Priestley, C. (2012). The dead of winter. NY: Bloomsbury.
YA / Horror / Paranormal
QuickNEasy, 224 pgs, ages 12-17
I gave this 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, though a 3.5 would be better.
AWESOME cover, huh? Doesn't tie-in with anything in the book (other than the snow), but it's AWESOME!
This is a creepy story with enough suspense and mystery that I pretty much read it straight through. It's not particularly original, but I didn't mind. Lemony Snicket fans will like the narration, I think.
Given the setting (Victorian England), style, and speech used, it seemed very Woman In Black-ish to me. But I liked Woman In Black well enough, so that wasn't a bummer. We never learn our main character's age while the events were happening to him, and the author never fully explains the evil of the house where our main character, Michael, is spending Christmas, but those aren't deal killers.
The descriptions paint a cold, desolate picture of the house alone in the countryside and its secrets. The characters are well-done enough that the reader has a clear opinion about each of them, though there's not enough time to get to know anyone too well.
Great ending for this story -- again, very Woman In Black-ish, but really quite perfect for the story.
Clean-O-Meter rating is a perfect 10. There is no vulgar language, sexual references or activities, or violence (though there one unnatural death). The scary factor isn't enough that young readers will have nightmares.