by Gregory Bastianelli


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"Readers will be riveted by this genuinely scary holiday phantasmagoria."– Publishers Weekly

A group of motorists become stranded on a lonely stretch of highway during a Christmas Eve blizzard and fight for survival against an unnatural force in the storm. The gathered survivors realize a tenuous connection among them means it may not be a coincidence that they all ended up on this highway. An attempt to seek help leads a few of the travelers to a house in the woods where a twisted toymaker with a mystical snow globe is hell bent on playing deadly games with a group of people just trying to get home for the holidays.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781787583467
Publisher: Flame Tree Publishing
Publication date: 01/30/2020
Series: Fiction Without Frontiers Series
Edition description: New
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Gregory Bastianelli is the author of the novels  Loonies and Jokers Club . His stories have appeared in the magazines Black Ink Horror, Sinister Tales and Beyond Centauri; the anthologies Night Terrors II , Cover of Darkness  and Encounters ; and the online magazines Absent Willow Review  and Down in the Cellar .  His novella The Lair of the Mole People appeared in the pulp anthology Men & Women of Mystery Vol. II .

He graduated from the University of New Hampshire where he studied writing under instructors Mark Smith, Thomas Williams and Theodore Weesner. He worked for nearly two decades at a small daily newspaper where the highlights of his career were interviewing shock rocker Alice Cooper and B-movie icon Bruce Campbell. 

He became enchanted with the stories of Ray Bradbury as a young child, and his love of horror grew with the likes of Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell.

He lives in Dover, NH, in a Colonial home built in the 1700s. He enjoys kayaking, hiking and bicycling in the summer and snowshoeing and racquetball in the winter. Along with spending time with family, he enjoys traveling, especially to Italy where he has visited his ancestral home and relatives residing there and hiked the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast and to the top of Mt. Vesuvius.

