Snowball in Hell (Doyle and Spain, #1)
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Snowball in Hell (Doyle and Spain #1)

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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  1,169 ratings  ·  158 reviews
Los Angeles, 1943

Reporter Nathan Doyle had his reasons to want Phil Arlen dead, but when he sees the man's body pulled from the La Brea tar pit, he knows he'll be the prime suspect. He also knows that his life won't stand up to intense police scrutiny, so he sets out to crack the case himself.

Lieutenant Matthew Spain's official inquiries soon lead him to believe that Nath

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Kindle Edition, 139 pages
Published April 4th 2011 by Carina Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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Vanessa North
If every mystery writer wrote like Josh Lanyon, I would be a fan of mysteries. I could go on again about the frustrating issues I have with the genre, but that would be a disservice to this wonderfully compelling book.

The mystery was only slightly transparent. I got the who pretty early on, but the hows and the whys kept me interested, so bravo, Mr. Lanyon.

The romance made me ache. It made me cry. It made me bite off three of my fingernails, dammit I was trying to grow those out. It was breatht...more
Lauraadriana
Perfection...this book was perfect...for me.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record...Josh Lanyon is BRILLIANT!

This book had everything that I love in a mystery. Glamorous people doing suspicious things, blackmail, missing people, tragic heroes, dark dark characters, foolish boys and silly women who make all kinds of trouble, and webs that kept on spinning and spinning until every damn person looked liked the killer.

It's LA in the 40s, a rich man's son turns up dead in a tar pit...Lt. Matt...more
Jenn
One of Lanyon's strongest and IMO probably most overlooked. There is a real mystery in this book, the time and setting vivid and interesting, and the two main characters Doyle and Spain both flawed in different ways but they find a way to connect in tender and painful ways. This is balanced writing and definitely a favorite.
Loederkoningin
Adrien and Jake's ride in a time travel machine turned out to be pretty successful.
Laura

Josh Lanyon has done it again! Just a week before Christmas and all through LA, all the creatures were stirring, scurrying, murdering, and causing all sorts of trouble and hubbub for our heroes Doyle and Spain. Mr. Lanyon completely charmed me with a mystery wrapped up in 1943 Los Angeles, kidnappings, alligator farms, fear, love, and an overwhelming bittersweet-make-my-heart-ache emotion. Oh, don’t forget the dead body. :D

A body in the La Brea tar pits sets the town a buzz with gossip, rumors,...more
Shelley
I feel like such a fool for overlooking this one time and time again. Snowball in Hell is most certainly the darkest, and quite possibly, the most powerful work I have ever read from Mr Lanyon.

He styles this novella using all the qualities of noir, and honestly, I have never read anything more visually noir in my life! Talk about an atmosphere! All the elements of classic 1940’s film noir are here: Spain plays the ‘plainclothes policeman’, Doyle plays the ‘victim of circumstance’, a murder is th...more
Akansha
This book is definitely one of Lanyon's grimmer and darker ones. Set in Los Angeles during the World War II, it is equal parts romance and mystery. The mystery was credible, the setting and the era considerably instrumental in lending it a certain authenticity.

But like most Lanyon books, the stars of the story are its two MCs and in particular Nathan Doyle. Doyle is a reporter who has just returned home from the front lines of war in North Africa and is readjusting to civilian life. He is suicid...more
Lena♥Ribka

I liked this book and actually enjoyed a perfectly created atmosphere of a white-black-movie. A Must read for all Josh Lanyon fans, but I would not recommend this book as an introduction into his works. If you have not read anything of Josh Lanyon, read his Adrien English Mystery series or his stand-alone Come Unto These Yellow Sands before this one.

Snowball in Hell is a well written mystery with an emphasis on MYSTERY, at least for the first half of the book. And to tell the truth, I didn't mis...more
Christina
Snowball in Hell takes place during World War II in 1943 Los Angeles. This story is more than a murder mystery. It is about a man that is in so much pain that death seems like his only option for peace. Nathan is a reporter and a suspect in a murder investigation but all this takes a back seat to his struggle with loneliness, fear, guilt, and depression over his sexuality. During this time, homosexuality was viewed as a sickness or a condition that should be healed and Nathan wanted nothing more...more
Mel
I don't know what it is about Josh Lanyon's books and yours truly...
Most of his stories are not the "I'll forsake sleep to finish this"- kind of page turners for me. There is a mellowness to the books that keeps me from that. Also: I still wouldn't want to classify mystery as a genre I particularly like. But still: I love his books. The whodunit is interesting but what Lanyon excels at are his characters. They're deep, layered, engaging. And the angst... Love it! Major drama with a subdued qual...more
Xing
I think I have a man-crush for Matthew. <3

Snowball in Hell takes place during WWII, which was a time when being homosexual could lead to prosecution. We have our two characters: Mathew (35 yo; widowed; a cop) and Nathan (32-ish?; journalist). Both characters have their own emotional baggage to carry (both are war veterans in their own way), but are brought together during an investigation.

