Wyoming author Steven W. Horn’s second book in Sam Dawson Mystery Series a finalist in the 2016 Eric Hoffer Awards

CHEYENNE, WY - The mystery, When Good Men Die, written by award-winning Wyoming author Steven W. Horn, was named a Category Finalist in the internationally recognized 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Awards.

When Good Men Die is the second novel in the Sam Dawson Mystery series. The Pumpkin Eater, the first in Horn’s Sam Dawson Mystery Series, won the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award in Mystery/Suspense and was a Category Finalist in the 2014 Eric Hoffer Award.

Being named a Category Finalist is a distinction of its own merit. After a rigorous first round of judging, less than 10 percent of the nominees to the Eric Hoffer Awards become Category Finalists. The Eric Hoffer Award honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its inception, the Hoffer has become one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses.


Photographer Sam Dawson returns in the second book of this mystery series to clear himself as a suspect in the murder of a nursing home resident. Sam turns his camera toward the elderly and meets Hans Gottlieb, Depression-era carnival wrestler and former Olympian. Hans prefers to live among his brutally harsh and haunting memories and has come to the north woods to die. In Sam’s quest for the truth about the murder, he discovers the disturbing reality that the aged are often not who they appear to be. He and his drooling bloodhound will be set upon by wolves and humans alike as Sam exposes decades-long secrets in this Gordian knot of a mystery. At the heart of the latest Sam Dawson Mystery is that the aged are often not who they appear to be.

“In today’s world we tend to categorize and overlook the elderly,” Horn said. “We read their obituaries and note their age, where they were born and who they left behind. But, we know nothing about who they really were, their hopes and dreams, their successes and failures, their contributions. Importance is a relative term that is best determined by the person who asks the questions and the person who evaluates the answer.”

“I would hope that this new mystery not only entertains the reader; but, also awakens a desire to peel away the layers of time in order to understand the past of those who shaped our lives,” Horn said.

According to Kirkus Reviews, “Horn, in his third novel, again demonstrates the intelligence and complexity of the first Sam Dawson mystery…Thoughtful and exciting-another fine mystery from Horn.”

Publishers Weekly’s review said, “Horn deftly weaves past and present in his unusual second mystery featuring photographer Sam Dawson (after 2013′s The Pumpkin Eater).”

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review, said in her review, “The level of depth, understanding, and involvement make for a truly exquisite read as readers follow Sam into danger and back again…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 reader will find satisfyingly filled with depth and vision: elements too often lacking in many mystery genre stories.”

“Readers like Sam Dawson,” Horn said. “He’s a bit of an antihero with enough flaws that people can identify with him.”


The Pumpkin Eater, the first in Horn’s Sam Dawson Mystery Series, won the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award in Mystery/Suspense and was a Category Finalist in the 2014 Eric Hoffer Award. Reviewers calledThe Pumpkin Eater a smart start to a new detective series with one of the more likable characters to debut. In the novel, photographer Sam Dawson uncovers a shocking story of undetected mass murders of young women, involving genetic manipulation and the dark history of America’s attempt to genetically improve the human race.


Horn’s compelling debut novel, Another Man’s Life, depicts the reality of Vietnam wartime atrocities intertwined with the guilt that still threatens innocent lives more than three decades later. In an age where many skeptics question the government’s adherence to truth, Horn’s storytelling will shock even the most ardent critic when they read of the political betrayal and ruthless brutality of a U.S. president who convincingly lied to both Congress and the American people.


STEVEN W. HORN is the author of The Pumpkin Eater: A Sam Dawson Mystery, which won the 2014 Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Gold Award in the Mystery/Suspense Category and was a 2014 Eric Hoffer Award Category Finalist. Hom’s debut novel was the highly acclaimed Another Man’s LifeWhen Good Men Die: A Sam Dawson Mystery is the second book in Horn’s Sam Dawson Mystery series. He lives in Wyoming.