The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley

Read the Dead of Winter yesterday – for Halloween – which seemed appropriate.  I do read quite a lot of YA novels but not normally ones aimed at this age range (I would say 10 – 14?) but, having said this it was a good read!

To quote from Amazon:

“Michael Vyner recalls a terrible story, one that happened to him. One that would be unbelievable if it weren’t true! Michael’s parents are dead and he imagines that he will stay with the kindly lawyer, executor of his parents’ will …Until he is invited to spend Christmas with his guardian in a large and desolate country house. His arrival on the first night suggests something is not quite right when he sees a woman out in the frozen mists, standing alone in the marshes. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself as he is kept from his guardian and finds himself spending the Christmas holiday wandering the silent corridors of the house seeking distraction. But lonely doesn’t mean alone, as Michael soon realises that the house and its grounds harbour many secrets, dead and alive, and Michael is set the task of unravelling some of the darkest secrets of all. A nail-biting story of hauntings and terror by the master of the genre, Chris Priestley.”

I thought this was a great read.  It’s only short and the pages just flew by.  It’s set in the Victorian era in a country mansion – surrounded by a moat and quite isolated, with bleak weather and a desperate sense of foreboding.

The story is narrated by the older grown up Michael and I particularly liked his voice.

There is quite a lot going on in this story and it feels as though Michael never gets a moment to himself with some quite dramatic moments (personally I think I might have asked for a change in bedroom!)!  The tension builds really well and you come to the overwhelming sensation that something dreadful will happen to Michael unless he can discover the secrets of the house.

To be honest I don’t want to say too much more.  I think this was a great short story with plenty going on and it felt so ‘right’ reading it now when the clocks have gone back and the dark winter nights have set in!  I think you need to go into this with the right expectations – given the age range this book is aimed at – I never expected this to be totally chilling – it felt more like an indulgence really and one that I would definitely recommend!

Good writing, quick read, creepy moments, ghosts and a gothic Victorian mansion!

Rating B

The Dead of Winter

The Dead of Winter

4 Responses to “The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley”

  1. Carl V.

    The clocks don’t go back until Sunday….hmmm…..

    I’ve only read Priestley’s “Tales of…” series, but I can tell you that all three are phenomenal, so I imagine his other books are really good as well. I wish he would keep cranking out the Tales series, because they are so much like good old classic horror that they give me a thrill every time.

    I will definitely need to check out his other work.

    • lynnsbooks

      Are you having me on about the clocks – I put mine back on the 30th!!! Did I get it wrong LOL!
      I’ve heard good things about the Tales – in fact I read one of your reviews! I probably wouldn’t normally pick up because of the intended age but I thought this was really good. Understand his newest book is Mr Creecher (or something like that?)
      What I really liked as well was reading the bits in the back of the book about the author where he listed some of his favourite horror stories – he put I am Legend – so that sold it for me!
      Lynn 😀

  2. "Auntie" sezzzzzz...

    Ooooooooooooooooooooo… Thought I was done with ghosts, for a while (Just finished “Frost” by Marianna Baer) But I must mark this down, for a future time. It sounds delicious!

    Gentle hugs,
    “November comes
    And November goes,
    With the last red berries
    And the first white snows.

    With night coming early,
    And dawn coming late,
    And ice in the bucket
    And frost by the gate.

    The fires burn
    And the kettles sing,
    And earth sinks to rest
    Until next spring.”

    – Elizabeth Coatsworth

    • lynnsbooks

      Lovely poem, thanks, – the earth will definitely be ‘sinking to rest’ round here soon – that is if the snow is anything like it was last year!
      BTW if you like ghost stories – have you read The Woman in Black – just noticed it’s being released on film next year – can’t wait – the book was REALLY spooky!!!! (And I really do mean that)
      Lynn 😀

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