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A Winter Haunting (Seasons of Horror #3)

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,074 Ratings  ·  278 Reviews
A once-respected college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart has sabotaged his career and his marriage -- and now darkness is closing in on him. In the last hours of Halloween he has returned to the dying town of Elm Haven, his boyhood home, where he hopes to find peace in isolation. But moving into a long-deserted farmhouse on the far outskirts of town -- the one-time re ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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oh my god thank you dan simmons!


oh, dan simmons, i wish you had dedicated the terror to me instead of this one. spooky month is not going as well as i had hoped...

this is fine. it is a very straightforward, classic-feeling horror novel,like an early stephen king or something, and i still think simmons is a good writer, but this one just didn't thrill me the way the terror did.

it is at once a psychological horror novel and a t
Nov 08, 2011 Maciek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really pleasant surprise. As I was not extremely impressed with Summer of Night, I didn't exactly rush to read A Winter's Haunting, which was said to be a sequel.

I wish I didn't, as it's not a direct sequel, only uses certain events and characters from the first novel. It's an excellent tale in its own right: Dale Stewart, one of the characters from SON, returns to the town where he grew up. After a failed marriage and a sucicide attempt, he decides to finish writing his novel. He fee
Something's waiting for me at Duane McBride's old family farmhouse......

When the haunted 52 year old Professor Dale Stewart decides to return to his childhood stomping ground to revisit the inner demons of his past (by writing a novel) and expunge the errors of his ways, he encounters more than he bargained for with spirits from beyond as well as some pretty nasty humanoid beings.

While satisfyingly creepy, I did not find this novel truly scary like The Terror, but did like the way it was present

Rich Stoehr
May 10, 2010 Rich Stoehr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that Stephen King tried to do this in "It," and I think he and Peter Straub tried it again in "Black House." Whether this is true or not, neither book succeeds in the way that "A Winter Haunting" succeeds. Here, Simmons gives us what we so rarely see in horror fiction - the psychological and emotional aftermath of a horrific experience.

Simmons also takes the standard genre elements and turns them on their collective head, all the while telling a good story that keeps you reading. "A Wint
Feb 18, 2013 Bandit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warning...this review may contain minor spoilers for those who have not read Summer of Night. Minor really, nothing that the 2011 edition of Summer of Night's intro doesn't contain, but still...reader beware.
Also, one really should not be reading this book before Summer of Night. Also, pretty much any genre fan should read Summer of Night. This novel is not a must read for everyone, but any fan of Summer of Night would enjoy it, if only just to revisit the beloved characters of the first book. A
Eric Liddle
Feb 18, 2012 Eric Liddle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Was actually compelled to write my first review of a book ever when I closed it earlier today. Is it "Summer of Night"? Nope. I thoroughly enjoyed that book as well, but for different reasons. The prequel was nostalgic, adventurous, and scarier with a wide-eyed innocence. In this one, Simmons strips off any sentimentality (from this story or "Summer"). Duane, the narrator now actually "shakes his head" at the wistfulness of the first story--which is interesting given what we find out o ...more
It turns out that this book is the sequel to a book, Summer of Night, that I've never read. It doesn't seem to matter much; I understood and liked it anyway.

It's a ghost story and a story about a man who has become self-destructive; an easy and entertaining read. It doesn't have the ambition of many Simmons novels, but it does have a few red herrings to keep you guessing about what is going on, as the past literally comes back to haunt the protagonist when he returns to his home-town and spends
Oct 16, 2015 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is was a bit of a slow burn, but it was definitely good. Dan Simmons is a total pro.
Mar 13, 2015 Randee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Dan Simmons is one of my favorite authors. I've been reading his work for many years and I have enjoyed every book. This is another story set in Elm Haven, Illinois with some cross over characters from a previous book, "Summer of Night." You needn't read the first to enjoy the second. "Summer of Night" takes place several decades previously when the storyline featured children. The crossover characters in "A Winter Haunting" are now in their 40's. Mr. Simmons once lived in southern Illinois wher ...more
I did not read the first book but this was a very creepy book all by itself. Dale Stewart is a college professor whose marriage is almost non-existent and has lost his job. He thinks that returning to his home town to discover where his lost memories from the summer of his eleventh year, maybe just the thing he needs to help him get things straight in his head. Upon his return on Halloween night to Elm Haven he feels that things aren't quite right but he can't put his finger on what. Soon he enc ...more
Maybe more of a 2-star "it was ok", but I can't bear to give Dan Simmons anything less than a 3.
It started out gang-busters -- unusual narrative perspective, spooky, portentous backstory. Then we meet Clare Two Hearts, and I'm pissed as hell to be spending time on her. And Duane's voice keeps shouldering in on the narrative -- clever in the beginning, disruptive by the middle. I get that device, in the end it makes a kind of sense, but Clare can go hang. If she's a red herring, too many words a
My advice: Read Summer of Night first.
(Note- This isn't a proper review, just a word about reading order.)

