Psychological Horror

A Winter Haunting
by Dan Simmons

I own quite a few Dan Simmons' novels. For years, I intended to read Carrion Comfort (considered to be a vampire classic). When The Terror was publish, I purchased it planning to enjoy a good read. I actually started reading The Terror, but the heavy hardcover was a deterrent. Thus, A Winter Haunting is the first Dan Simmons novel that I have read.

Picking up A Winter Haunting at a bookstore, I did not realize that it is a sequel to Summer of Night; there was no indication in the synopsis. I read the entire book without the slightest clue that there was a prequel. I am not sure whether I will read a Summer of Night now or ever, but I will certainty read more Simmons' novels.

A Winter Haunting is a cleverly written suspenseful psychological horror. Dale Stewart, an English college professor has hit a snag in his life when he commences an affair with a graduate student, Clare Two Heart. On sabbatical, Dale travels to his childhood hometown of Elm Haven to seek solace. He rents the home of a decease childhood friend Duane McBride, who is narrating the white-knuckle winter events.

Although the story is slow paced, and I would rather there have been less flashback of Dale's romance with Clare, the adage, patience is a virtue is quite true for A Winter Haunting. Simmons uses Henry James' short story The Jolly Corner to establish a certainty of reality within his own story then breaks it all down. Are there really ghosts? The evocative prose supplies the mind's eye with classic horror scenes, simply, CGI free. Con: The esoteric, cryptic messages was annoying but engaging at times. 

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