Josh Lanyon Main Title

Snowball in Hell

Book #1 in the Doyle and Spain series
Historical (1940s) Mystery, Law Enforcement, Private Investigator

It's 1943 and the world is at war. Reporter Nathan Doyle is just back from the European Theater when he's asked to cover the murder of a society blackmailer--a man who, Homicide Detective Matthew Spain believes, Nathan had every reason to want dead.

Read the excerpt


This is a gem of a novel. The language and writing style is flavored with 1940s idiom without being overly slangy. There is nothing extraneous; the shorter length provides a tight, focused plot and story. At the same time, though, the mystery has a satisfying number of twists and turns.
Sunita for Dear Author Reviews
Snowball in Hell is a wonderful blend of mystery and romance. The relationship between the main characters grows at a slow, steady pace and is much more believable than the instant attraction and pursuit that is common in many romance novels. In a time where homosexuality is considered a crime, these two men have a lot to overcome to be together. Their relationship is intense and unbelievably sweet. Lanyon is a fantastic mystery writer, and this one is very solid. It accurately reflects the Noir mysteries of the time in its lean, direct writing style and dark realism, and the clues will keep you guessing right up until the end. This novella is a perfect example of why Lanyon's stories are so addictive.
Lisa Watts for Fresh Books Reviews
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 write romances that are both realistic and incredibly sweet always have me clamoring to snag his newest releases. Snowball in Hell was no exception, even though it isnít your standard ìromance novelî fare.
The Romanceaholic
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.
Cloudy with a Chance of Books
For me, the real heart of the thing was the love story. Nathan’s loneliness and fear, and his yearning for love were so well drawn that I hurt for him, making the tenderness of the love scenes absurdly touching. I think I choked up on several occasions. For a book in which people get shot, kidnapped, blackmailed and beaten up, I think this is still one of the most wonderfully romantic things I’ve ever read. Indeed, the realistic peril; the sense that at any moment everything could go wrong, makes the triumph of love all the more valuable. Ah, I’m over-analyzing, but basically, the adventure and investigation was exciting and believable, and the love story one of the best I’ve ever read... this is a definite keeper!
Alex Fitzroy, Night Owl Romance
A remarkably quick paced and intelligent detective/who done it love story. Between men. I loved that these little vignettes told from either Matt or Nathan's POV moved the story forward and kept me intrigued, curious and busy in an attempt to keep who's who straight in my brain. heh. A little hat tip to Josh for effectively capturing a film noir quality to the book.
Lisabea at Nose in a Book
As I said, the mystery is pretty good, it has reminded me one of those black and white movies, Humphrey Bogart style (even if I don't envision Nathan nor Matt with the face of Bogey...) or lately L.A. Confidential (and maybe Matt with the face of Russel Crowe and Nathan with that of Guy Pearce...), but what I was searching reading the book, and that I have found wonderfully written, is the love story between Nathan and Matt.
Elisa Rolle
This is not your typical romance. It’s not even sold as a romance on the website. They have it categorized as a mystery, which is probably more than fair. The vast bulk of the story is given to solving the mystery of Phil Arlen’s murder, but because there is a romance with consummation, I’m being difficult and classifying it as such. But the build-up is slow, wonderfully slow, with the first half of the book dedicated to getting to know the two leads and discovering facts about the murder more than anything else. It makes it very easy to connect with them as characters before they move on to the romantic aspects of the story.
Book Utopia 
I find it highly ironic and amusing that I run from my own living room when the TV is hijacked for one more cop/mystery show, yet I’m addicted to Josh Lanyon mysteries.  Josh’s writing is unique and descriptive.  Getting overly attached and involved with the  characters is easy to do and Snowball In Hell does not disappoint. 
Joyfully Reviewed (A Joyfully Recommended Read)
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.
Katikat for Gay Book Club at LiveJournal 
Snowball in Hell is not your typical romance or even your typical mystery with a little romantic subplot throw in... the few sensual scenes do nothing to detract from the plot, in fact they add to it. They serve to convey Nathan’s desperation for a human touch and later the growing intensity of the bond between the two men. The stark backdrop of a war torn city, the gritty noir writing style, and the emotionally and physically injured men all combine to make this a story that I happily recommend.
Hayley for Fallen Angels Reviews (Recommended Read)
Josh Lanyon possesses a remarkable ability to write "detective noir," set in the 1940's wartime era. Reading his novels is every bit as thrilling as watching those era movies such as Double Indemnity or Laura, because his images and sights and sounds are just that vivid. Readers are captivated and swept away to his world, and while there treating to real issues, such as the illegality of homosexual contact at the time, the dilemma of men with real drives and desires to either remain celibate, marry, or risk losing their careers and receiving prison time. Building suspense rivals the escalating tension between Lt. Matt and journalist Nathan, making Snowball in Hell another Josh Lanyon winner.
Five Stars from Frost's Fancy, Rainbow Reviews
Gorgeous read, one for a quiet late night with rain on the roof. 
Sharrow, Rain on the Roof

The Trailer

Snowball in Hell

April 2011, Carina Press
Barnes & Noble

July 2014, JustJoshin Publishing Inc.
Narrated by Alexander Masters
Angeli all'inferno
November 30, 2016
Harper Collins Italia
Also appeared in
Partners in Crime 2:
I'll Be Dead for Christmas
Trade paperback
2007, mlrpress
No longer available
2007, Aspen Mountain Press
Out of print

Honorable Mention,
"Best Historical Novel of 2007"
Love Romance Cafe 

"Best Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller Book"
LRC's Best of
2011 Awards

Copyright 2000-18, Josh Lanyon.
All rights reserved.