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Snow by Ronald Malfi
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Leisure Books Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780843963557
Date: 23 February 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Christmas is for family gatherings, yuletide decorations and joyous caroling. But in Woodson, Iowa, mangled, ghoulish corpses lie strewn across the lawns, screams of pain and agony fill the night, and frightened survivors huddle in a convenience store, a church, and the sheriff's office. Instead of Santa Claus, an evil force from another world has come to visit this small town. A group of holiday travelers are stranded in Woodson. Soon they will become trapped by an unspeakable evil that wants to claim their bodies and souls. Soon they will learn that snow does not melt in Hell. In Woodson, the snow is Hell!

Ronald Damian Malfi's Snow is a gory nightmare that will chill your bones; it is guaranteed to please all fans of science fiction horror. If you enjoy holiday horror, especially ghoul-tide horror, as much as I do, then you must read Snow. Most of the action occurs on Christmas Day, which, if you believe the carols, is suppose to be the most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, for thousands of small town residents across the Midwest, it becomes a life and death struggle. Snow is perfect winter reading. An isolated, Midwestern town is in the grips of a freezing snowstorm. However, some readers may enjoy this novel during the summer when their minds need a respite from the heat.

Snow has the same elements as some of my favorite horror film classics. The residents of Woodson are fearful of their loved ones, not knowing if they have changed into one of the zombie-like creatures - a "skin suit". Alien possession is a reoccurring theme in The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Puppet Masters and Life Force. The scenes where terrified survivors are holed up in various buildings, fighting off the creatures as they try to swarm inside to eat them, reminded me of the zombie classic Night of the Living Dead and its many sequels and imitations. The freezing, arctic-like environment of the isolated town of Woodson and the flame throwers used to combat the creatures reminded me of John Carpenter's The Thing, another alien possession thriller that probably more closely resembles Snow than anything else.

If you're looking for romance, you will also find it in Snow. Most successful novels have a strong romantic element. After all, what is more romantic than a handsome man and a beautiful woman fighting side by side against the forces of evil? In Snow, we have lawyer Todd Curry who is stranded at Chicago's O'Hare Airport when he meets Kate Jansen. Together, they rent a jeep and drive to Des Moines where loved ones are waiting for them. The nightmare commences when they crash their vehicle trying to avoid hitting a man who is searching for his missing daughter. Likable characters, Todd and Kate seldom leave each other's side as they battle the creatures and the possessed townspeople. Some of the survivors, though not possessed, have been driven insane with horror.

Anyone reading Snow will never again look upon snow as beautiful, innocent, and playful. Underneath its pure white surface, a creature of pure evilness may be waiting to stalk and devour. Screenwriter Ronald Damian Malfi has written several thrillers of psychological horror and suspense. They include Shamrock Alley, The Fall of Never and The Passenger. His next novel, The Ascent, will be published in September of 2010.

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