Friday, July 29, 2016

THE WINTER BOX by Tim Waggoner

A winter storm that has trapped everyone in their homes for the night. An unhappily married couple struggling to keep up appearances to each other even though they both know it's been a futile effort for years. Biting cold that seems to get worse by the minute. And an unassuming box that might hold more than just relationship memorabilia.

The stage is well set as the book begins; the atmosphere quickly and effectively developed. I loved the idea of telling what is essentially a simple story of a couple trying to save their marriage, and wrapping it in the trappings of a creepy horror tale. And I think it fits well in the DarkFuse line-up, with much of the book reminiscent of some of Greg F. Gifune's atmospheric work. But, the plot development here just didn't feel fully-conceived. I didn't get the sense that there was anything special about this anniversary night in particular that makes the time right for these events to happen, and I also didn't really understand what the importance of the winter box was as a plot point, although I understood it's thematic significance. All of the good ideas and concepts are there but it seemed like the second half of the book needed to be revisited to make it tighter, stronger, and more fully realized. And with that, this book's solid ending would have even more of an emotional pay-off. There's some good stuff in this one, enough for me to enjoy it, but it didn't feel fully accomplished.


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