I've heard A Winter Haunting described several ways: as a direct sequel to Summer of Night, as a loose sequel, and as a stand-alone novel whose characters overlap with SoN and Children of the Night. Since I particularly love haunted house tales and AWH was the only one available for Kindle*, I was tempted to skip SoN and read this one first. I'm so glad I didn't.

I finished SoN a few days ago
Jan 07, 2009 Wendy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, I decided to read Dan Simmons "A Winter Haunting" because I'm a big Stephen King fan, and I want to branch out into other horror authors. I don't think Dan Simmons is what I'm looking for, though. My big problem with the book is that his writing style is so self-conscious and affected. Like the way he always calls the character Clare: "Clare Hart (Clare Two Hearts)" as if we don't remember 5 pages ago when he wrote that she had changed her name from Clare Two Hearts to Clare Hart. Even in ...more
Sep 11, 2015 Joyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, horror, un
So glad to find this on audio--finally--and wonderfully read by Bronson Pinchot in a low-key Midwestern voice that underlines the growing horror. This is a sequel to Summer of Night (which I hope to listen to on audio one day soon), but you don't need to have read that to appreciate this story. We know we're in trouble when the opening words are from a kid who died 40 years earlier! Duane was killed by a rampaging tractor (I think--farm equipment in any case) in SON, but he introduces us to his ...more
May 17, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I rarely write reviews but I felt the need to review this one. Dan Simmons is one of my favorite authors. I was first introduced to his writing with Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. Both books were outstanding and while I read and enjoyed Endymion and the Rise of Endymion they just didn't have the magic that the first two in the series had. But now I'm getting off the subject of the review.

I first read Summer of Night which was a very entertaining book. It reminded me of the movie The San
Nov 12, 2009 Nick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
Reading this book brings to an end a month-long (which has turned into two weeks over a month) attempt to catch up on some Gothics, both rereads and contemporary. As such, I feel rather nostalgic about the book, and I am probably prone to rate it higher than I normally would. "A Winter Haunting" is a sequel to Simmons's "Summer of Night" but it's forty years later and therefore not the story of little boys any more, and hence not a rambling trip down a nostalgic memeory lane to when times were s ...more
Chris Wolak
Oct 30, 2012 Chris Wolak rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is a solid horror story. Part psychological, part supernatural. It's my first Dan Simmons novel and I'm told it isn't his best, but I enjoyed it. Got creeped out at times. Liked all the literary references. Kept me guessing and worrying about what was going to happen next. Made me happy I don't live alone. Even after finishing it I find myself thinking about its twists and turns.

A Winter Haunting is the second horror novel in a row that I've read that goes beyond just tipping its hat to He
Dec 16, 2013 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horror, paranormal, ghosts
Recommended to Angie by: it was the sequel to another book
This is the sequel to Summer of Night,but out of all the kids it only has Dale in it , although Duane is in the book as well, as a sort of voice in his head.

Even though i feel it isn't as good as the first it still deserves 5stars. Dale is staying at Duane s olds farm house and soon starts to see people from 40 years ago. It's a very creepy book and at one point it looked like it was following the horror film route of big dinner, too much booze, it's dark out, so it's a good idea to open up the
Mar 31, 2014 Mara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spooky. A story about a man who goes back to his hometown to write a book about a summer long ago in his boyhood and rents a farmhouse. The farmhouse makes noises, there is a pack of demonic black dogs, the computer send him strange messages, no cell phone reception, and more. Some of the events that happen were a little predictable, but overall this is a page turner and fun.

