Book Review: Dennis Koller’s “Kissed By The Snow”

Early this year, after reading and enjoying Dennis Koller’s The Oath, I naturally sat down and wrote a review. Because Dennis is a local author, I sent him a copy of my review because I always like to expand my network of local conservatives.

Dennis and I began corresponding, and our correspondence quickly turned into a lunch meeting. I cannot say enough nice things about Dennis and his lovely wife (whose name I’ll omit here, out of respect for her privacy). Both are politically conservative in a really thinking way — something that’s not surprising, I guess, given Dennis’s Jesuit education. He’s a smart, analytical person and would naturally be drawn to the same kind of spouse.

It was at our first lunch that Dennis told me he was working on a new thriller. When he told me the premise, I thought it was incredibly imaginative. As we met several more times at various conservative lunches, Dennis continued to fill me in on the book. When Dennis completed the book, now named Kissed By The Snow: A Rob Kincaid Thriller (A Rob Kincaid Novel Book 1), I was delighted when he sent me an advance copy, which I felt fully lived up to Dennis’s promises.

Here’s the thing, though: I can’t tell you what that devious, clever, surprising plot twist is, because to do so would ruin the novel for you. What I’ll do instead is reprint here the book’s Amazon blurb for Kissed By The Snow, and then add my own comments:

As the highly trained leader of the Red Squadron Security Agency, Robert Kincaid is used to working under the radar—taking care of government jobs that wouldn’t exactly pass congressional oversight.

But in this case, it’s not strictly business. After a Mexican cartel murders his father, Rob is thirsty for revenge. And he’s more than willing to take the War on Drugs into his own hands when his firm is hired for Operation Snow Plow, a secret FBI plan to rid America of drug-related violence once and for all.

As Rob gets deeper and deeper into the FBI’s plan, he uncovers a tangled web of lies and conspiracies that encircle the very core of Operation Snow Plow. As he attempts to unravel that web, he finds himself in a high stakes game of odd man out, where he has been targeted as the odd man.

As with his previous novel, Dennis has a light, deft touch when writing. He doesn’t write with Tom Clancy’s incredible density or Lee Child’s blood-spattered violence. If I had to compare Dennis’s writing to anyone, I would say that he reminds me of Agatha Christie — or, how Agatha Christie would write if, instead of being a woman born in England in the waning years of Victoria’s reign, who wrote countryside and parlor murder mysteries, she was a Jesuit-educated, conservative American man who writes thrillers starring a former Navy SEAL. It’s not the subject matter that makes the two comparable; it’s the fact that both focus on the characters and their relationships (both good guys and bad) as unfolding events lead all of them to a powerful denouement.

Koller has a good technical mastery over the SEAL’s gadgets, but he never overwhelms readers with tech talk. He has a good sense of the details of conspiracies and crimes, but he doesn’t bury the reader in a sea of often irrelevant details. He just moves the story forward in lean, simple prose, adding in whatever information is necessary to keep the reader moving with the story. Agatha Christie, right?

If you’re looking for a fun, fast-moving thriller with some wonderfully surprising plot twists, I highly recommend your giving Kissed By The Snow a try. You can buy the e-book through Amazon, at the links I provided, or, if you want a discount on a hard copy version, you can check out this link.