Angela's Reviews > A Winter Haunting

A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons
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Apr 10, 11

bookshelves: bookcrossed-or-otherwise-set-free, 2003
Read in September, 2003

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 -- is only the latest in his long succession of recent mistakes. Because Dale is not alone here. He has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall... (cover blurb)

I finished this at 2:00 in the morning. Should have gone to bed hours before, but this story demanded to be finished.

A year after a suicide attempt, Dale Stewart returns to the tiny Illinois town where he grew up to write the story of the summer of 1960, the year his friend Duane died.

Gripping story, extraordinarily well-told. No gore, no gross-out scenes, just an ever-more-creepy atmosphere leading to some genuine gasps of shock. Reminds me in some ways of Lost Girls -- both protagonists are isolated physically and mentally, by the hostile small towns they've chosen and by their own unresolved pasts. And it tickled my "coincidence" bone that I happen to also be in the middle of Beowulf at the same time I started this novel. The Old English epic plays a significant role in the storyline.

Highly recommended.
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