**3.5-stars rounded up**
Dead of Winter is the perfect Summer Chiller to make your blood run cold on a hot day.
If your air conditioning isn’t keeping pace with the heat, look no further, this novel will cool you down quickly!
In this story we meet Christa as she embarks on a two-week vacation in the Rocky Mountains with her boyfriend of around six-months, Kiernan. Christa is a woman haunted by her past and this vacation is a big deal for her.
Kiernan has been such a blessing in her life and she feels like she has a little more courage with him by her side. Kiernan is from the area near the mountains they are visiting and Christa is excited to see a place that is so special to him.
As they are making their way to the remote lodge on the tour bus, along with eight other guests and their guide, inclement weather makes the conditions less than an ideal. A fallen tree blocking the road ends up stalling them further.
As the guide breaks the tree down to move it out of the way, Kiernan and Christa hike up a nearby ledge to get a private peek at the view.
In the worsening conditions, the couple get separated and the next thing Christa knows she is awakening in a cabin, groggy and injured, with Kiernan no where in sight.
As the roads became impassable, the group was forced to take shelter in a tiny rustic cabin they found not far from where the bus is stranded.
They were lucky to find Christa, but the search for Kiernan will have to be put on hold until morning. Their new quarters are tight and claustrophobic, with very minimal supplies. This is not going to be easy.
The group settles in and try to come up with a plan for escape, but they might as well be the last people on Earth. They have no means of communicating with the outside world, and even if they could get a signal out, how could rescue even get to them?
In the middle of the night, their guide goes missing. The next morning the group is shocked to find his decapitated head hanging in a tree just next to the cabin.
Fear and paranoia runs high, as each in the group realizes there may be a killer amongst them. As bodies start dropping, the suspect list grows smaller. Who will make it out of this vacation from hell alive?
Dead of Winter is a fun read. This is the second Darcy Coates book that I have read. The first was a DNF because I was bored, so this one is a huge improvement over that.
I am an atmosphere girlie first and foremost and Coates absolutely delivered in that category here. I loved the secluded location, the claustrophobic-feeling cabin and the cold, uninviting wilderness surrounding them.
I also enjoyed the unlikable cast of characters being thrust together into tight quarters. These were people who probably otherwise wouldn’t have been socializing with one another, but fate brought them together and they had no option than to try to work together.
I also enjoyed their interactions. As the tension rose and people’s paranoia started to kick in, I found how they were relating to one another really believable. I think Coates did a great job with the psychology behind it all.
For me though, in spite of the fact that it was action-packed, I did feel like it went on a little too long. There were some sections that dragged, or felt repetitive, when I was just wishing to move forward a little more quickly.
Additionally, I felt that it was pretty clear who the killer was and why, so it made certain reveals a little less impactful than I think the author was intending. I was hoping for a bit more suspense to carry me through to the end.
With this being said, I don’t necessarily need to be surprised to have fun with a story and I still enjoyed this one a lot. I thought the level of violence and body horror was perfect and as mentioned above, the secluded setting was fantastically done.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a chilling, intense, cold-weather Horror-Thriller story.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am excited to read more from this author!