Customer Reviews

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Snowball 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
lhill82125 6 days ago
What starts out as a typical road trip on Christmas Eve turned out to be anything but? Biggest snow storm ever and spookiest that goes bump in the night, how creepy can it get?? You will have to read it to find out but you won’t be disappointed! Thanks Gregory for sure a great book!
Secre 7 days ago
Snowball is an intriguing mix of horror and thriller that works exceptionally well in some ways but loses its way slightly in others. The various elements are knitted together well and there is a definite creepy edge all the way through the novel, with the real horror edges kicking in later on. A group of travellers stuck in a snow storm doesn't sound like a plot premise that is going to hook you, but despite the characters going nowhere for vast chunks of the novel, Bastianelli draws you in well. He mixes the present with the past as each tell stories of their own past, or in the case of some refuse to tell but you as the reader get special access. This is definitely a slow burner of a book for the vast majority of the tale. This ragtag group of individuals all just trying to sit out the cold, with the bulk of them huddled in an RV for warmth and shelter. It's both realistic and supernatural at the same time and the layers within it keep you guessing throughout. Bastianelli cleverly leaves you guessing as to what the connection might be between this seemingly very different cast of characters and whilst I had several ideas as I went through, none of them proved completely correct. The forays into each characters past is also a clever device to allow you some insight into each character as there would otherwise potentially be limited chances for character development. It means that the characters are actually rich in history and emotional depth, the tenuous relationships building between very different people interesting and realistic as they all try to survive the storm. The writing here is wonderful as well; there is a real sense of poetic description throughout and Bastianelli certainly knows how to turn a phrase. It is almost as if you are there along with the characters rather than merely sitting on the sidelines. The various elements of the tale all have a character of their own, even including the weather itself. There is a sense of deep menace throughout the novel which is carefully crafted and built by an excellent story teller. Where I felt this novel fell down slightly was in the latter parts of the novel where Bastianelli seems to abandon his careful building up of an unmistakable tension in favour of going full throttle with blood, gore and horror. From such a careful and subtle build up, this seemed huge overkill to me and distinctly out of place. The use of some of the foretelling from the individual tales told by the stuck group was clever, but it didn't quite counter the blunt force trauma that Bastianelli hits you around the face with. It's a shame because it undoes much of the intricate build up by just being so in your face. So, certainly a recommended read. It's just a pity that the ending dissolved into a frenzy of blood and violence as I think it would have been far more powerful if some of the tension and subtlety had been kept instead.
BillieW 18 days ago
A group of motorists become stranded on a lonely stretch of highway during a Christmas Eve blizzard and fight for survival against an unnatural force in the storm. The gathered survivors realize a tenuous connection among them means it may not be a coincidence that they all ended up on this highway. An attempt to seek help leads a few of the travelers to a house in the woods where a twisted toymaker with a mystical snow globe is hell bent on playing deadly games with a group of people just trying to get home for the holidays. This is a brilliant read. Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start. Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believeable. Great suspense and action with wonderful world building that adds so much to the story. Can't wait to read what the author brings us next! Recommend reading. Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Flame Tree Press, for the opportunity to read an ARC. I am voluntarily giving an honest review
Anonymous 23 days ago
I wish to thank NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for this gripping tale of supernatural and horror. Keep in mind that this a well-written fantasy that is divorced from anything that could occur in reality, I hope, so be prepared to suspend disbelief. This is a great scary winter tale while watching the snowbanks outside. The situation evokes my greatest winter fear. I live in the Atlantic Provinces in Canada where we can get some monstrous snowstorms. I recall a couple of past storms where the snowdrifts reached the tops of both doors and I was trapped inside for several days. The thoughts of being stranded in a vehicle keeps me off the highway in winter months. The author writes an atmospheric story with images of a raging snowstorm with accompanying winds is vividly described and believable. A snowplow operator becomes stuck in the drifting snow. A trailer truck jackknifes across the highway behind him, and a row of vehicles become stuck behind with no way past. It is Christmas Eve and the people are anxious to get home to family and friends. When they realize that rescue is not coming anytime soon, their concern is finding shelter from the cold. Hypothermia is a worry. The snowplow driver has vanished. As if the freezing cold and the howling blizzard are not enough, there are killer snowmen, an ugly, frightening Krampus, a roar perceived to be that of a banshee, an iceman carrying a bloody ice pick, visions of dead people from the characters’ past, and a ghost engaged in a diabolical game with humans as pawns. All are lurking about in the darkness, bringing fright, danger, and death. This is a well-written plot. The author develops a story that moves from quiet desperation to spine-tingling terror, and on to frenzied action and mayhem. The personalities of the stranded group of strangers make them believable. Soon the group starts to suspect that they all have a hidden connection hidden in their past. They have a hunch that they are not trapped here by coincidence but have been brought here by some fiendish plan. They are not even sure where they are anymore, as some highway landmarks are missing. Some of the characters from the vehicles show outstanding resourcefulness and heroism, bordering on foolhardiness, others exhibit cowardice, selfishness, and treachery. Some have found warmth and shelter in an RV, while others chose to remain in their own vehicles. Both choices may have terrible outcomes. On seeing a distant light from a house, two brave men decide to track through snowbanks up to their hips and waists hoping to call for rescue. Not a good idea!! Who, if any, will survive this very bad Christmas? Recommended for readers who enjoy supernatural and horror, with added elements of over the top fantasy, and can settle down for a good scary winters’ tale.
SchizanthusNerd 25 days ago
“What was your worst winter memory?” This Christmas Eve, during one of the worst snowstorms in New Hampshire’s history, a group of motorists are faced with the nightmares of winters past. Stranded on the highway with the snow building up around their vehicles, these strangers will learn there’s something that connects them. The past is coming back to bite them, possibly literally. “Everything got screwed up at Christmastime.” Featuring (amongst other creepies) snowmen, Krampus, a snowglobe and a toy maker who wants to play a game, our unwitting players have the odds stacked against them. “Things aren’t always what they seem to be.” I had fun reading this book. I expected more bloodshed and less background information about all of the characters although, to be fair, the relevance of the details of their worst winter memories became apparent as the story unfolded. The reasoning behind why this was happening to this specific group of people seemed a bit flimsy to me but the images of those snowmen helped distract me from most of my lingering questions. “Will Santa still come if we’re not home in time?” Content warnings are included in my Goodreads review. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for the opportunity to read this book.