On the heels of the Anthony Award--nominatedEleven Daysand the critically acclaimedKnown Dead,The Big Thawis homegrown heartland thrills from Iowa's own answer to Michael Connelly. Donald Harstad writes the way Iowans live, with no-nonsense direction, an innate sense of right and wrong, and a dry Midwestern brand of humor. In today's urban-dominated thriller landscape, Harstad is working the rural crime beat to perfection. While battling a grueling thirty-below-zero Iowa January, Carl Houseman is baffled by a series of burglaries in the deserted backwoods farms of Nation County. The Iowa snowbirds have flown south, leaving their houses and valuables for the taking. The last thing Carl wants to do is leave the comfort of his toasty kitchen, stocked with a full pot of coffee and a plate full of low-fat donuts. But when news of a high-speed chase warbles out of his police scanner, he knows there is no one else to pick up the slack and join in the pursuit. Little does he know that the suspected cat burglar tearing up the back roads is not running from the police. He's running from what he found at the seemingly abandoned farm of Cletus Borglan, Maitland's answer to Bill Gates. Carl thinks he's seen it all in his twenty-odd-year career as deputy sheriff of Nation County, but this time the bad guys are uncannily intelligent. For the men lying low at the Borglan compound have much bigger plans than penny-ante robbery. They're waiting for a break in the weather to pull off a masterful siege of Nation County's biggest economic asset--the Colonel Beauregard, a floating casino on the Mississippi River.