Ronald Malfi has a way with words. His command of the language will leave you breathless, dreaming of vivid landscapes, and in terrible fear for your life. The monsters in Malfi’s mind become tangible and all too real when he sets them loose on the page. Snow is an incredible modern horror story with a decadent feel, and the perfect marriage of beauty and brutality.
If you’re familiar with Canadian winters, you know very well the chill that runs deep into your bones, the shiver that creeps in and refuses to let go. Well, Snow delivers that feeling in spades. Malfi has crafted what is quite possibly the most brilliantly vivid world, leaving the reader no choice but to freeze along with the characters on the page. You can really almost see your breath at some points in the story. The virtually relentless action and scares are sure to turn any seasoned genre reader into a bubbling pile of awestruck goo, and will definitely bring new readers to their knees.
The story is a simple case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Todd Curry is trying to get home to his son for Christmas. Todd hasn’t always been the best father but things are about to change. See, this isn’t just a trip to see his son for Christmas, this is Todd’s chance at redemption. Unfortunately, Mother Nature isn’t too sympathetic toward Todd’s plight as a blizzard in Chicago grounds his flight. Not one to be deterred, Todd befriends a few other stranded passengers and together they rent a Jeep and make their way home. Things are going smoothly until the group happens upon a strange man who claims to have lost his daughter. Todd’s group agrees to help the man look for his child as they are led to a seemingly abandoned town where there is something just a little “off”. This is the point where Malfi opens up the floodgates and Snow takes on a blistering pace as we are introduced to some truly original monsters. Survivors are picked off one-by-one as Todd’s group fight for survival against these bizarre creatures.
The setting itself is beautiful. How Malfi transforms the idyllic little town into a snow covered Hell is both applaudable and amazing. Every creak and groan is heard through Malfi’s expert descriptive ability. The reader can’t help but wonder exactly what is hiding around the corner, adding so many layers to the terror experienced. It’s right in the middle of the story, right about the time that Malfi has convinced the reader that this little town is about a creepy as it can get, that he swings for the bleachers and introduces some of the greatest monsters this reader has ever seen. This is truly an experience to behold.
Malfi is relentless with the horror and action without ever losing focus of the story. This, folks, is what is commonly referred to as a “real page turner.” What sets Malfi apart from most of his peers is his expansive imagination. Most authors would be content with creating a new type of monster. Not Malfi. He has no less than 5 variations of the monsters that inhabit the pages of Snow and all of them are gloriously frightening. Of course, this creativity would all be worthless if Malfi didn’t have the literary chops to describe the creatures and setting with such brilliance. Lucky for us Malfi is a true master of his craft and all of his talents are on full display in Snow. One of Malfi’s strengths is taking the reader by the hand and making him believe. The reader doesn’t need to suspend disbelief when reading a piece of Malfi’s work, as he has already done everything in his power to make everything so… sincere. Hell, you won’t even have much of a chance to question anything. This novel is such a great ride, you won’t have any time to.
Malfi has really done away with a lot of the genre trappings, and carved himself his own little corner of the market. His descriptive abilities alone bring him head and shoulders above the crowd, making him an author to keep your eye on. His writing is reminiscent of the old classics, but has all of the daring and flair of the modern genre. This writer is definitely going to become a favorite for many horror and thriller fans, and in most cases, already has. Malfi has officially been added to that group of authors that we, at Dreadful Tales, can see us obsessing over in the very near future.
-Colum and Pat