Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snowblind by Christopher Golden

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Christopher Golden's Snowblind is going to blow you away.

It seemed like just another winter night in Coventry. Ella was closing up her restaurant. TJ was playing his guitar - and flirting with Ella. Across town, Allie and her sons, Jake and Isaac, were having a fun movie night at home with Allie's boyfriend, Nico, and his daughter, Miri. Doug had no idea he was about to be fired from his job at the garage.

It seemed like just another winter storm -- but it wasn't. Rookie cop Joe Keenan, a lifelong resident of Coventry, knew that blizzard was worse than anything he'd ever seen before. Different. Dangerous.

Soon, more than half of the town loses power.  Shortly thereafter, the storm begins to claim its victims ruthlessly, stealing the life from those caught in the snow, shattering the lives of the survivors.

Twelve years later, another storm is brewing. Those who lost their loved ones before fear that history is repeating itself. Joe, now a veteran cop, can't stop thinking of the people he couldn't save before. Ella and TJ's sweet young daughter isn't acting like herself. Miri, all grown up and living elsewhere, gets a phone call from her father - who died in the storm when she was a child. If they want to survive this storm, they'll have to make sacrifices they never dreamed of, and find the strength to confront the ghosts that haunt them.

From the first page of flurries and right on through two furious storms, Snowblind is chilling and thrilling. You meet all of the main players right off the bat, setting up their individual stories nicely, and by the time their paths cross in the second blizzard, each character has undergone a huge amount of change - for better or worse. Some have drifted from their dreams while others are trying to make their lives mean something. Burdened by a decade of guilt, fear, and unanswered questions, the citizens of Coventry will go out into the cold night once more to search for redemption - and what they find is something no one expected.

I latched on to many of the characters as soon as they were introduced - "pint-sized Grace," for example, described as "copper-eyed and tiny and always buzzing with positive energy" - and appreciated the diversity of the group. I could see this book on the big screen in an instant. You've got man vs. nature, lost loves, high stakes, cops and criminals, and the supernatural. I was particularly drawn into the brothers' story as well as Joe's journey. With beautiful phrases like "cradled in dreams of summer," Golden makes even the simplest of things stand out. Here's a line I'll never forget: "As if streetlights will save you, he thought, and his heart broke."

And the last chapter? That closing scene? Wowza. The final line of the book sent shivers down my spine. Let me know what you think when you get there - leave your comments below. Pick this book up from your local bookstore, curl up with a cup of cocoa (or coffee, if you prefer), and make sure you have a flashlight at the ready, just in case. You're going to want to stay in tonight.

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