“Snowblind” by Christopher Golden: A review

Twelve years ago in Coventry Massachusetts and there’s one mother of a blizzard. The town is left reeling with a number of people left missing or dead, found frozen in the snow.
As the bereft try to come to terms with the trauma, twelve years later they suddenly people they know behaving in different, puzzling ways. And what is behind stories such as people suddenly forgetting how to drive? Why does a 12 year old girl suddenly seem wise beyond her years? Why does a Police Officer suddenly turn bitter and hostile to his superior, seemingly blaming him for a tragedy that fateful night? And why does a missing boy turn up at the doorstep of someone grieving the loss of a brother, claiming to be someone very different….
And then another storm hits, and an ancient, malignant evil begins to fall with the snow…..
This is a novel of three parts. The first tells the story of the first storm, and it is a page turning mystery, as we first glimpse the demonic protagonists and the havoc they cause.
The second, longest section tells the story of the individuals dealing with their trauma twelve years later, and the deepening of a mystery as people start behaving out of character, and some claiming that the dead are coming back to them.
The final section is in the faster tempo of the first as the storm and its ancient secret hits again, and there is suspense, horror and resolution.
It’s a book that starts well but suffers from a very baggy middle and a finale that does not convince. Somehow the mythos does not gel as it should to make us enter this world sufficiently so we are convinced by the threat. Scenes where a ghost follows a threatened family around are particularly unconvincing and almost farcical.
But that middle section. It made the book seem ploddingly generic and much longer than it is. There’s not enough threat in this section and what drama there is, is just people behaving out of character. There are some neat plot reveals in the final sections, and a sense of the threads coming together, but as I said the payoff is not really enough, or convincing enough.
The creatures themselves are chilling, pardon the pun, and eerie in their gliding, darting movements and Jack Frost characteristics. But I didn’t warm enough to the protagonists; again pardon the pun, to be moved by the threat.
Not a disaster but hardly the white-knuckle ride the cover blurb wants us to believe.


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