No, it's not a real snow day, what with the temperatures in the 90's today, but it's a really great, short book you should read. Because it will pull you in and you can beat the heat next to a fan reading about snow.
Snow Day - Dan Maurer
It happens each winter, and has for over 35 years. Every time the snow starts to fall late in the evening before a school day, the dreams begin again for Billy Stone. They are always the same – there’s a dark tunnel, and there’s blood, lots of blood, and someone is screaming.
In this chilling childhood tale, Billy, recounts the events of one unforgettable day in 1975. On that day, he and his friends played carefree in the snow, until an adventure gone awry left him far from home, staring death in the face, and running from a killer bent on keeping a horrible secret.
Set in a time before Amber Alerts, when horror stories were told around camp fires instead of on the nightly news, Snow Day is a blend of nostalgia and nightmare that makes us question if the good old days were really as good as we remember.
From a new voice in dark fiction comes a thriller about an idyllic childhood turned horrifying; a cautionary tale about how losing sight of the difference between feeling safe and being safe can lead to deadly consequences.
This is a novella, so it's roughly 100 pages which guarantees this is a very fast read, even for those of you who aren't fast readers per say. Basically it's the story of Billy, suffering the consequences of a memorable snow day from his childhood. Admittedly, when I started reading it, I was like, "Psh- I hate snow and I hate snow days. This better not suck." And then I quickly realized it would not suck when the author is infusing it with humor. Yes, humor in a thriller. But he's recalling a time where parenting was far different than it is now. Back in the 70's, heck even when I was old enough to be out on my own in the neighborhood in the 80's and 90's, parents were carefree. You could ride your bike anywhere, you could get a group of friends together and you'd migrate from one house to the next and were gone all day. I mean think about it- did your parents ever really knew where you were all of the time?
Of course not.
Because if you went off the block or across the street, your mother would kick your ass. At least mine would have, because we had rules. So for that fact alone, I so appreciated a book that really reminded me of what childhood is really like.
The snow day starts like any other, and focuses primarily between Billy and the neighborhood weirdo kid nobody likes but everyone feels sorry for because his home life is rough in every sense, Tommy. Tommy just wants to play and hang out with the other kids and no matter how mean they are to him, he just keeps trying to tag along. We all had one of those in our group.
But on this day Billy stumbles across a horrific and terrifying scene he doesn't quite understand because he's so young. He's frantically trying to get home after going off the block and getting himself in a world of trouble, only to walk right into another world of trouble. From there it's a frenzied journey home all the while trying to think of a way to explain the day's events to his mother so he doesn't get in trouble.
The bottom line is that this is a story of childhood, youth, naivety, child predators, and street justice. All in one day. This story will suck you in, keep you here, and leave you with a gut punch ending. But you'll love it the entire time.
The ironic thing was that I was reading this book while in my new front porch, watching my kids at the park which is right across the street. Olivia, at age almost 8, is begging for "independence" and I'll be honest- I'm paranoid. I don't want to helicopter mom her but I also don't want anything to happen to her on my watch. So I finish the book, I'm sitting there reeling at the ending, the tragedy of something so horrific happening to a child, knowing full well this happens every day somewhere, when all of a sudden?
My kids are not at the park. Not anywhere. I, obviously, fly out of my chair, out the door and start scanning the streets/yards all the while screaming their names.
Matt was home, so I fly down into the basement to get his help when there they were. The whole time. They had come in through the back door without a sound to see what dad was doing in his workshop.
And that's when I realized no matter how diligent you think you are, it's not enough. No matter the precautions you take to protect your kids, if a bad guy wants them, he'll find a way. And that alone is terrifying. But you can't live in fear. You just hope you taught your kids enough to avoid bad situations and that they can run like hell if need be.
I highly recommend this book. It was so good, so well written, so gripping that you sit there feeling like you're recalling the day's events with Billy as if you were there. It's such a compelling book and I was very impressed.
The other bonus is that I just realized this book is only $1.99 at Amazon. Clearly, if you don't pick this up now, you're a moron. And I say that with love of course.