My favourite type of horror story is what I like to call "survival horror". That is, the type of tale where a group of characters become trapped somewhere and get picked off one by one by an initially unknown but powerful assailant. As their numbers dwindle, panic and desperation set in, the assailant (hopefully something monstrous or supernatural in nature) is revealed, and a battle to the bitter end takes place, with any survivors walking away changed for their experience.
So, basically, I bookgasmed over Ronald Malfi's Snow.
In essence, it hits all of the above things I love about horror dead on. Sure, it's not overly original - awesome creatures that are hounding the characters aside - but what Malfi brings to the table here, he brings with style. The flawed main characters who are just real enough to identify with, decent secondary characters that you wouldn't mind seeing survive (in some cases), and a fantastic supernatural menace that stalks them all. Those complaining that there's nothing original in Snow must have read far more widely than this reviewer, because I thought the creatures here were truly original and had a great modus operandi.
I even enjoyed the chances Malfi took with the story, such as not being afraid to chew through characters and introduce new ones later who added their perspective to what was happening. That said, there are few truths established about the menace, and again, this was something I liked. Too many authors feel the need to spoon-feed their readers with every nuance of what is taking place. Malfi resists this temptation and its to the novel's betterment.
Snow is also written exceptionally well. Malfi's prose flows perfectly, and he manages to say a great deal with an economy of expression most authors should envy.
When it boils right down to it, there's not much more I can say than this tickled my every fancy, and is an early contender for My Top 5 Horror Reads of the Year.
Here's to reading a whole lot more Malfi in the very near future.
5 Home Made Flamethrowers for Snow.