Blue Rider Press: 2/20/2014
Hardcover, 304 pages
In the small town of Wyalusing in eastern Pennsylvania, a woman is found brutally murdered one winter night. Next to the body is Danny Bedford, a misunderstood man who suffered a tragic brain injury that left him with limited mental capabilities. Despite his simple life, his intimidating size has caused his neighbors to ostracize him out of fear of what he may do. So when the local bully-turned-deputy discovers Danny with the body, it’s obvious that Danny’s physical strength has finally become deadly. But in the long, freezing night that follows, the murder is only the first in a series of crimes that viciously upset the town order—an unstoppable chain of violence that appears to make Danny’s guilt undeniable.
My Thoughts:With the threat of an approaching blizzard, the local sheriff and a state trooper work through the predawn hours to restore some semblance of order to Wyalusing. As they investigate one unspeakable incident after another, they discover an intricate web of lies revealing that not everything is quite what it seems....Samuel W. Gailey’s Deep Winter is a richly atmospheric and ingeniously plotted debut, surprising to the final page. It’s impossible to escape this bone-chilling story of deception, where the truth is uncertain and something sinister lurks just below the surface. . . .
Deep Winter by Samuel W. Gailey is highly recommended debut novel of suspense for those with a taste for noir set in a frozen rural landscape.
It is the dead of winter and Danny Bedford, a mentally challenged man, is framed by the real killer as the murderer of Mindy Knolls, one of the few people in the small town of Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, who is his friend. As the body count rises, this dark novel is told from the point of view of several different characters.
Is Deep Winter by Samuel W. Gailey good?
Oh, yes - it is very good and had me racing to the end to see what could possibly happen next. Here is the dilemma: it is unrelentingly violent, feels hopeless, and everyone - save a few timid souls- is a nasty piece of business who enjoy bullying a mentally challenged man. There seems to be debauchery and drug use and excessive drinking and guns and murders happening left and right. I read it at a break-neck pace right to the end but I hated almost all the characters and wondered why on earth anyone would want to live someplace where everyone is a jerk with greasy unwashed hair. I felt emotionally drained after I was done reading.
So, Deep Winter held me by the throat and had me frantically reading to the end but I was angry at almost all the characters (and the author, truth be told, until the very end) but I had to keep reading to find out what happened because it couldn't get any worse and then when it did I had to keep reading just to see if....
I have to guess that my very emotional reaction to Deep Winter was exactly what author Gailey planned. Well played. I'll be looking forward to Gailey's next novel.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Penguin Books via Edelweiss for review purposes.