The Horror Honeys: Hardcover Honey's Haunted Bookclub ~ Snowblind

Hardcover Honey's Haunted Bookclub ~ Snowblind

Hardcover Honey's Book of the Week – by Jocelyn

Snowblind by Christopher Golden

I feel like I should preface this by assuring you I did enjoy Snowblind and would welcome the opportunity to read other books by this author.  However, I made a crucial error in reading this chilly tale.  I read it while volunteering at an amateur road race (yes, your Hardcover Honey does have other hobbies, believe it or not) which means I read it mostly outdoors, mostly in the sun, and mostly being interrupted every 20 minutes.  Sooooo, clearly not the ideal conditions for this book, which demanded to be read on a wintry day, curled up on a couch, with gray skies outside and hot chocolate inside.

We are introduced to the small city of Coventry and its wide range of characters during the worst storm in centuries, and as the snow piles up, the tragedies do too.  Struggling restaurateur Ella Santos is stuck overnight with her bar & grill troubadour, TJ, who is unable to check on his aging mother during the blizzard.  Nearby, Allie Schapiro is hosting her boyfriend Niko overnight openly for the first time with her kids around.  Her two boys (Jake and Isaac) and Niko's daughter Miri don't seem to mind and everybody is getting along well.  Officer Joe Keenan is taking it slow on bad roads and keeping an eye out for wayward teenagers who have decided to go sledding under terrible conditions.  Doug Manning is struggling to keep his part-time job as a mechanic, frightened he will have to go home and tell his wife Cherie that he's lost another job.  The storm draws ever closer, slamming doors and windows around our little group of archetypes, almost as if it's coming for them in a malevolent way.

As the night progresses, each of these characters will indeed lose someone they love – some in dramatic ways (i.e. Isaac appears to have been dragged out a second-story window by some sort of snow goblin according to his older brother Jake) and some in less dramatic ways, like Niko, who just disappears in the falling snow and is neither found nor heard from again.  

All told, Coventry loses 18 people in the storm and when we next drop in to Coventry, 12 years later, the town is clearly worse for the wear.  As we pick back up with the good folks of Coventry, another storm is approaching, this one possibly as bad as the one that stole the lives of 18 people, women and children among them.  

Doug Manning has gone from bad to worse, plotting with some loser buddies about robbing rich people's houses while the residents are holed up in hotels during the storm.  Ella and TJ, although married and sharing a beloved daughter, Grace, have grown angry with each other and are facing the very real likelihood of divorce.  Allie is finding it hard to move on after Isaac's death, and as for his older brother Jake – well, he can't seem to finish anything in his life, not a house rehab, a relationship, or anything else as the death of his younger brother haunts him still.  Office Joe is also still haunted by his inability to save a young boy during the storm 12 years ago and by the possibility of a missing child in the approaching storm as well.

As the town buttons up and prepares for another onslaught of snow, people begin acting in funny ways.  Not the normal edginess that seems to come over the town when snow is forecast – no, much more specific oddities.  Like Doug's old girlfriend and Cherie's former bestie Angela, who suddenly appears at Doug's doorstep wanting to spend the day in bed with him and treating him as if they've been apart for ages instead of just a few years.  Or 12 year old Grace, who is suddenly watching old black-and-white sitcoms and referring to her parents as “TJ” and “Ella” instead of “Mom and Dad”.  And that missing child Officer Keenan is looking for?  Well, he's appeared on Jake's doorstep and he seems to know an awful lot about Jake and Isaac's childhood together.

If you guessed that the spirits of the missing have taken over the bodies of the living, then DING DING DING – you get a cookie – and for the most part this works beautifully.  Seeing how Golden slowly pulls the strings together and describes dawning realization was great.  There is some hocus-pocus about how these mysterious beings manifest during storms, what the evil presence is in the storm, how to move on and find peace, etc., but where Snowblind worked for me was in its portrayal of that sense of isolation and unease that comes with a big storm and the uncertainty we feel when we are left without explanation for a missing loved one.

It also boasted a fun action sequence at the end and a pretty bad-ass closing.  If they can perfect the horrible CGI fake snow effects from The Social Network and get the right cast, Snowblind could make a nice little piece of thriller cinema someday.  Fingers crossed!

Hardcover Honey verdict: Three out of five feet of snow for this one – brrrrrr.........