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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Review: Snowball by Gregory Bastianelli

Snowball 
by Gregory Bastianelli 

Thank you Smith Publicity and Flame Tree Press for this copy.


Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Publish Date: January 16, 2020
Paperback
245 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Horror

A group of motorists become stranded on a lonely stretch of highway during a Christmas Eve blizzard and fight for survival against an unnatural force in the storm. The gathered survivors realize a tenuous connection among them means it may not be a coincidence that they all ended up on this highway. An attempt to seek help leads a few of the travelers to a house in the woods where a twisted toymaker with a mystical snow globe is hell bent on playing deadly games with a group of people just trying to get home for the holidays.

My Review:


"There is no after life; there is only after death."

I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be stranded on a secluded part of a highway, in a snow storm with no ways to communicate and not knowing when and if any help would come along the way.  SCARY.  Which is why I love these types of survival reads.  This started off well enough with getting to know the insipid characters.  There was only one couple within the lot that I particularly liked but they didn't stay in the story long enough for me to hold on to that feeling.  I do love to hate characters though.  However, while I don't always need to be connected with the characters of a book, I neither liked nor disliked the characters left in this one.

Here's the thing.  We get a sense of the characters, some of their background and their eerie worst Christmas of their lives stories. As things begin to get off center, we get that eerie feeling of a weird shitstorm about to happen within the snow storm itself. YAY - bring on the gruesome madness please!  But it didn't *quite* get there for me.  For the last third, it went a bit sideways and when the reasoning for all this happening became clear I was left going "Really? THAT'S why?"  And look, I know with horror, sometimes the littlest things can snowball into the worst days of someone's life. (See what I did there?)  But I needed a bit more in terms of why it went this way and what in the ever living hell did it actually mean in the long run.  More bloody meat to this horror sandwich please!  I was invested when it felt more of a true then haunting the now type of story with their various childhood monstrosities coming to fruition.  Throw in an unneeded and obscure romantic line and you've now lost me.  

This wasn't a terrible read by any means.  I enjoyed it for the fun gritty Christmas horror it was meant to be.  The ending just left me a bit flummoxed.  I needed more scare and less bafflement.  Unfortunately not the read for me but I do think if you like a bit of supernatural with your survival horror, then you should give this a go and enjoy it for the weirdness that it is.

★★

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