One has to admire the effort of freshman novelist Susie Moloney (Who went on to write the much better "A Dry Spell") for trying to create a terrifying situation, and involve many characters. Unfortunately, so much time is spent on the development of the characters and their "dark secrets" than to explain exactly what kind of horror the citizens of this little town are facing.
Suffice to say, the constant snowfall is unnerving and provides quite a "chilling" (no pun intended) atmosphere for this brooding tale.
The main characters are Marilyn, a woman recently divorced, who returns to Bastion Falls to start life over again. And that's basically all we know about her background. The other focal character is Shandy, a fifteen year old teenager, cursed/gifted with the ability to read minds and predict the future. She is romantically involved with the rather self-serving David, and their romantic plight falls under the weight of not only the snow but Ms. Moloney's incomplete development.
The character of Candace Bergen (that's right, she shares the same name as Murphy Brown, and it was intentional) is so overdramatic that she comes across rather cartoonish, and by the end we don't know what happened to her. Also, there's mention of a body behind Northern Lights, and we never find out who it is, unless it's the carefully concealed identity of the town mayor?
I liked Hickory, the phys-ed teacher, only because he seemed the most real of the characters, and he wasn't overused.
The climax is rather disappointing, considering what you've been waiting for. But alas, you get no real info on what happened at Fort Bastion and what these dreaded black things are, what they really want, or where they go.
Living in an area where schools are cancelled after the first snowflake, it was amusing to see how the school principal has to call a meeting of the school board at 3:30 p.m. to discuss what to do with all the kinds who got snowbound. Should have sent them home earlier, maybe?
Also, the scenes involving Tully and Emma are grotesquely overplayed, and if Moloney expected sympathy for Emma, she doesn't get it from me.
All in all, it has a spooky feel and would make an interesting book to read during a snowstorm.
AMAZON.COM READER'S REVIEW
Fast paced and on the edge.
Started out really well I thought, then went down hill. I didn't dislike it. Guess it was just okay.