This is my third book that I've read by Dan Simmons and each one has been so different. I think he's moving up there as on
Kevin Groosalugg
This is the second thing I've read by Dan Simmons and I love them both. He is a very talented writer, descriptive, ironic, good use of foreshadowing... This is the story of a man who has lost everything, so he decides to return to the town where he grew up 40 years ago and write a story about the summer of 1960, and the death of his 11 year old friend. He isn't prepared for what he finds there. It's a simple ghost story, but so well written it stands out above the rest. This is actually the segu ...more
Cody Lakin
A Winter Haunting, the sequel to Summer of Night, is one of the best ghost stories I have ever read. This was something I began to realize around the halfway point in the novel, and something I knew for a fact by the time I had finished it. And this is something that keeps happening with my recently discovering Simmons and his genre-bending mastery of novel-writing: it's almost exhausting reading his books and being so blown away by the brilliance of each and every one. I have only have so much ...more
Steven Belanger
Mar 12, 2011 Steven Belanger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very effectively creepy. Reminds me a lot of an Aidan Quinn/Kate Beckinsale movie, HAUNTED, and John Gielgud, in which everyone's a ghost, and everything's haunted, and that the beautiful mansion he saw was actually a decrepit wreck of a former mansion. Both this book and that movie have an almost sex scene, too. No, check that--Quinn and Beckinsale have a scene, maybe the first nude scene with a "ghost" ever on film. And the dead talk to each other, and there's animosity...Well, anyway, both ar ...more
Vince Darcangelo

This review originally appeared in the BOULDER WEEKLY

A good story
Dan Simmons weaves words into worlds

by Vince Darcangelo
- - - - - - - - - - - -

Technology has enabled artists to express themselves and materialize their artistic visions in ways that would have seemed like fanciful science fiction just a few years ago. Take big-budget motion pictures, for instance. But strip away the hi-resolution, computer-enhanced dressing, and the core of great art remain
Jul 29, 2011 Hayley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another terrific Simmons novel. I do have one problematic question though...if one hasn't read Summer of Night, will it be interesting? The main draw, aside from my being a Simmons fanatic, is the character investment from the prior novel. Even with this being a stand alone book, the power of it's working as a sequel is undeniable.

The length isn't very long, and the pacing is pure Simmons. That is to say, slow and methodical with excellent character moments. He loves to pressure his characters w
Scott Rhee
Oct 11, 2013 Scott Rhee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
"A Winter Haunting" is Dan Simmon's chilling sequel to "Summer of Night". Dale Stewart, the 10-year-old protagonist of the "Summer of Night", is now a middle-aged divorcee and a failed writer. A former college professor, he lost his job after a torrid affair with a student (also the reason for his broken marriage). When that affair fails, Dale falls into a spiral of depression and suicidal thoughts. Not really knowing why, Dale decides to pack up everything he owns and drives to his old hometown ...more
May 03, 2011 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great little horror novel. I call it "little" because it's short by Dan Simmons standards. One reason for that is that it's a sequel of sorts to Summer of Night, so the job of describing the town and characters has already been taken care of. But this book doesn't really continue that story so much has make references to it, and the cast of characters in this book is actually pretty small. It's the kind of plot that you'd find in a Stephen King book, where an author whose life has fall ...more
Aug 09, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a sequel to Dan Simmons' excellent horror novel Summer of Night, which I read years ago and, to be honest, don't remember much of it. I do remember it being very good, very scary, original, and well-written. So when I saw this in the library, I snatched it up.

Simmons has written other fine horror novels, like Carrion Comfort and Children of the Night, but then he went into science fiction and I lost interest in him. I'm glad he's returned to the horror genre.

This book picks up with
Apr 25, 2008 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A once-respected college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart has sabotaged his career and his marriage -- and now darkness is closing in on him. In the last hours of Halloween he has returned to the dying town of Elm Haven, his boyhood home, where he hopes to find peace in isolation. But moving into a long-deserted farmhouse on the far outskirts of town -- the one-time residence of a strange and brilliant friend who lost his young life in a grisly "accident" back in the terrible summer of 1960 ...more
Nov 12, 2008 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I really enjoyed Simmons' Summer of Night, to which this is a sequel. And I enjoyed this as well -- it shouldn't be taken as a companion piece, exactly, because this is a much smaller, less ambitious, and more melancholy book than the first, which ended up being a rousing and exciting horror/adventure.

Dale, one of the survivors of the events in the first book, has returned to his hometown as an adult, divorced, disgraced (by an affair with a student) and depressed, to write the Great American No
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Spoiler question... 1 26 Nov 04, 2013 10:24AM  
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Dan Simmons grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Master
More about Dan Simmons...

Other Books in the Series

Seasons of Horror (3 books)
  • Summer of Night
  • Children of the Night

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“... all good things beyond sleep come precisely because we defy gravity while we live.” 14 likes
“What, after all, is more real to us than the geography of our childhoods?” 6 likes
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