What You Can’t See Can Kill You if You’re Snowblind

Christopher Golden
Paperback, St. Martin’s, $9.99
ebook $9.99 Kindle Nook

There’s something about a ghost story in the winter, when the weather keeps you indoors, that’s just satisfying.  This is especially true if, like me, you live in a warm climate and some years don’t see winter weather.  This is not one of those years.  While I’m not completely stuck in my house, we’ve had enough ice and snow to make driving one of those things you do only if you have to, and there’s more falling frozen stuff on the way.

So I found the timing for reading Snowblind to be perfectly synched with the weather.  And make no mistake, Snowblind is a great winter read and a chilling ghost story.

The town of Coventry is struck by a blizzard, one of the worst on record.  A number of people die.  Some from apparent natural causes.  Some are just never seen again, vanishing into the storm.  Allie Schapiro lost both her younger son Isaac and her lover Niko the night of the storm.  Isaac’s brother Jacob insists that ice men pulled his brother through their second story window to his death, but no one really believes him.  Niko goes for help and never returns, found frozen a few days later.  Police officer Joe Keenan tries to save some boys and fails; the father of one of the boys vanishes even though he’s only a few feet from Keenan.  Doug Manning lost his wife in the storm; now he’s drifting deeper into a life of crime.

There are some other characters who have varying degrees of relationship to these people, but most of the main storyline revolves around these characters.  It’s now 12 years later.  Allie is still mourning the loss of her son and lover.  Jacob continues to try to come to grips with what he saw that night.  Niko’s daughter Miri has fled Coventry for Seattle, hoping to escape the past in a new place.  Doug is planning the biggest burglary of his career.  And Keenan, now a detective, is desperately searching for another missing boy.

Another storm is coming, one that promises to be as bad as the one twelve years ago, if not worse.  And it’s bringing more than snow and ice with it.

When friends and family members start to act in strange and different ways, no one gives it much thought at first.  But soon they will have no choice to face what’s coming.  And what’s already arrived…

Golden is one of the best writers working the horror field today, and he deserves wider recognition.  There were moments of pure creepiness in this book.  Golden manages to give snow a malevolence.  Not all of the characters are particularly likeable, and not all will have a happy ending.  Most of them are wounded in some way by the blizzard of twelve years previous.  As such they don’t always make the best decisions.  And that’s how it should be.  The book is much more interesting for that.

Stephen King has a blurb on the front cover in which he mentions the last page.  That isn’t hyperbole.  It’s fairly common for the last line of a short story to pack a wallop, not so much the last line of a novel.  The last line of this one packs a very chilling punch.

Snowblind is a thoroughly enjoyable book.  If you like ghost stories, you’re going to want to check this one out.

4 thoughts on “What You Can’t See Can Kill You if You’re Snowblind

  1. Paul McNamee

    This is on my short list. My only decision to make is whether to read it during winter, or save the chills for the heat of summer. 😉

    1. Keith West Post author

      I figured if you hadn’t read this one yet, you would. I’m not going to touch the question of when to read it. I’m just going to wait and see how long you hold out. 🙂

  2. Paul McNamee

    Indeed. I haven’t asked Chris directly or seen any author’s notes, but I am sure the Blizzard of ’78 must be a large influence. Growing up here in MA in the 1970s, that storm was a childhood rite of passage.

    I’ve been through many snowstorms before & after, including May snowstorms, April snowstorms, and in the past five years, another blizzard & a heavy Halloween snowstorm.

    But the Blizzard of ’78 will always be the snowstorm.

    1. Keith West Post author

      Snow is not something we see much of here, although we’re supposed to get some later after the rain turns to freezing rain turns to snow. We do occasionally have what the local meteorologists call blizzard conditions, but I doubt they are anything like what you have in Massachusetts.


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