There is a lot to say, but much have already been mentioned in previous reviews. What I can say is that S...more
Jess the Romanceaholic
This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.

To start off this review, an important point should be made. This is not a traditional romance, in the sense of Happily Ever Afters. It is much more of a mystery novel, with Nathan and Matt’s romance playing a beautiful subtext to the whodunit behind Phil Arlen’s murder.

Josh Lanyon is probably my favorite m/m writer of all time. His mysteries are thoughtful, entertaining, and incredibly well-written, and his ability to...more
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
Don't get me wrong, I adored Matt, his compassion, support, delicacy, strength, but this is Nathan's book. He came alive in my hands and his struggle became real, his desperation was so raw you could almost touch it. He is depressed, he drinks too much and doesn't eat enough and he has a painful death wish. His sexuality is a burden. He is a good man - everyone in the book says so - but he is lonely, he sets himself apart, he feels flawed.

In this book Nathan is one of the suspects of the murder...more
Heather C
I just finished this and I'm still emotionally torn apart. I really, really felt for Matt and Nathan deep down in my heart! Josh's work always does this to me and I know I won't be able to find the words to describe why I loved this book or how it made me feel. It was dark and beautiful and heart-wrenching and the ending left me filled with hope the somehow everything will work out.

I was also really into the mystery. I was pretty sure I had it figured out early on, but the revelation was still...more
Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter
3.5 stars.

Snowball in Hell works fine as a mystery but as a romance not so much.
I might review this later...
Sarah
On holiday at the moment and loving being lazy bint and doing much reading. The other night I finished Josh Lanyon’s Snowball in Hell at some god-awful hour. I was so engrossed I did not even realise the time and had to make sure I was very quiet and did not wake the other bed occupant.

I really liked this book, a lot. Mind you, thus far I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Josh Lanyon’s work and have given my credit card a work out in the last wee while!

Nathan is kinda lonely and all in his head a...more
Paola
This is the first “period” novel by Josh that I’ve read. And it’s a gem. A compelling, moving story, in which the authenticity of the time setting (early 1940’s LA) never overshadows the characters’ development, their emotional struggles and the murder mystery they’re both investigating though from different perspectives. All these elements are carefully balanced and help create a story that sensitively re-creates a time period when sex between men was illegal and homosexuality a social and pers...more
ttg
This is probably one of Lanyon’s grittier mysteries. Set during WWII, Snowball in Hell tells the story of Nathan Doyle and Mathew Spain, both injured from the war and are now in Los Angeles, Spain serving as a police lieutenant and Doyle working as a reporter on the police beat. They meet for the first time when a corpse is pulled out from the tar pits, and while tracking down the killer, Spain and Doyle become embroiled into something far deeper and more intimate than they could have imagined.

T...more
chanceofbooks
May 24, 2012 chanceofbooks rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All detective noir lovers, m/m romance lovers
[This is a re-edited re-release from Carina] Simply one of the best pieces of Detective Noir fiction I have read. I took a course in college that included some classic Detective Noir pieces, and I have to say that I enjoyed this far more, mainly due to Lanyon's superb characterization skills and careful balance of plot and setting. He keeps the pace crisp while still managing to maintain an authentic atmosphere throughout the story. The police detective/reporter crime solving duo is one of myste...more
Norma
"I don't know how we're going to work it out. I just know...it's worth working out. It's worth it to me anyway."

What an amazing and beautiful story. Nathan and Matt are such beautifully written characters.

This story is a very pulp noir feeling mystery set during war-time in the 1940's. Nathan is a reporter and Matt is a cop investigating a murder.

I don't think I've met many characters like Nathan. He's dark and broken and beaufiful and he has no idea about any of it. Matt is kind of lost too. H...more
Kati
May 24, 2012 Kati rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gay mysteries fans
This book is excellent, I kid you not. The mystery part is engaging, the characters are very likable and the gay romance is very good too. The sex is hot without overwhelming the plot which is not common in gay books/ebooks these days.

