In this third installment of Jones's series about ex-cop August Octavio Snow, Ronaldo Ochoa is being blackmailed into selling his historic company Authentico Foods in Detroit's Mexicantown neighborhood. Wanting to know who is threatening his neighbor, August investigates, finding himself ensnared in a dangerous net of ruthless billionaire developers.
a long, violent love letter to the city of Detroit, warts and roses and all ... this latest installment displays an insider’s familiarity with a once-promising city gleaned from traversing streets where the busses don’t run and one is bound to rub elbows (and possibly more) with folks who many would wisely cross the street to avoid ... not just explosions and fisticuffs. Jones takes August on a culinary tour of Detroit, which will have some readers (including this one) checking their Waze app to see if a drive of a few hours to the city for lunch or dinner is feasible. If there is a downer to the book, it is the somewhat ham-handed 'woke' sledgehammering that permeates it from beginning to end ... That said, one should come to this story for the action and stay for the scenery and the characters.
The plot kicks in to high gear when Ronaldo is killed in his office and August’s godfather is critically wounded ... Dead of Winter moves at lightning speed with crisp, smart dialogue, believable characters and an affection for Detroit and its residents. August is a hero in his neighborhood but he is no saint. The reliance on the occasional unnecessary violence sometimes mars an otherwise solid plot. Still, Hammett Prize winner Jones gives readers a character worth rooting for in what should be a long-running series.
Jones builds a raucous and endearing cast of characters from his inner-city setting, fusing neighborhood camaraderie with streetwise know-how and head-banging action. This is a fine thriller in the grand hard-boiled tradition, but it’s also a sensitive, multifaceted portrait of race in America.