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  • Snow
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on 19 January 2011
I can't remember why I bought this book, though I'm glad I did. Ronald Malfi's Snow was on of those books I was thinking about when not reading, and that I tried planning my day around to make sure I had time to continue reading.

What makes this book good? Well the first and most obvious element is the central monster(s). I'll try not to spoil anyone's discovery of this creature other than to say that they are menacing enough without being omnipotent (and thus leaving the reader wondering why they don't just plow over all who oppose them), with just the right amount of mystery behind their origin.

The second element is the characters. The leads, Todd and Kate, were interesting enough that I cared about their fates, and their subtle romance was given just enough of a progression and (sorry for the semi-spoiler) heart-breaking conclusion. Additionally, Malfi ratchets up the tension with a few moments reminding you of the danger the characters face, and that know no one is safe.

The story also progresses very nicely: character set-up beginning with the meet up in the airport, building of tension with the oppressive blizzard and meeting to the strange man by the road, and a very satisfying conclusion (which I cannot bring myself to spoil).

For people who love sci-fi and horror and want something original and interesting, I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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on 30 January 2015
First time I've read a book by Ronald Malfi and still in two minds as to whether I will read any more. The story is about a town besieged by mysterious beings in the form of snow, and while this kind of set-up is not particularly new, given predecessors such as "The Bodysnatchers", it was engaging enough and set an eerie tone from the moment we meet Eddie Clement, a man our protagonists encounter in the middle of a snowstorm.

So, who are our protagonists? Well, Todd Curry is a recovering gambler intent on visiting his son for Christmas. However, a snowstorm cancels his flight, and in his desperation to be with his son, the man shares a rental car with a woman named Kate, a cynic meant to be engaged to a loving man. While previous readers have commented on the irritating reminders of how Todd and Kate are meant to be attractive and attracted to each other, as well as questioning the realism behind Todd's sexual interest in Kate under such circumstances, it surprised me more that readers failed to question the 'dated' feel of these characters. For instance, Kate talks like a fictional woman from the 80s, the type who babbles on about how independent she is as a woman whilst applying scarlet lipstick and gazing derisively down at a potential suitor (this is 'attractive' and 'likeable' how??) For the life of me, I can't remember what she actually does apart from look cute with her red curls and rely on the men to do the hard work! As for Todd... his motives are admirable, considering how he messed up his family life by gambling so much, but his persistent denials of requiring medical attention for a cut on his leg (that constantly bleeds, by the way!) just smacks of "dumb", not "hero". Same with Fred Wilkinson apparently saving his wife from the horror of what is happening by not telling her exactly what's going on, in case the truth should offend her 'sensibilities' or something (sorry, I know he's a caring person and there's nothing wrong with wanting his loved one not to suffer, but he can't protect her and she is in better physical shape than he is, so, again, another case of the "dumb"?)

The only saving grace female-wise is Shawna, the first human survivor Todd and Kate meet when they arrive in town, looking for help. Compared to Kate, and even Todd, Shawna is ahead of her time, prioritising goals and compartmentalising feelings until she has the luxury to deal with them. She is the only female character who ever feels human throughout this story, and you can understand her as a person. (SPOILER) Sadly for us, she doesn't last that long and goes out in the creepiest fashion by reaching the top of a basement staircase, only to encounter a group of possessed townsfolk, who promptly tear her to pieces.

I know a previous reader took exception to the 'religious nut' character, and while I also think it's unlikely that such a person would exist in this kind of crisis, you have to admit that meeting one would only increase the fright factor, right? Same with the travesty of a pregnant woman, who seems to despise Kate and children who aren't her own progeny. And the children... Another great creepy moment for me (SPOILER) was when Kate called to the twins she had hidden in the car.

I do share the impression that perhaps it would have been better to keep the mysterious snow beings mysterious for longer. After all, the thrill of Todd going back for a laptop wasn't really worth it…

Anyway, it this story worth reading? Well, I think so. It's certainly not a hard read! And it does distract you from a real wintry day. For fans of horror stories set in snowy climates, this is a perfect addition to the genre, though it doesn't reinvent the wheel.
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on 1 April 2011
Now I do not want to spoil the story for you and say too much about what is doing the killing in this book but what I will say is the setting and characters are fantastic.
I have read many Ronald Malfi books and writing GREAT characters is something he does very very well. He makes you care for them, cheer them on or maybe hate them! One particular character in this book made me want to tear his head off! He made me angry and that is something not many writers can do!

Whether Malfi writes Horror or thrillers, is does not matter, he can write multi-genre fiction and that makes me like what he does, if you need a break from "horror" then perhaps pick up one of his "thrillers" like The Ascent or Shamrock Alley.

Todd is travelling to see his ex wife and son for Christmas but the snow comes in bad and the flights are cancelled, he then shares a car with Kate (who he met in the airport bar) and an older couple and attempts to drive rather than miss seeing his son. (He may wish he stayed at the airport bar!)
While travelling through the harsh conditions they run into a strange man wandering in the snow in the middle of the woods, he has deep slashes on his back and claims to have lost his young daughter. Something does not feel right but they agree to give him a lift to the nearest town where everything starts to go wrong...

