August Snow

Created by Stephen Mack Jones

His dad was Black and his mom was Hispanic, and there’s no doubt former Marine, former police officer and current private eye AUGUST SNOW is inordinately proud of where he comes from–we know that because he constantly reminds us. Still, it’s often a thin line he walks between his neighbours in Detroit’s Mexicotown and his former comrades on the Detroit PD.

Of course, it helps that he’s gobsmacking rich, courtesy of a $12 million wrongful termination suit he filed against the city after he was booted from the police department for more or less doing his job. Suffice it to say it didn’t leave him many friends on the force. Especially among the powers that be.

His eponymous debut, the cleverly titled August Snow (2017), drew a ton of acclaim, and nailed the Hammett Prize for Crime Fiction, as well as being a finalist for both the Shamus and Nero Wolfe Awards.

Hammett? Nero Wolfe? Funny. For all the Trumped-up, ripped-from-the-headlines subject matter (Racism! Immigration! ICE!) trotted out, the well-armed, hands-on gumshoe Snow, so fiercely protective of his ‘hood, most reminds me of isn’t any of those coldly pragmatic, hard-boiled dicks concocted by Hammett. And certainly he doesn’t remind me of the thoughtful, sedentary Nero Wolfe.

Nope, the ghost of private eyes past whom August Snow really reminds me of is… John Carroll Daly’s apolitical but trigger-happy Race Williams. Perhaps not the Race card the author thought he was playing… still, as Sarah Weinman points out, “What a difference an interval marked by civil unrest, an ongoing pandemic and growing income inequality makes.”

But what do I know? In 2020, ABC announced that a series based on the books was in development, starring Keegan-Michael Key and written by Paul Eckstein.


Stephen Mack Jones, a published poet and award-winning playwright,  was born in Lansing, Michigan, and currently lives in Farmington Hills, outside of Detroit. He worked in advertising and marketing communications for a number of years before turning to fiction.


  • “Operatically violent and hilariously funny, with dialogue to die for. I’ll read whatever Stephen Mack Jones writes.”
    — Timothy Hallinan 
  • “August Snow… is so good, I actually put it down, and I briefly entertained the notion of moving back to Detroit.”
    — Nancy Pearl, NPR’s Morning Edition
  • “All of us begin in grace and great promise and, staring at the door left open behind, wonder where they’ve gone. Stephen Mack Jones knows this, as does his narrator August Snow, as does their battered city, Detroit. Jean Cocteau believed the world is a misunderstanding. We read searching for stories that help us untangle some of that misunderstanding; August Snow is one.”
    — James Sallis
  • “Communities like the Mexicantown neighborhood of Detroit distrust outsiders and cops; Snow was a cop once, but pervasive racism meant he could never be fully part of the brotherhood. He can, however, try to protect his nearest and dearest, and when the tables turn and Snow is in dire need of aid, they can look out for him as well.”
    — Sarah Weinman (May 2021, The New York Times)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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