Snow Burn is a suspense novel, and suspense the novel does deliver! My only complaint is I wish the suspense started sooner. But, as soon as the boys found themselves in one sticky situation after another, I wasn’t able to click the next button on my Nook fast enough. There were several points in the storyline where I thought, “Okay! This is it! All heck is about to break loose!” But then the situation would diffuse only to build back up again. It was like a roller coaster (that was totally a cliché simile, but it’s true)!
Released: September 2010
Publisher: Self-published on Smashwords
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Synopsis:Seventeen-year old Tommy Connell knows he’s in trouble when he goes winter camping with his friend Vince Nguyen without telling his folks. But when they’re caught in a sudden blizzard, and the man they rescue from freezing to death turns out to be an escaped convict, Tommy’s troubles are only beginning. Now Tommy and Vince must not only survive the blizzard, but also find a way to keep Quinn – who’ll stop at nothing to stay out of prison – from killing them.
This novel instilled in me a sense of nostalgia, especially at the beginning when Tommy, the narrator and member of a high school drumline, is talking about the Friday night football game. Everything in this scene was vividly described (as all scenes were throughout the book), and being apart of marching band (I was in color guard), I understood everything the narrator was talking about. Ah, the good ol’ days.
The dialogue in Snow Burn brought me back to high school too, but this was a little more hit and miss for me. I thought the dialogue between the teenage boys was realistic, so I imagine adolescent girls will exercise the occasional eye roll, and under their breaths they will sigh and mutter, “Boys…”.
The characterization was good. I’m still going back and forth in my mind about my feelings toward Tommy. Part of me thinks he’s too bland; he’s a couch potato, he plays it safe, he’s a geek. But the other part of me realizes the ending wouldn’t have made the same impact if he were any other way. Vince, Tommy’s friend, and Quinn, the convict, evoked greater emotion out of me though. Vince’s story is much more interesting; he’s a first generation Cambodian-American, he’s a star football player with a “handicap”. And even though Vince is such a likable guy, there were times when I wanted to punch him as badly as the narrator did. As for Quinn…well, he made me cringe; he’s no Professor Umbridge, but he is up there with the Motor City Hammer and Charlie Pinkeye (who if you remember, I wanted to tie to trees and feed to the zoms).
What I appreciated above all though was how thought-provoking the book was. Snow Burn poses a number of questions about humanity. If facing a situation where either decision has a potential negative outcome, how does one make the right decision? If an individual is a threat to society and is in danger, is it possible for another to look past that to lend a helping hand? While the novel is written in first person, the narrator, Tommy, occasionally addresses the reader—“What would you do if…”. 2nd person narration is tricky, but I think the author executes it well, and it is relevant to the storyline. All of the questions posed tie into the ending, which I have to say, was totally unexpected!