Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Snow-buried town full of hungry ghosts and past encounters.
on 9 November 2015
This is not the easiest book to read, but it is interesting nevertheless. It has a quality of a feverish dream, where bits and pieces refuse to fall in place in the beginning, but make sense later on.
It is not a ghost story as such, nor it is a straightforward vampire tale. It is a bit reminiscent of some of the Stephen King's novels in a way that tells you about a group of ordinary men facing extraordinary circumstances and having to deal with supernatural beings. They have to stand up to it because no other choice is available, and they fight, whatever the cost is.
Peter Straub uses some traditional tools of the genre, like a heavy snowfall that cuts the small American town away from the outside world and creates a perfect playground for the bloodthirsty paranormal creatures. This adds to the "atmosphere". The fact that the creatures are capable of manipulating mind and memories, as well as dead people, adds to the challenges met by the group of heroes in the story.
The story is not linear, it goes to the past and back to present in order to build the layers explaining why each person is involved. A harmless hobby of ghost storytelling by elderly, highly educated, well-off men has it's roots in a disturbing encounters many years earlier. A younger but equally intelligent writer meets a woman who turns his life upside down and is somehow related to the evil encountered by the older men. A sensitive and bright boy turns out to be capable to fight the greatest fears of his life. And all threads meet up in the town buried by the snowstorm.
The characters are well defined and a lot of them are likeable and recognisable, as if they were people you have once met. The "beings" are a bit more elusive, so you are not entirely sure what they are, where they came from, who is in charge and if there are many of them. But this is what makes the book captivating, too.
I think it is more intelligent and better written than a lot of books in this genre. I only gave it four stars because English is not my first language and at times I found the prose a bit difficult.