  The last time was probably Matthew Goldman's debut, Gone to Dust. I am also a fan of an Indie author, Jesse Miles, who created a wonderful main character in his Jack Salvo series, which begins with Dead Drop.  Because I am always all about the characters in books I read (along with excellent writing), I tend to appreciate those like August Snow and others who are street-smart, quick-thinking, resolute, and feel morally obligated to do the right thing, even though it's often challenging to do so.

You don't have to accept my opinion and review of the book; August Snow also has the honors listed below:

Starred reviews from Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus and others
Winner of the Hammett Prize for Crime Fiction
Winner of the 2018 Nero Award
Nominated for the 2018 Shamus Award for Best First Private Eye Novel
Strand Magazine Critics Award Best First Novel Nominee
A 2018 Michigan Notable Book.

* This is a 5 star read for me, but one-half star is removed for excessive profanity, which not everyone enjoys. I give 5 stars to books I can recommend without any reservaton whatsover, but do know that some people prefer not to read so much cussin' in their books!

Hope you find something good to read, and if this debut sounds like something you'd enjoy, I hope you will check it out.

Happy Reading and wear a mask!

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