Book name: The Snow
Author: Flint Maxwell
Publisher: Dark Void Press
Format: ebook, print, audiobook
Publication Date: 2020
Star Rating: 4/5
Not too many self-published authors have two thousand reviews on Amazon, almost all of them five stars, so when I stumbled on The Snow I was eager to find out what Flint Maxwell was doing right.
The Snow is a horror novel along the lines of The Mist, except that the weather conditions involved just turned a whole lot colder.
Grady and his buddies Stone and Jonas head up to Prism Lake to celebrate the Fourth of July. Grady was a fireman until the death of a boy he was trying to rescue from a burning building traumatised him.
He needs a break to put it all behind him and has no idea where his life is going.
The holiday goes well, with a very typical lakeside horror movie or book feel. You know, the part when the bloodcurdling action hasn’t got going yet.
In the evening, the trio get really drunk and are then befriended by Ed and his family: wife Angela, and kids Eleanor and Mike.
In many a horror novel, the strangers in the next cabin would be the source of danger, but The Snow is different.
During the middle of the night, Grady is woken by his buddies. Heavy snow is falling.
It’s early summer and they are in Ohio, so no one can understand how it could be happening.
The lads enjoy an impromptu snowball fight and gawp at how unexpected the fall of heavy snow at this time of year is.
No one thinks to ask whether it’s going to stop or whether it will become a problem.
Hours later the power has failed, the boys are cold and there is a pretty miserable feel. The situation becomes even more sinister when Eleanor and Mike, the kids from the next cabin, knock on the door.
Ed has just gone mad in the snow and has murdered their mother. With their parents dead, Eleanor and Mike team up with Grady and his buddies.
In many horror stories the weird weather itself isn’t the main danger, although in The Snow the weather has plenty left up its sleeve. It’s more a question of what is lurking out there.
As the undead appear from out of the blizzard, Grady and the others come under attack. Cold, walking dead and eventually running out of food puts everyone in danger.
The Snow moved on nicely, from ‘before the horror’ character setting through the initial shock and then hunkering down before making the dash to safety.
The book was very atmospheric. I can imagine reading it next to the fire in midwinter, regardless of whether there is snow falling outside or just the prospect of the weather turning bad later on.
This would be the ultimate cosy indoors winter read.
The action was pretty gentle in pace. There was plenty of space to get to know Grady, the point-of-view character. The use of the first person absolutely played into the underlying notion that inclement weather isolates the individual.
The group was small and the story was experienced entirely through Grady’s eyes. This kept it cosy but also alienating from the rest of the world at the same time.
The presence of the undead in super-cold conditions is as old as European legends of the dead rising when winter descends. It worked in A Game of Thrones and it worked here in The Snow.
I really enjoyed this novel and would definitely recommend it. I had no difficulty at all in understanding just how so many people had come to love it.
Thank you for reading my review.
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If you’ve enjoyed this review, you might be interested reading in my article about Creativity and Darkness (Genius and Inspiration in Horror Fiction).
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If you fancy something different, you might like to take a chance on my review of Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr.