In the frozen reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, fierce winter storms hit without warning. The white opacity of one such blizzard allows Norman Haas to walk away from his prison work detail. Dangerously close to freezing to death, Norman is given shelter by Liesl Tiomenen, a middle-aged woman who lives in a house she and her late husband built in the woods. Armed with a rifle, she tries to turn him in, but when they set out on snowshoes, she suffers a fall, allowing him to flee again. Thus begins Norman’s journey back to his past, back to the woman he loved who betrayed him, back to the brother who helped put him away, back to a dangerous web of family allegiances, deceptions, and intrigue.
After finding Liesl injured and abandoned in the woods, Yellow Dog Township’s sole full-time law enforcement officer Del Maki pursues Norman through a storm of mythic proportions.
Cold was Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award (2001).
“John Smolens is that rare and gifted writer who can capture both our exterior and interior worlds with equal dexterity, grace and power.”
—Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog
“Cold is a finely crafted, wild yarn set in the great north. John Smolens gives us a suspenseful tale in a style somewhere between Jack London and Raymond Chandler. A fine read.”
—Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall
“Set in Michigan's cold, harsh Upper Peninsula, this third novel by Smolens uses its frigid backdrop as the perfect setting for an astute examination of six lives wrecked by fate, betrayal and tragedy.”
“Smolens not only uses the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a backdrop, he also treats it as a character, silent, relentless, and cruel…well-written tale fueled by a sense of impending disaster.”
“A fascinating and disturbing novel.”
—Independent Sunday (UK)
“You'll swear the temperature has gone down a few degrees since you began reading the book.”
—Lansing State Journal
"A mesmerizing danse macabre."
—The London Sunday Express (UK)