Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Winter Haunting.

Title/Author: A Winter Haunting.

Genre: Horror.

Publisher: Harper Torch.

Source: Purchased.

Favorite character: Duane.

Favorite quote:

All in all: Sometimes a bit slow, but the story, scares and culmination are worth it.

Synopsis: A once-respected college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart has sabotaged his career and his marriage — and now darkness is closing in on him. In the last hours of Halloween he has returned to the dying town of Elm Haven, his boyhood home, where he hopes to find peace in isolation. But moving into a long-deserted farmhouse on the far outskirts of town — the one-time residence of a strange and brilliant friend who lost his young life in a grisly "accident" back in the terrible summer of 1960 — is only the latest in his long succession of recent mistakes. Because Dale is not alone here. He has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall

My Thoughts:
This is the follow up to Summer of Night, which I absolutely loved and give it 5 stars on I had been wanting to read this sequel for a while.

Adolescent Dale from the first story is now a middle aged man, struggling with his life. He decides to return to his childhood home in order to write a book about the summer of 1960, which he remembers as idyllic and suppresses the horrors that occurred.

This takes place mostly in Dale’s head and by the middle of the novel I realized how isolated he is. Comparing it to Summer of Night where the story was told by a few characters, this story is mostly told by Dale and takes place from his point of view. It’s only later in the novel I suspected that he just may be an unreliable narrator and this kind of threw me for a loop. So, I was kind of turned around while reading this book. Which is by no means a bad thing. I love being surprised and psyched out by stories.

The other viewpoint is a character that I’m going to be mysterious about just in case you do decide to read either one of these books.  This character is basically a memory, a dream, perhaps even a ghost from Dale’s past.  It offers a kind of omniscient presence and sees into Dale’s motives and offers a thoughtful perspective. I felt there is a distinct difference in this voice as opposed to Dale’s, more astute, thoughtful and even more intelligent. This character's POV also read faster because it was more interesting to me. The dual perspectives is clever because it broke it up from just being with Dale the entire story. I do also have to point out that a lot of this book is a bit slow, which serves to add to the mood, but also didn’t always work for me. I actually put it down for a bit and I think that was just the break I needed because when I started reading it again, the story started flowing again.

The scares sometimes reminded me a little bit too much of Stephen King’s style, but they were still creepy and had me squealing in eerie delight. There were noises and scratches that Dale didn’t hear, but the reader knew about. There were unexplained phenomena and ghostly appearances and again twists that I didn’t foresee.

I loved the end. It was mystical and strange but also kind of sweet. I recommend Summer of Night a bit more than this one, but if you have read Summer of Night and loved it like I did, you definitely might want to check out A Winter's Haunting.

4 out of 5 stars.



Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I am going to have to keep an eye out for both these books- love the town's name- Elm's Haven. Perfect for a scary story!

Jennifer said...

I bought Summer of Night after reading Song of Kali years ago. I need to finally read it!

Jenny said...

Oh I like the sound of this one! The fact that it's a bit slow is a minor deterrent, but all the twists and turns and the fabulous ending seem to eclipse that drawback:)

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