The Jones Men

By Vern E. Smith


Special 40th Anniversary Edition

A 1974 New York Times Notable Book and 1975 Edgar Award Nominee

Before There Was Street Lit, There Were The Streets ...And The Jones Men Ruled Them

"It was  The Wire before there was  The Wire ."

--Gar Anthony Haywood


To become the King, you have to take the crown. It won't be given up lightly. Heroin kingpin, Willis McDaniel, has been wearing that particular piece of jewelry for far too long, and youngblood, Lennie Jack, thinks it would look really good on his head. When a junkie tells Jack about a big delivery, the young Vietnam vet makes his move. Feeling his empire crumble, McDaniel puts the word out to find whoever's responsible. The hunt is on, the battle is engaged, and the streets of Detroit run red with blood.

In 1974 Vern E. Smith took the crime fiction world by storm with his debut novel,  The Jones Men . Heralded as "a large accomplishment in the art of fiction" by  The New York Times ,  The Jones Men went on to be nominated for an Edgar and became a  New York Times Notable Book . The art of crime fiction has never been the same since.

Press (1974)

“A tingling thriller … the action never lets up.”

Publishers Weekly

“Not just the facts but also the smell, feel and terror that the facts along could never convey … convincing.”

Chicago Tribune

“The best street novel I ever read until now was Little Caesar. The Jones Men exceeds it in importance. The Jones Men is a work of art.”

– Richard Condon, author of  The Manchurian Candidate

“A winner on all acounts.”

Hartford Times

“Vern E. Smith knows the scene … his dialogue is real and right and frighteningly subhuman.”

The New Yorker

“His hallmark of excellence is a mastery of dialogue … He is the equal of Hemingway when The Killers was written. But Smith sustains the pace for a greater distance.”

San Francisco Examiner

“Vern E. Smith succeeds brilliantly in the presentation of his story.”

Hartford Times

“A fierce taut action tale … It moves on crisply cinematic chase scenes and bloody murder rendered in karate-chop language that knifes through the gunsmoke and flashes over the blood puddles without a bit of false sympathy.”


“A large accomplishment in the art of fiction … written with terse, impersonal immediacy … seen, heard, felt and reflected off the blue-steel barrel of a handgun.”

– New York Times Book Review

“A tough, hard, authentic look at the people who deal in living death.”

Houston Post

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