Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Book Review: A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons

Following his divorce and suicide attempt, Dale Stewart moves back to Elm Haven, deciding to live in the house his childhood friend lived in, to work on a new novel.

“All good things beyond sleep come precisely because we defy gravity while we live.”

How, oh how, was this book going to live up to Summer of Night? Spoiler alert - it doesn’t. But that’s okay, because it’s still a very enjoyable and chilling tale!

I would NOT read this one before Summer of Night, it’s spoiler city in there! It’s not a direct sequel, but more of a chance to revisit Elm Haven and some of the characters we know and love. The story focuses on Dale, but we sometimes have narration from another member of the bike gang and these were often my favourite parts of the book - they were so beautifully written, as I have come to expect from Simmons.

It’s quite sexual at times, which was fine until I was reading it on a plane and I was basically trying to cover the pages from the stranger beside me (ahaha, my phone just autocorrected that to a title since I talk about the Ann Rule book so much). Some of his descriptions of nipples and... other parts... had me rolling my eyes, but it wasn’t too bothersome!

There’s also a lot of references to different authors and works which I LOVED - little shoutouts to King, Nabokov, Arthur Miller etc. And some parts were really quite unsettling and claustrophobic. There’s just something about creepy occurrences in a house - because I too live in a house! This could happen TO ME (I hope it doesn’t).

A Winter Haunting is a lot more direct and to the point than SoN (and Carrion Comfort for that matter), as this one is just over 300 pages long, compared to the larger, and more detailed, novels. My eyes did glaze over during a car chase scene though... good god, how many pages can you dedicate to something like this?! Wrap it up! And one of the characters, Clare, was quite pretentious and unlikeable - but otherwise I have nothing else negative to say about this one!

A really intriguing read with lots of interesting mythology that kept me guessing until the very end! 4 stars.


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