REVIEWED: DEAD OF WINTER BY BRIAN MORELAND
DEAD OF WINTER by Brian Moreland / Samhain Publishing (October 2011) / 328 pp. / eBook and Trade Paperback
Please allow me to start my review of DEAD OF WINTER with the main point I hope to get across: READ IT. Brian Moreland has done an absolutely tremendous job creating a captivating story that involves a score of interesting characters and various cross-plots, all without forcing the reader to think too much about the different things that are going on. In my humble opinion, one quality of a great book is that it reads effortlessly and smoothly and grabs a hold of you like a drug, bringing you back for more. DEAD OF WINTER is that book.
The story begins in a desolate and isolated part of Ontario, Canada. The populace is primarily made up of fur traders, hunters, and natives to the land, co-existing without much influence from other parts of the world. Naturally, as within any society, religion and spirituality play a role in many people’s lives but here in the outskirts of civilization, one absolutely must have faith for there is something wicked among these parts that is far too evil and deadly for man to face alone. Bodies, both animal and human, are found mutilated, dragged, torn apart. Symbolic patterns are spattered in blood on the sides of houses. Strange, unnaturally fast animal-like beasts are seen roaming the land. It’s quite clear that something sinister, something awful and dreadful has arrived.
Inspector Tom Hatcher and his son Chris have recently been relocated to Ontario in search of a different life. Hatcher’s most recent assignment hunting down the Cannery Cannibal in Montreal took him straight into the bowels of Hell and although he saw this monster placed behind bars, his wife’s life was taken in the process. As Hatcher settles in he begins to realize that life in Manitou Outpost is anything but quiet; there is not just a killer lurking about but an evil the likes of which only Satan himself could unleash. And unleash it he has. The downward spiral that Hatcher is propelled into takes him to the brink of insanity and it is only the most unlikely of Manitou’s residents who can drag him out and ultimately give him a chance to save his own life.
DEAD OF WINTER has absolutely everything that a story of possession should. One can easily visualize, identify and sympathize with each of the main characters. The descriptions throughout the entire book paint a frighteningly real and believable picture of the unfolding chaos and one can quite easily see that Moreland certainly spent plenty of time researching this particular era prior to actually writing the book. This story is shocking, brutal and once you start it I think you’ll find yourself completely immersed in a page-turner that is chock full of mystery and suspense but which also does not hold back on the blood and gore. Brian Moreland has without a doubt written a true gem and I highly recommend it to any fan of dark fiction.
- Jordan Norton