Where is everyone? The town seems deserted and no one around?

Holed up in a shop they start to discover strange things in the small town and things are gonna get a whole lot worse. Hold on for a fight for survival...
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on 29 January 2016
I’m a sucker for a good old fashioned “horror in the snow” tale, particularly one that opens with a crash, bang prologue like this.
It’s Christmas and Todd Curry wants nothing more that to get back to see his four year old son, but instead, finds himself snowed in at Chicago airport, throwing back drinks with a fellow stranded passenger, Kate. Inevitably Todd and Kate join forces and with a couple of older travellers, Fed and Nan, hire a Jeep Cherokee and head out in the wild wintry weather to make the journey to Des Moines by road. It isn’t long before they pick up the mysterious Eddie, who they find wandering across their path, with his increasingly implausible story of a crashed car and missing daughter - but wait - what are those strange slit like cuts in the back of his jacket?
This is a decent enough pot-boiler of a story which evolves into a tale of survival in the snow, as various groups are encountered and despatched by the mysterious snow creatures. The emphasis is on action, if the protagonists aren’t running, they’re shooting and if they aren’t shooting then they being infiltrated (sounds weird, but it’s the right word for what happens to them) by snow apparitions. The book is well written and the lead characters have a little more depth than usual, there is even a nod towards a putative romance between Todd and Kate but they spend so much time in separate story strands that little can happen between them. Occasionally characters fall into horror cliché, and the snow creatures might have been better left under explained, but if you can suspend judgement about this, there is still plenty to enjoy in the mayhem and general creepiness of the snow bound town
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on 15 August 2016
Reading a book that's plot takes place in winter is one of the most cooling things to do in the heat of summer. Because of this I picked up Snow by Ronald Malfi. This is the first Malfi writing that I have read, but was spurred on to do so by friends reviews on Goodreads. Malfi is highly rated by many readers, so I picked up Snow with much anticipation.

Todd is having a fairly crap time of it. Stuck in a Chicago airport as a result of a huge snow storm grounding flights. Todd meets Katie, with whom he decides to drive to Des Moines through the worsening storm. Picking up a further couple of stranded passengers, Katie and Todd set off on a difficult journey.

Whilst driving, a man appears in the middle of the road nearly causing a serious accident. The group pick the man up, and he claims to have lost his daughter. Something seems very, very off, but the group try to help him. The damaged car means that Todd and the others make their way on foot to the nearest town. A town that appears to be completely deserted. It becomes apparent very quickly that the town is far from deserted, and that what is now inhabiting the town is more scary and dangerous than they could have ever imagined.

Oh my, what can I say! This feels like great horror writing. Malfi has fantastic style,but with plenty of substance too. The book reminds me greatly of Stephen King's The Mist. That's a huge compliment as The Mist is what I believe a fantastic example of what a true creature feature should be like. The Snow is also a great example of this. It's a breath of fresh air to read a novel with original monsters. The story does not let up, it's fast paced and entertaining. Absolute 5 stars! I can't wait to read more of Malfi's novels!

****Disclaimer - I purchased Snow by Ronald Malfi with my own money. This is my honest review and all opinions are my own****
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on 28 November 2014
I enjoyed the book. It's very quick to read and entertaining. The story is okay, however I thought that the main character's infatuation with the female lead was WAY overdone. He likes her and she's attractive- we get it- you really do not need to repeat that every 10-20 pages.

My review may not reflect the score, but really this is a brilliant thriller if you do not take it to seriously.
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on 1 January 2013
An excellent fast-paced story about an accidental group of travellers who end up stranded in a small town in Iowa during a snowstorm. Little do they know that the town happens to be under invasion by something in the snow. It's all very straightforward action from the get-go, with brisk writing and economical characterisation that result in a whirlwind of a novel. The story name-drops H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, and the approach is indeed somewhat similar, with a limited perspective and characters that are simply trying to survive against overwhelming odds. However, the invading creatures and the snowy landscape (very well utilised) are quite original. Well, maybe there was a dash of Algernon Blackwood's story 'The Wendigo' in there somewhere? But that just shows that Malfi knows his classics. Very good.
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on 6 July 2013
This book had me hooked from the very start and it just got better and better and had a great ending.! You actually felt like you we're in there with them and feeling terrified for your life. Will never ever look at snow the same way again. Glad we don't get much where I stay.!! Will be reading this again. Buy it, you won't be disappointed.!
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on 8 May 2014
My first read from Ronald Malfi, and I enjoyed it very much. I'd read more - he has an easy, personable style to his writing that really worked for me.
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on 27 July 2013
The story is an Unusual one, with an imaginative idea. However it has a disappointing ending and no explanation of what these creatures were..
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