Saturday, April 16, 2011

Snowball in Hell by Josh Lanyon

Genre: Historical Mystery; Historical Romance; M/M Romance; Mystery; Noir; Romance

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How I acquired this book: I purchased it.

Book Blurb: It's 1943 and the world is at war. Journalist Nathan Doyle has just returned home from North Africa--still recovering from wounds received in the Western Desert Campaign--when he's asked to cover the murder of a society blackmailer.

Lt. Matthew Spain of the LAPD homicide squad hates the holidays since the death of his beloved wife a few months earlier, and this year isn-t looking much cheerier what with the threat of attack by the Japanese and a high-profile homicide investigation. Matt likes Nathan; maybe too much.

If only he didn't suspect that Nathan had every reason to commit murder.

My Review: The mystery is front and center in this story, but it never overshadows the romance: Matthew Spain’s attraction to Nathan Doyle is immediate and palpable—and it doesn’t abate, even when realizes he has to add Nathan to his lists of suspects for the murder of Phil Arlen. Nathan, meanwhile, is dangerously depressed, dangerously contemptuous of his own homosexuality, and dangerously determined to ferret out the real killer.

I am not a fan of noir films, so I wasn’t sure I would enjoy the noir feel of this book. But my doubts vanished in the first few pages. I was hooked! The mystery kept my interest and my heart bled for Nathan, who can’t bear to live like a monk and yet can’t help despising his sexual appetite. Matthew, meanwhile, seems to be living his life on a more even keel—but Nathan manages to upset his balance!

The setting—WWII California—seems solid and I didn’t notice any anachronisms in the characters’ attitudes or vocabulary. The ending left me satisfied, but curious; fortunately Josh Lanyon is planning a sequel. (See this thread in Josh's Q & A Group on Goodreads.) All in all an excellent read!

On Kindle: Yes. Find it on Amazon here.

Special Note: Find a discussion of the book here on Goodreads.

Other Reviews:
The Romanceaholic
Jessewave (Reviewed as part of Collected Novellas, Volume 1)


  1. I haven't read alot in the noir genre, but would like to try more...this one sounds interesting, thanks!

  2. My pleasure! Any Josh Lanyon is a must read for me, which is why I tried this one despite my lack of enthusiasm for noir. But maybe I'll have to adjust my views on the noir genre . . .