Snow – Book Review

Article written by T. Allen Winn.

Published by Leisure Fiction.

Ronald Malfi, an American novelist, genres include horror, thrillers, mainstream and literary fiction. He’s also a musician, having fronted for a Baltimore based band, Nellie Blide.  During a radio interview in 2011, Malfi stated that his fiction typically deals with the concept of lost confused identity.  He claims Snow was feverishly hammered out in about two weeks. He presently resides in Maryland.

Snow, doesn’t particularly sound scary or earth shattering, does it? It’s a weather condition, right, and can be filled with oodles of fun, winter sports, making snowmen, or snowball fights. Wrong. Malfi gives us the perfect reason to fear the snow, and not because it can strand us, delay flights or create blizzard conditions.

Four strangers, Todd, Kate, Nan and Fred are faced with the reality of becoming stranded at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, just before Christmas, with a vicious snowstorm canceling all flights. They share the same destination, Des Moines and decide to pool their resources by renting a Jeep Cherokee, risking driving through the storm to be with family for the holidays.

This is probably the stupidest stunt in such hazardous conditions, and under normal circumstances the worst thing that could happen is they become snowbound in a remote location, right? Stranded yes, remote yes, but they do find shelter in a tiny town, Woodson, but not before they encounter a bizarre character on the outskirts, Eddie Clement, who by stepping into the snow blown, icy roadway, instigates the accident that puts their jeep out of commission.  There’s something odd about Eddie from the get go, with his tale of becoming stranded too, losing his daughter in the snow, and then there’s this odd decaying body odor clinging to him. Eddie eventually ditches them and they stumble into Woodson, nearby.

Let me see if I can set up their arrival.  The town appears deserted, no power, no phones, vehicles askew with no drivers, and the autos won’t start. Hint: no one left the light on for you, so what makes you think you’re welcome here? Blood and guts are found staining the snow around the town fountain. Time to get the hell out of Dodge, right? Picture this blend, Zombie ApocalypseInvasion of the Body Snatchers and toss in a smidgen of Puppet Master, and you’re almost there; and now replace Fog with Snow.  Our travelers stumble onto some survivors here and there, but they are far outnumbered by those more attuned to greet and eat mode.

The snow is the key to hell on earth, or at least purgatory in Woodson. Something isn’t so Frosty the Snowman and Christmassy in this tiny Mayberry style town.  If you crave fast paced zombielific, keep you on the edge of your seat, spills and thrills, then this is your ticket. Let me end by saying, I’m glad I live along the Carolina coast; where blizzards are a rarity. And, if you find yourself trapped in a snowstorm, have your neighbors humor you by showing you their bare skinned backs. It might just save your life. Refrain from the urge to make snow angels or write your name in the cold white stuff. Oh yeah, staying inside will not necessarily save your sorry butt, not from the whirling winter wonderland outside. Trust me; the snow is not your friend.

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