I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Snowball by Gregory Bastianelli
Published by Flame Tree Press on January 30, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Horror
Format: ARC, Paperback
Buy on Amazon
A group of motorists become stranded on a lonely stretch of highway during a Christmas Eve blizzard and fight for survival against an unnatural force in the storm. The gathered survivors realize a tenuous connection among them means it may not be a coincidence that they all ended up on this highway. An attempt to seek help leads a few of the travelers to a house in the woods where a twisted toymaker with a mystical snow globe is hell bent on playing deadly games with a group of people just trying to get home for the holidays.
FLAME TREE PRESSis the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Flame Tree Press are quickly becoming my go-to purveyor of horror. Snowball is seeping in a creeping dread with amazingly strong characterisation. The snow provides the perfect backdrop in this heart attack inducing horror story. It limits your vision, your senses intensified and on red alert. The eerie quiet closes in around you, impacts your psyche and delusions start to take precedence in your mind. They take a seat and makes itself comfy, you aren’t going to make it to the end without being unscathed. Prepare to feel as broken as the characters by the closing of the last page.
It’s Christmas Eve in New Hampshire. A terrifying, blizzard creating snow is starting to fall. Travellers are unaware of the disastrous effects this will cause to their travel plans. We are also introduced to the snow plough driver and we see first-hand just how the snow can play tricks with your vision and your mind. Was that a deer in the road or just a figure conjured up by an overactive imagination? He took a snap decision. He came to a stop and got stuck in the snow, right up to the plough blade. The cold is going to seep into the driver’s pores, rip them open and reveal a fear most palpable. It is this scene building that makes Snowball such a winner.
The cold is seeping into his bones, but he doesn’t fail to notice the figure in the snow. A Snowman. A completely benign figure that represents no threat to anyone, right? Well, when did you last see a snowman with rows of razor-sharp teeth. The malice is evident, like an omen that will end your days here on earth. The scene had my stomach churning, my heart thumping at a staccato beat and my vision blurry with the nightmarish images that were flashing before my eyes.
The book title is perfect. It’s poetic. It made the synapses in my brain fire quicker; my imagination was a fertile breeding ground for imagining what would happen next. As a snowball it starts small and as events take multiple turns it gathers speed, it gets bigger until it takes things out. It’s unstoppable, and it will turn on you if you try. This is an immediate author I will be reading more of. He knows how to cut to the quick and his words inject icy cold fluid into every nerve ending.
Snowball is dark, claustrophobic and full of soul breaking suspense. This book blew my mind to fragments that I struggled to gather afterwards. An altogether triumphant book of original horror.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gregory Bastianelli is the author of the novels, “Loonies” and “Jokers Club.” His stories have appeared in the magazines Black Ink Horror, Sinister Tales and Beyond Centauri; the anthologies “Night Terrors II”, “Cover of Darkness” and “Encounters”; and the online magazines “Absent Willow Review” and “Down in the Cellar”. Gregory’s novella “The Lair of the Mole People” appeared in the pulp anthology “Men & Women of Mystery Vol. II”.
He graduated from the University of New Hampshire where he studied writing under instructors Mark Smith, Thomas Williams and Theodore Weesner. Gregory worked for nearly two decades at a small daily newspaper, where the highlights of his career were interviewing shock rocker Alice Cooper and B-Movie icon Bruce Campbell.
He became enchanted with the stories of Ray Bradbury as a young child, and his love of horror grew with the likes of Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell.
Gregory lives in Dover, NH, in a Colonial home built in the 1700s. He enjoys kayaking, hiking and bicycling in the summer and snowshoeing and racquetball in the winter. Along with spending time with family, he enjoys traveling … especially to Italy, where he has visited his ancestral home and relatives residing there, also hiking the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast and to the top of Mount Vesuvius.
Gregory Bastianelli is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the New England Horror Writers.