My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book started slow, but not in a drag to read sort of way, more an easing into the world author Alison Littlewood was creating for us. And what a world. A northern English village cut off from society during a terrible snow storm. With no communication to the outside world and only strangers surrounding protagonist Cass, we already felt boxed in.
Then came the changes. Her son becoming withdrawn and abusive to her after making friends with a local boy. A domineering fellow school mum, a love interest that may not be what he seems. Not to mention the rats and visions.
I did wonder if this would unfold to be an English Rosemary's Baby or more precisely Frank De Felitta's haunting novel, Audrey Rose, thankfully it was neither. It had more in common with The Wicker Man (and A Cold Season movie would adhere to that tradition better than the abysmal Wicker Tree film).
Yet it was none of these things. Alison Littlewood has created something unique in her début novel. She's created a thriller that ramps up with each chapter while still threading a frosty supernatural mystery throughout. It's something a lot of more experienced writers fail to pull off.
The climax is a wonderful ride that scares, tears the heartstrings and makes you sleep with the lights on after reading.
A new mythology and a new voice to keep an eye on in the horror genre. I can't wait to see what she writes next. A Cold Season is a chiller in every respect and one of my favourite novels this year.
Buy 'A Cold Season'
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