Dead of Winter, by Brian Moreland

Dead of Winter, by Brian Moreland book coverGenre:  Horror
Publisher:  Samhain
Published: 2012
Reviewer Rating: five stars
Reviewer:  Michael D. Griffiths

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Dead of Winter, by Brain Moreland proved to be a real treat of me. Between liking horror more as Fall envelopes us and finding out Samhain Publishing has closed their doors, I dug out an older book from them and couldn’t be more pleased with the quality and even quantity of Moreland’s horror novel.

The novel takes place in the mid-1900 in Canada. Inspector Tom Hatcher needed new scenery after a long investigation into a cannibalistic killer led to his wife’s death and the villain’s hands.

He and his son travel to a remote outpost to see if he can solve similar cannibal attacks, which occurred at a different and more remote fur trapping fort. He discovers a horrid situation at the other fort and loses several people including his son. The cannibal plague is also brought back to his fort, but is controlled before it can take over.

After the loss of his son, Hatcher falls into a drunken depression, and only the care from a young tribal woman, who is almost a slave to the owner of the fort, is able to help him overcome. The tribe she is a part of considers what is happening to be caused by the evil Windigos, but the priest sent to aid Tom, believes they are sent by the devil. Add to this a doctor who is searching for a medical solution to for why normal people are becoming cannibalistic monsters and it is difficult to know what direction to turn. As eastern and western cultures collide, evil befalls the fort, and soon the killing and possessions began as allies slowly turn into foul twisted shapes.

I enjoyed how in depth and intricate this story became. Different webs of connection were weaved through the characters, which created complex situations. The isolation they experienced built the level of terror. Uncertainty mixed with strong actions. Even without them knowing all the answers or causes, they fought to survive in any manner they could. Tom proved to be a strong character and his perseverance through his suffering moved me as a reader.

If you like horror, I can not see too many downsides here. It was a bit of a slaughter feast and Moreland appeared to feel the need to kill off almost every character he created. Tom is also treated brutally, but it made you want to him to rise above all the more.

So yes, it will get 5 Stars from me. Great book to start the real Fall down here in my desert home. Sad to see Samhain go with them putting out such fine novels. If you enjoy horror novels enough to buy them, add this to the top of your list.

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