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Snowbound by Blake Crouch
Cover Artist: Photo: Julien Roumagnac
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312425739
Date: 22 June 2010 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Will Innis is devastated when his beautiful wife Rachael is abducted by a vicious serial killer, Javier Estrada, who works for the Alphas--a Mexican cartel of human traffickers. Suspected of murdering Rachael, Will takes his eleven-year-old daughter Devlin and flees Ajo, Arizona. They are on the lam for five years, hiding out in the Southwestern states, until they meet FBI agent Kalyn Sharp who believes Will is innocent. Together, they abduct Javier and force him to uncover a trail of human trafficking that leads them from the Arizona deserts to the Alaskan wilderness. Will's undying love for his wife takes him to the horrors of Wolverine Hills and a secret lodge containing unspeakable nightmares.

The reader is bound to be terrified by Blake Crouch's latest claustrophobic horror thriller, Snowbound. It chronicles one man's determination to find the woman he loves. (I wish someone loved me enough to trudge through a frozen Hell in order to rescue me.) Not for the squeamish, Snowbound has gory, heart-wrenching violence that can be quite disturbing. Action-packed from beginning to end, this one is guaranteed to make you lose sleep. Snowbound explores the depths of depravity to which a human will sink to satisfy their lusts. However, it also gives us hope that there are those whose love knows no bounds.

Needless to say, Will Innis is a loving, family-oriented man; extremely resourceful, he never quits. At one time, he was a successful lawyer who defended criminals; he now hunts the criminals involved in the abduction of his wife and countless other beautiful women. His daughter Devlin (now sixteen) is also energetic, intelligent, and brave, despite her never-ending battle with cystic fibrosis.

They encounter the lovely, tough-as-nails FBI agent Kalyn Sharp who is searching for her missing sister, Lucy Dahl, who was also abducted by the evil, vengeful Javier. Kalyn allows herself to be used as human bait; she spends hours in the padded confines of a sixteen-wheeler, not knowing its final destination or whether or not Will and Devlin are successfully tracking her.

The setting for Snowbound is horrifying--a frozen wilderness which is a two-hour floatplane ride from Fairbanks, Alaska. A blizzard has engulfed a lodge sitting on the edge of a lake. Will and his cohorts must battle deep snow and frostbite; hungry, vicious wolves trained to kill; and hired assassins with no moral values. Inside the snowbound lodge are unspeakable evils - a nightmare in every room. It reminds me of the Nazi concentration camps where Jews were beaten, starved and tortured.

Blake Crouch's Snowbound is highly recommended reading for fans of horror and thriller novels. It reminded me very much of his best-selling Abandon, which was one of my favorite horror novels of 2009. In Abandon, greedy men search for stolen gold. In Snowbound, a lonely man searches for stolen love. In both novels, there is the claustrophobic atmosphere of people trapped by snow and freezing temperatures. The most terrifying scenes in Abandon are the ones involving townspeople who are trapped in a dark cave without food and water. In Snowbound, people are trapped inside a lodge surrounded by evilness. Thankfully, they have food and water; however, when the lights go out, the evilness comes in.

If you enjoy horrifying mysteries that have a cold, wintry setting, then I recommend you also read James Thompson's Snow Angels and Ronald Damian Malfi's Snow. In Snow Angels, a vicious serial killer is running loose in Northern Finland where it is always night. In Snow, bizarre creatures have possessed the citizens of Woodson, Iowa a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers. As an extra bonus, both novels take place during the Christmas holidays.

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