06 February 2012

Review: The Dead of Winter

The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley
Publication date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury

After Michael's parents die, he is invited to stay with his guardian in a remote old country house. He begins to suspect something is not quite right on the day he arrives, when he spots a mysterious woman out in the frozen mists. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself. His guardian is rarely seen, and there's a malevolent force lurking in an old hallway mirror. As the chilling suspense builds, Michael realizes that the house and its grounds harbor more secrets - both dead and alive.

The Dead of Winter is horrorlicious. It's a scary book that actually scared me. Priestley does a great job of giving his novel a classic Gothic feel. A few times I had to remind myself that this book wasn't written in the 19th century. The prose is classic and well-written. I loved it.

The horror:

The Dead of Winter is full of frightening scenes and these moments wouldn't have worked without Priestley's truly creepy descriptions. The book played out as a movie in my head and left me terrified. I can't say much without spoiling it, but one of the scenes involving the priest's hole scared the crap out of me. I was like, "OPEN THE DOOR OPEN THE DOOR OPEN THE DOOR!"

The negative:

The mystery solved is a bit...lackluster. Don't get me wrong, the climax is exciting but the sort of "whodunit" left me wanting more. It's also too short. Much too short. It doesn't read like a full length novel, but more as a novella. I finished the book in about an hour. I would normally have no problem with this but I wouldn't recommend spending $16.99 for it. It's more of a paperback purchase or a library borrow. Though, you can currently purchase The Dead of Winter for the Kindle for $4.66!


  1. this sounds really creepy but i am surprised that it is so short. i've seen it at the store and picked it up a couple of times but admit that the creepy cover has made me put it down. i don't want that staring at me from the bookshelf! maybe i will check out the kindle version. :)

  2. @fishgirl182: It WAS creepy and, yes, the cover is creepy too! Definitely something you'd rather have spined than faced-out, haha!


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