Monday, September 17, 2012

The Dead of Winter

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestly, 2012. 218 pages. Published by Bloomsbury USA. Source: Publisher for review.
An orphaned boy, a desolate house, and a poltergeist with a terrible itch for revenge…

After Michael's parents die, he is invited to stay with his guardian in a desolate country house. He begins to suspect something is not quite right on the day he arrives when he spots a mysterious woman out in the frozen mists. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself. His guardian is rarely seen, and there's a malevolent force lurking in an old hallway mirror. As the chilling suspense builds, Michael realizes that the house and its grounds harbor many more secrets-both dead and alive.
First Sentence:
 My name is Michael: Michael Vyner. I'm going to tell you my life and of strange events that have brought to where I now sit, pen in hand, my heartbeat hastening at their recollection.
I am not the easiest person to scare, so I'm always searching for the one book that will scare me. Sadly, I am still looking for that read because The Dead of Winter didn't even give me chills. It was good, just not scary enough for me.

While The Dead of Winter was an interesting read with a fast plot, I was annoyed how Michael kept going on about the death of his parents. Yes, it was sad and tragic, and more then likely scared the kid, but that he kept going on and on about it got a little old. I'm not trying to sound callous, but I personally can only take repetitious dialogue for so long. Even though that one things drove me nearly crazy while reading, I still found the plot and writing to be interesting enough to overlook so I could continue reading.

I really started to enjoy this one when Michael arrived at Sir Stephen's manor because this was when the story went crazy. Seriously, I enjoy it when a book can throw in all the craziness associated with a deranged house and housemates and make it seem almost believable while still building on the suspense.

At first, I found Michael to be a bland, terrified character, which made it almost impossible to care about what happened to him. Sure he had reason to fear his surroundings, but the way he kind of backed away from exploring the mystery and danger at first made him so boring. I just wanted him to chase down the truth so I could see if my musings were right on what happened to the lady. While he may have been reluctant, I ended up liking him because his reaction was more real because how many people are honestly going to look in the forbidden areas of a disturbed dwelling.

Being right, now that is what I liked best about The Dead of Winter. I liked the complex plot that revolved around the mysterious lady that Michael spotted while he on his way at his new guardian's estate. I thought the author did an excellent job of creating an atmospheric read while progressing the plot along, as well, as the characters development.

I guess the most disappointing thing I found after reading The Dead of Winter was that it failed to scare me and that was my hope going into reading it. Yes, I like to be scared when I'm reading a horror novel and it can be a let down when it just doesn't happen...which actually happens to me a lot of the time. While not horrific, the plot and storyline are good and worth getting lost in.

Finale Verdict: The Dead of Winter had some suspenseful moments, but in the in just did not have the creepy factor that I was expecting.

The Dead of Winter earns 3 out of 5 pineapples.

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