Ronald Malfi’s “Snow”

Malfi excels in creating likable protagonists with enviable speed, and for anyone who has ever been stranded in an airport (or anywhere else for that matter), they’ll likely feel drawn to the novel’s relatable and well-rendered protagonists. With a Christmas promise and a strained divorced/custody situation on the line, Todd shares the last 4-wheel drive rental with Kate, another stranded passenger, along with a senior couple who also feel the need to move. There’s care for uniting the protagonists, and much like the rest of Malfi’s work I’ve read, the story proceeds at terrific pace to getting our travelers into trouble as fast as possible.

The initial threat beyond the massive snowstorm is the discovery of a stranded man in the snow. Hypothermic and yet seemingly functional, Todd and crew agree to help this odd man find his missing daughter, and upon locating her, set off a chain of events that compel them to flee their damaged car and to take refuge in a city under siege.

The monsters of “Snow” are unique — if they can be considered monsters at all. Without ruining the ending, let it be known that their physiology, morphology, and communication amongst one another is a critical learning arc for the quartet, and failure to recognize the (literally) shifting landscape can prove fatal. I’ve spoken with other dedicated horror readers who felt let down by the novel’s end, and again to preserve the story, I’ll merely say that while I felt the character relationships (or lack thereof) felt quite authentic, the denouement for the threat and creatures is explained away quite fast. Additionally, the epilogue feels far more like the sort of prologue one becomes acquainted with in early 80’s horror, and for my part, I would have been happy to end on a note with our characters.

A solid read, especially for Leisure Books at the time. It will definitely satisfy fans of weather-based survival threats, and definitely adds a touch of realism to such scenarios — there is definitely a dearth of weather-based/influenced horror, to be sure.


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