Snowblind by Christopher Golden © 2014 St. Martin’s
A terrible blizzard strikes Coventry, New Hampshire, leaving 14 people dead in its wake. Through the eyes of some of the victims, they may have been killed by something more than bad weather.
Decent premise for Snowblind. I felt for those victims. But suddenly, we shift 12 years into the future, as another blizzard looms, and catch up with the former blizzard victims’ survivors, still distraught about their lost loved ones. In the present blizzard, survivors encounter reincarnations of their loved ones, either in the bodies of the living, or the recently dead, or as ghostly apparitions. The reincarnated have returned to warn the living of ice demons in the storm, who will suck the life out of them, or the reincarnated are trying to save their own souls from an icy netherworld—their motivation was never quite clear. The reincarnated have little advice for defeating the ice demons until the storm passes, other than a sturdy house, or quick feet and brute force.
The souls back from the dead trying to escape evil forces was pretty cool. I engaged with them coping with returning to live bodies and getting people to believe who they really were. Not so much engagement with the real life characters, who went from universally sad about their lost loved ones to universally happy once reunited. That scenario begged for more conflict.
Why the ice demons existed in the first place, or why they appeared in certain storms and not others, or what they could or couldn’t do, Golden never explained. They were just bad guys, and the reader was supposed to go with it.
Snowblind is pulp, escapism horror—nothing wrong with that. Golden provides a monster and some nail biting people-versus-the-monster scenes. A little more dead vs. alive-character conflict would have been nice, along with some internally logical parameters for the monsters, but still it was a fun read that will make you tug the blanket tighter the next time the winter wind howls. Snowblind is just good enough to stay on my shelf, in the pulp section.