A writer, visual artist and musician, Ronald Malfi used to front the Maryland-based alternative rock band Nellie Blide. Malfi has previously been published with Medallion and Delirium (among others). Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi's horror novels and thrillers have transcended genres to gain wider acceptance among readers of quality literature.
Amongst legions of vampires, werewolves, zombies, vengeful spirits of evil entombed ancestors and Lovecraftian water monsters with lashing tentacles, it's gratifying to encounter a creature that's fresh and original, and - though detailed - not over explained to the point of:
"Oh, I see. It's a brand-new twist on an ancient Native American Algonquin Elder Myth of Very Old Beings From Before Time! How silly of me!"
In other words, it's nice to be surprised by something new and still be left hanging at the end, wondering what that thing was, and where and when it'll strike next. Ronald Malfi accomplishes this in "Snow": He uses the always effective horror environment of a small town cut off by a blizzard; then he gives ample reason to fear the snow itself...down to even the tiniest flake.
Todd Curry is a newly divorced dad trying to make up for lost time and wasted opportunities, but torrential snowstorms have canceled all flights from Chicago, ruining his chances of seeing his only son for Christmas. Determined, Todd joins a woman named Kate and an elderly couple as they try driving to their varied destinations. It's risky, but he's desperate enough and Kate seems crazy enough for it to work.
A car accident becomes the least of their worries after they pick up a confused man wandering in the snow, claiming that his daughter is lost in the woods. By proxy, he leads them to a snowed-in town, dark and empty, save for a few barrel fires...and something that darts in and out of the shadows. Something awful and ethereal waits for these four travelers; something that wants more from them than just food...
Malfi's handle of the craft is rock-solid; he crafts a wire-taut, suspenseful atmosphere.Read more ›
Malfi's Snow is the best horror I've read in quite a while. I picked it up off the shelf to kill a few minutes while I was waiting for someone and ended up reading the whole thing that day.
Several of the previous reviewers praise this book's originality. The funny thing is that it does feel shocking and new, despite the fact that it wears its influences on its sleeve, so to speak (a heady mixture of John Carpenter's remake of The Thing, Romero's zombie movies, and Lovecraftian cosmic horror.)
The best thing about it is the characters -- all the important characters feel well rounded and interesting, and with the leads especially you get that essential sense of what their lives are like outside of the events of the book, so you know what's at stake. Too many characters in horror books and movies seem to only exist within the confines of their stories, giving you no reason to root for them or care whether they live or die. Malfi reminded of me of Stephen King in that sense (characters always being King's biggest strength), with none of the latter's self-indulgent tendencies.
Living in the midwest, not that far from where this book is set, I'm sure to think of this one again with a shiver at the next major snowfall.
I want to first thank Leisure Books for bringing Ronald Malfi to their company. Guys like Malfi, Gord Rollo, Wrath James White, and Jeff Strand are the new generation of horror writers that deserve to be read by the masses. Next, I want to thank author Ronald Malfi for crafting a near perfect tale of horror. He has infused this original novel with every element I look for in a great horror story; a realistic setup dripping with thick, creepy atmosphere, an extremely dangerous antagonist, interesting yet flawed characters thrown into extreme situations, and characters that actually make smart decisions that help themselves instead of just being a tool to blindly help the author's story. And finally, of course - maybe the most important - the book has to scare me. And this did.
This is the first horror novel I've given a full 5 stars to in over a year. Granted, I do have a propensity for stories taking place in snow storms. But still, with Snow, Malfi's done everything right. Beginning, middle, and end. I loved it. A real talent for vivid descriptions, Malfi also has great instincts for using smooth prose and an ear for natural dialogue. I simply cannot recommend this book enough. Snow is an easy candidate for the 2010 Bram Stoker Award.
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Amazon Verified Purchase
When a group of travelers have their flight canceled due to bad weather, they rent a car and begin a treacherous journey home. They find themselves stranded in a seemingly deserted town. However, there's something alive in the snow...and it's hungry!
Snow was a delight to read. LOL - I admit that I am sick of vampires, zombies, and werewolves (oh my!) and it was great to read something that was totally original. Now, I won't tell you what's alive in the snow - you need to read the book.
And if that wasn't enough, Malfi's grasp of setting and character were stellar. Sure there's gore, but there are also creepy chills and characters you care about - a rare thing these days.
I'm glad I read this and I'm looking forward to the author's next book!