SNOW by Mike Bond

SNOW

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bond (Assassins, 2016, etc.) tells the story of three friends who become divided over an unexpected temptation in this thriller.

Former NFL linebacker–turned–TV talking head Zack Wilson has plenty of problems in his life, from chronic injuries to gambling debts. So he relishes the 10 days per year that he spends hunting in the mountains of Montana with Steve, his stockbroker, and Curt, their Cheyenne guide. This year, however, he finds it difficult to forget his problems back in the real world, particularly after he makes a discovery in the woods: “A crashed plane lay on one crushed wing, nose buried in the snow, the other wing raised toward the sky as if in supplication, the propeller twisted and the tail torn half off.” More surprising still is that the abandoned aircraft contains two coffins, each loaded with kilos upon kilos of cocaine. Zack shares this discovery with Steve, who immediately suggests that they sell it and make a quick fortune—particularly because Steve just lost both men’s fortunes in the stock market. Instead of cutting Curt in on the deal, Zack and Steve steal the cocaine and their guide’s truck, determined to sell the drugs, even if they can’t quite decide on the best buyer. They soon have all manner of pursuers on their tail, from sheriffs to Drug Enforcement Administration agents to a deadly operative of the cartel to whom the cocaine belongs. Most significantly, they’re pursued by Curt, the good man they wronged, who seeks only to save his erstwhile friends from themselves.

Bond tells his story in a crisp, propulsive prose that darts from sentence to sentence like the trained eyes of a hunter: “When they reached camp he saw with sudden fury that the corral had been broken down and his four other horses had vanished down the trail toward the highway. Grizzly tracks wandered the trampled snow.” He also has a sharp ear for dialogue and a knack for character development, at least when it comes to his main characters. Each of the three men, as Bond depicts them, is a spinning cyclone of motivations. Despite their familiar archetypes, Zack and Steve are complex and relatable, recast by new revelations as the story unspools. Curt is a simpler type of hero who provides a good contrast to the other two, although his portrayal seems to lean heavily on the stereotype of Native Americans being closely in tune with the land. Some of the other characters feel superfluous, however, stealing page time away from the main trio and crowding this relatively slim story. Themes of the destructiveness of greed, both private and corporate; the sacredness of nature; and the primeval ways of mankind lend weight to what would otherwise be a straightforward thriller. The plot doesn’t go anywhere too surprising, and the ending is perhaps disappointingly predictable. But overall, Bond has created a well-paced tale with intricate storylines that should satisfy fans of the genre.

An often captivating story of three friends on opposing sides of a betrayal.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2017
Page count: 262pp
Publisher: Mandevilla Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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