When Good Men Die joins others in a mystery series begun in The Pumpkin Eater, and while prior familiarity with the character of Sam Dawson is recommended, it's not a necessity to quickly absorb the unusual investigative skills of Sam, a photographer by trade.
The first thing to note here is that Horn injects a wry comic sense into some of his interactions: a satisfyingly different way of bringing characters and plots to life.
By peppering these moments throughout the story, characters come to life and readers receive both vivid descriptions and fun interludes to mitigate the tension of the investigation that immerses Sam in another conundrum.
Another device that sets When Good Men Die apart from other genre reads is the fact that it excels in blending dialogue with description, with maximum impact: readers thus achieve a level of depth, understanding, and involvement that make for a truly exquisite read as they follow Sam into danger and back again. As readers come to not just read but to care about Sam, Annie, and the events that threaten to immerse them, they will receive a different crime saga that questions impulse, intention, and the intersection between violence and aggression.
Changes are in the works for Sam; the nature of which is revealed in the course of a rollicking good read recommended for genre mystery readers and newcomers to the format alike. There's nothing 'formula' about this work: believable and surprisingly fun protagonists and dark moments juxtaposed with a dash of light humor make for an involving story many a novel reader will find satisfyingly filled with depth and vision: elements too often lacking in many mystery genre stories.