Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


DEUS X by Stephen Mack Jones: Book Review

What’s the best way to describe August Snow?  Is he a vigilante, righting what he sees as wrongs outside the law?  Is he a savior, a protector, when the authorities can’t or won’t step in?  You might say he’s both.

While visiting Norway to spend time with his sweetheart Tatiana, August gets a frantic call from one of his neighbors, Lucy.  Sylvia, another neighbor, has had a heart attack, and in minutes August is on his way home.

He and his godfather Tómas drive directly from the Detroit airport to the hospital where Sylvia is a patient, and as they approach her room a priest exits it.  He nods to August, although the latter doesn’t believe he knows the cleric.

After assuring himself that Sylvia is receiving the best possible care, August visits another close friend, Father Grabowski.  The priest has recently retired, a move that surprises August; he’d always assumed that he would remain a Franciscan until the end of his life.

The two men have a brief conversation, and Snow mentions the man he’d seen outside Sylvia’s hospital room.  He tells  Father Grabowski that he’s learned that the man’s name is Father Petra, and when Grabowski hears the name, his face undergoes a startling change.  He ends the conversation almost immediately, saying he’s tired, but when August leaves and looks up at the priest’s window, he sees that the priest is watching him.

August visits Grabowski again the following day, and the cleric tells Snow the story of his early years in the priesthood when he was sent to Mexico.  It’s an unsavory story of cartel chiefs, drugs, and pedophile priests and young Grabowski’s efforts to handle the situation as best he is able.  Now it appears that the past has returned, and the priest is haunted by it.

August learns from another priest of a recent suicide in his church.  It looks as if Father O’Shannon hanged himself, but it’s possible he was helped, according to August’s friend, medical examiner Bobby Falconi.  There were a couple of anomalies around the body, including a white linen business card left on the church’s altar with an embossed X on it.  What makes it interesting to Snow is that, like Father Grabowski, O’Shannon spent some time in Mexico.  “Dumping grounds,” Snow says quietly.

August’s background as a police officer and the multi-million dollar settlement he won in his lawsuit over his unjust firing has left him with both the ability and the means to live the life he wants, helping people and sometimes dealing out punishments to those he believes are guilty of crimes.  He’s fearless and confident in his ability to do the right thing, especially where his friends are concerned.  Now he wants to learn what led to Father Grabowski leaving his order and his evident fear of Father Petra.

In this, the fourth novel in the August Snow series, Stephen Mack Jones brings the protagonist, his friends, and his community into sharper focus than ever.  Snow’s relationships with his girlfriend Tatiana; his neighbors Sylvia, Carmela, and Lucy; and his godfather Tomás all play pivotal roles in Deus X, and it’s a delight to meet them once again.

Stephen Mack Jones has written another thrilling mystery featuring a tightly-woven plot, a strong and determined protagonist, and a writing style that will make readers shiver with fear and laugh out loud in turn.

You can read more about the author at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

Leave a Reply