For me, the best part were the characters. Nathan and Matt are very well-plotted characters but not everything is told about them, making it possible for the author to write a sequel that would delve deeper into their personalities.

I'm also happy that these two c...more
Dina
Wow, oh wow! What a great read!

Review to come later...


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Note: I received this eARC from Carina Press via NetGalley. That had no influence on my review/rating.
Isaac
The mystery element of this book bored the ass off me and I wish there had been far more romance.

However the romance, though far too scant, was compelling and heartbreaking. I'm not used to such angst in Lanyon's usual Enid Blyton style porn. Nathan broke my heart when he started to cry.
Sofia
This story left me enveloped in a cloak of sadness, almost like the cloak of fear that permeates the story.

Different realities of life at that time (during WW2) are dealt with. Homosexuality is abhorred both by the person's involved and by the public. Being gay meant being in the land of fleeting encounters.

The ending was in a slightly more hopeful vein, so I will have to see if the story continues with a sequel.
Lilia Ford
Wonderful. Both the mystery and the historical elements were pitch perfect. I was especially impressed by how delicately Lanyon handled the MC's wartime experience--somehow it made it feel all the more real and visceral than the usual, heavy-handed PTSD treatment.

Bottom Line: Anyone who likes Lanyon will like this a lot, and if you haven't read any Lanyon yet, then you need to correct that oversight IMMEDIATELY.
Marissa
Fabulous read, as usual! Ugh, the ending, though! It kind of left me hanging... I just wanted more Nathan & Matt! Is there a sequel?
Joy
This book broke my heart--I read it in black and white--there was no color--Josh Lanyon is a brilliant author
Cynthia (aka Artemis)

Reviewed at Bitten By Paranormal Romance


I was transported back to the days of Sergeant Joe Friday of Dragnet and Humphrey Bogart while reading SNOWBALL IN HELL. The story starts out with a noir-esque feel to it, but the tone subtly changes about a quarter of the way through to a more contemporary nature. Either that or I just got used to Mr. Lanyon’s writing style.

A smartly written murder mystery that places the characters front and center, while the romance aspect of the story stays somewhat in...more
Nikki
I love the way that Josh Lanyon makes me feel about his characters. I always seem to start feeling ambivalent, maybe not even caring that much, and then no matter how short the story is, I quickly come to care about them and feel very strongly about them. I grew to love Matt and Nathan very quickly, and to hurt for them, and also -- obviously, I suppose -- to believe in their feelings and their predicament.

Snowball in Hell also has a reasonably solid plot: I wasn't too far behind the game, but i...more
Fani
Well, this is more romantic suspense than romance and I wasn't expecting that for one. I liked the 'noir' atmosphere though and enjoyed it a lot. I also liked Nathan very much, he was a very sweet hero. On the other hand I don't know why, but I didn't feel I got to know Matt as well as I'd like. And I so desperately needed an epilogue! The ending was way too abrupt for my tastes, especially considering how many difficulties those two have to face. Still, a very nice & emotional read and very...more
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A distinct voice in gay fiction, multi-award-winning author JOSH LANYON has been writing gay mystery, adventure and romance for over a decade. In addition to numerous short stories, novellas, and novels, Josh is the author of the critically acclaimed Adrien English series, including The Hell You Say, winner of the 2006 USABookNews awards for GLBT Fiction. Josh is an Eppie Award winner and a three-...more
More about Josh Lanyon...
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“Love... doesn't happen every day. It doesn't happen at all for some people” 36 likes
“He wouldn’t spend another standing in the darkness, hot and sick and shaking inside with a confused mess of feelings that weren’t worth analyzing. That he shouldn’t have felt anyway.
With Rachel gone it was like balancing on the edge of a cliff—and all the little wildflowers, the netting of grass and roots that kept the cliff from sliding into the sea below, were gone. It was just Matt standing there looking down, waiting to fall.
Even Rachel’s memory, the sweet recollection of all they had built, all they had shared, was no longer strong enough to fight gravity. From the moment he had looked across the wet grass and seen Nathan Doyle standing in the shadow of a stone saber-toothed tiger, something had changed inside him. Something battened down had torn free, like a sail taking its first deep breath of sea air.
It terrified him.
And at the same time it exhilarated him.
Which terrified him all the more.”
3 likes
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