Review of Dead of Winter by Darcy Coates @darcyauthor @PPPress

Feeling hot? Want to dive into a cabin in the mountains surrounded by snow and cold winds? Yeah? Well, probably not this one. Hang on to your hat. We’ve got someone killing stranded travelers one-by-one. ⛄🌨

Blurb: Christa has always been anxious but, at this moment, life seems oh so hopeful with her hand in Kiernan’s as the tour bus climbs a narrow road up the side of the Rockies. Blue skies turn bitterly cold mid-afternoon as a blizzard pushes the group of 8 strangers out of their bus and to take shelter in an abandoned hunting cabin.

Deep in the night, their tour guide goes missing…only to be discovered the following morning, his severed head impaled on a large pine tree outside the cabin. Eight drops to seven and it becomes clear that someone in the group is killing for sport.

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So, yes, it’s me. The one who gets a freakish glee over mysteries in the style of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. You probably know the premise: a group of people are invited to an isolated location and then they start getting knocked off until . . . .

In Darcy Coates’ version, Dead of Winter (please note the double meaning of the title 😉 ), travelers are expecting to stay at an inn in the Rocky Mountains when they are stopped by a fallen pine in the roadway and then a blizzard that moves in swiftly and ferociously. They find refuge in a tiny cabin that barely houses them. And then one-by-one, these stranded travelers begin to die gruesomely. The remaining travelers eye each other with suspicion. Who is the killer in their midst?

The main character is Christa, a young woman who was involved in a tragedy a couple of years earlier and is slowly beginning to regain her footing in the world, much of it thanks to boyfriend Kiernan. It’s through her eyes and thoughts that the reader ventures into this mystery, who to suspect, who might be innocent, but also her lack of steadfastness in adhering to her own intuition.

For the most part this is a delicious romp of a horror (does that make me sound like I am drooling blood? hmm). When Darcy Coates is writing action and building tension, she does it very, very well. Honestly I would have said that this was a much shorter novel because I went through it so fast–a page-turner, folks. While I did guess positively who the slayer was at 65% and had guessed less solidly earlier on, Coates tossed in a nice little twist in the final scenes that made me doubt myself (oh, no!).

A gruesome little caper of survival.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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