A Cold Seasonby Alison Littlewood
After the battlefront death of her husband, a soldier, in/i>
A dark and unsettling tale from a bold voice in horror writing, British writer Alison Littlewood's first novel was decreed "hugely enjoyable--perfect reading for a dark winter's night," by the influential Richard & Judy Book Club. "A scary read that will chill you to the bone," said Library Journal.
After the battlefront death of her husband, a soldier, in the sands of the Middle East, a distraught Cass decides to move to the bucolic village of Darnshaw--a place she once knew and loved--with her teenaged son, with the hope that a change in scenery will be just the thing to help her family heal. But the locals aren't as friendly as she had hoped and the Internet connection isn't as reliable as her work requires. Ben begins to display an uncharacteristic hostility. A blizzard strikes Darnshaw, marooning it in a sea of snow, and Cass begins to despair. She finds a sympathetic ear in the person of her son's substitute teacher. But his attentions can't put to rest her growing anxiety about her son and her business. And soon, she finds herself pitted against dark forces she can barely comprehend. The cold season has begun.
"[Alison Littlewood's A Cold Season] was a career defining masterpiece that exuded chills and almost.Â.Â. hurt, in a frightening way. Hands down one of the year's greatest novels, it was the perfect debut and the ideal introduction to a welcoming worldwide audience... . [She] may have had the most impact on the genre this year."Matt Molgaard, Horror Novel Reviews
"What makes this novel such an astounding success, is it's as heart breaking as it is frightening, and it's guaranteed to leave an unrelenting knot in the belly.... gripping piece of fiction that draws the emotions of the genre fan taut, and completely tears at the fibers of those who also happen to be parents. . . When it comes to debut novels, Littlewood offers forth a masterpiece that stakes immediately claim as one of 2013's finest."Horror Novel Reviews
"This is a very spooky story.Â.Â. Disturbing."Daily Express
"The novel builds a real sense of foreboding and dread, which creates a chilling reading experience for fans of demonic and religious horror."Library Journal
"Littlewood's fiction is set in a world where the possible and the improbable rub shoulders, and strange stuff creeps through the gaps in out of the way places. She is the real deal, a writer with a unique vision."TTA Press
"A thick layer of snow hides the sins of a creepy rural village in Alison Littlewood's chilly debut novel . . .an itchy tension-cranker of parental paranoia."SFX
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.42(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.03(d)
Read an Excerpt
She swallowed her panic, trying not to think of worst-case scenarios: if Ben had gone outside she might never find him. She brushed away the image of the millpond that came into her mind, inky-black water beneath an acid-green coating.
Cass jumped down the last few steps and her ankle gave, but she recovered and kept going. She went to the entrance and pressed up against the glass. Light spilled onto the snow outside, turning footprints into deep black arcs. Cass grabbed the handle and had started to turn it when the light behind her went out.
She stopped. Think.
She waved a hand, triggering the lights. The footprints reappeared. She recognized Ben’s, but her own prints were there too, facing in both directions, crisscrossing. Ben’s could have been from this morning, earlier today, even yesterday. But the lights—the lights at her back had already been on when she came down the stairs.
The lights went out again. She turned. The ground-floor hall was dark now, but it felt present somehow. Had the lights really been on when she came down? She wasn’t sure, but she thought they probably had been. It felt as though they had.
She mouthed his name as she headed away from the front door. The hall lights came on with a low buzz, but just before they did, she saw a pale moonlit glow coming through one of the doorways: the empty apartment. Apartment 6. That must be where Ben had gone.
Cass took a deep breath and padded softly along the hall to the apartment that lay beneath her own. The door was open, and when she looked in she saw Ben at once. He was sitting motionless on the floor, muttering something over and over. It made her think of an elderly person trying to remember something long forgotten.
Ben didn’t turn around as she stepped toward him. The light was dim, the air granular, and Cass’s ears rang. She couldn’t make out what he was saying.
“Ben,” she said, but her voice cracked. She cleared her throat, took a step closer. And then she froze.
Meet the Author
Alison Littlewood's debut novel, A Cold Season, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, where it was described as "perfect reading for a dark winter's night." Her second novel, Path of Needles, is a dark blend of crime and fairy tales. Littlewood's short stories have been picked for The Best Horror of the Year and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror anthologies, as well as The Best British Fantasy 2013 and The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 10. Other publication credits include the anthologies Terror Tales of the Cotswolds, Where Are We Going? and Never Again. She now lives and writes near Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The placation of the son who develops some oh, psychotic behavior, was so frustrating and throw-the-book across the room dumb that the tale seriously lacked for me. It was a good story but the mother/son relationship spoiled it for me.