Review by: Mark Palm
I have yet to see either a tornado or a hurricane, but I have seen my share of floods and blizzards. When I lived in Southwestern PA the big rivers would flood now and again, and while the power was undeniable there was no beauty in watching the dirty water swell and spread. Blizzards are another matter. Although on an intellectual level I know that they are harmful and dangerous whenever I lived through one I was always aware of their beauty. When I moved to Texas I realized that I missed snow, and now and again I find myself wishing for a good deep snow. In Snowblind Christopher Golden manages to show us the beauty, and the work day hassles that come with a big snow storm. He also makes it as scary as hell.
The Novel is set in the New England city of Coventry, and concerns two blizzards, twelve years apart. Mr. Golden gives us a large and varied cast and tracks their stories through the first blizzard. I don't wish to give away any spoilers which are so instrumental in this book, so just let me say that the storm is unusually dangerous causing dozens of fatalities, and most of the deaths are not natural. The characters are all finely drawn, and we care about them, and like a cook who knows that you cannot make an amulet without breaking some eggs, Mr. Golden lets us know how serious this all is by bumping off several characters that I came to like. The first blizzard takes up about a fifth of the book, but it sets up the cast for the next blizzard, which tracks the lives of people who survived the first one and follows their stories through a repeat.
As I said earlier Mr. Golden has a deft hand with character, but he also knows how to write action and how to scare the pants off of a reader. He does both with alarming but admirable frequency. There are many twists Mr. Golden reveals as he delves deeper into the unnatural aspects of the blizzards, but the most effective thing he does is not divulge too much. He keeps a lot of secrets’ back in the shadows, and do you know what? It's a lot scarier back in there.
There are several storylines in this book, and the author does a good job of juggling them all, following the plot as the lives of the citizens of Coventry overlap and entangle. Of special interest to me was how Mr. Golden showed how the effects of these occurrences touched them in their everyday lives in a way that most horror writers don't even attempt, much less pull off. As if it isn't bad enough that a loved one is killed by a supernatural entity during a blizzard Mr. Golden shows us the way it changes their everyday lives; marriages, childhoods and careers are altered and it is this commonplace touch that makes the story so hard-hitting.
There are a few nits that I could pick, but for the majority of this novel Mr. Golden had me just where he wanted me. I am not so sure that I want to see a blizzard the way that I once did.