A HERO FOR OUR TIMES: STEPHEN MACK JONES' DEUS X
Stephen Mack Jones' August Snow is one of the most engaging and interesting series heroes out there now. Normally the the military trained part black, part latino badass would serve as a sidekick in hero books of the past eras. However with his past as a former Detroit cop who uses the money he got from a settlement for getting fired when he blew the whistle in the department to refurbish homes in his Mexican Town neighborhood and operate as a socially aware and modern knight. In the new fourth book, Deus X, Jones examines the toll of those heroics.
He kicks it off with a James Bond style opening with Snow taking down a killer in Norway where he enjoys the company of his girlfriend, Tatina. He is called back to town and is confronted with the unexpected retirement of Father Grabowski, an activist priest who served the community. August believes it to be connected to the suicide of another Detroit priest. The plot then thickens when Father Petra, a priest sent from the vatican appears with Deus X, a paramilitary trouble-shooting arm of the church. Snow must gather some guns and allies and find some answers to protect his friend.
His mission puts more than his life on the line. Mainly in his circle are not crazy about being pulled into a religious war, putting a strain on their relationships. Being away from Tatina makes him realize how much he needs her now. and how she makes him whole. Going against such an institution makes him realize the social ills he fights are endless. The more he plays batman, the less he is in touch with the humanity that makes him a hero.
Like the others in the series, this book pops. Even minor characters, like Petra's driver, has a history and defined point of view. His Mexican Town pulses with everything that hits the senses. Jones pints it as a working class refuge worth saving with it's color and people of as something worth saving.
Deus X lives up to the standards of the August Snow series. It moves fast forward with color, humor, action, and emotion packed into a plot so tight it feels like it could explode. August Snow is a fully developed hero we can cheer, care for, and learn from.