Ronald Malfi

Leisure Fiction
Mass Market Paperback, 311 pgs, $7.99
Review by Steve Vernon

Having grown up in snowy North Ontario – and having lived through the three foot plus snowfall-in-a-day of White Juan here in Halifax – I have a healthy respect for the snow.

I know have an equally healthy respect for the writing of Ronald Malfi.

I have read Malfi’s work before with his book The Fall Of Never (Raw Dog Screaming Press), and was very impressed by his clean no-nonsense approach to writing. It is great to see Malfi getting out into the mass-market.

Snow utilizes a basic horror trope. A small town, something evil besieging it, and a few survivors grimly hanging on. The usual town-meets-monster kind of tale.

But what a tale.

It begins after a brutal snowstorm has shut down flights in and out of Chicago. Todd Curry, a divorced father of one, is determined to reunite with his son by Christmas. He teams up with several other stranded passengers, rents the last car out of Chicago and drives straight into hell frozen over. Along the way they pick up an ominous hitchhiker with a strange story of a car that won’t start, a missing daughter, and some unexplainable slashes straight down the back of his coat.

We’re not talking zombies. We’re not talking vampires. We aren’t even talking abominable snowmen. We are talking about a totally unique menace that snowballs up into one hellacious last-man-standing survival tale.

Malfi falls on you like a glacial avalanche. The man drives a freaking snow plow to work and chews raw icicles for breakfast. Just when you think you’ve got things figured out he comes sneaking at you on big book-stomping snowshoes and comes at you from another angle.

Snow is visual, visceral and intense. It’s the kind of book that you will read and then keep to re-read and re-read. It is an honest-to-god horror story written with a strong clean style and without over-indulging in tasteless gratuities.

Snow will chill your blood.

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