Author: Dan Simmons
Press-Tige Pub Inc. / 300 pages / (April 1998)
Let’s get this straight at the very beginning: Killing Frost is not literature. What it is is a hell of a read. Just as Stephen King will probably never win the Pulitzer Prize, Blake is probably going to hear about occasionally weak dialogue, stereotyped characters and so on, but just try to put Killing Frost down once you’ve started it. Of course, just as with some of King’s epics, picking them up is the difficult part.
Right out of the gate, readers learn that Raymond Frost is a man with more than his share of problems, problem number one being that he is a werewolf. Problem two… well, I suppose most things pale when compared to that. Raymond, though, is a werewolf unlike any you may have encountered in fiction. He holds down a job, owns a house, has friends, and takes vacations every fall. He kind of has to take time off then, because that is when he changes. And getting away is the most reliable way to prevent murder.
Unfortunately the plan is not foolproof, as the corpse count continues to rise in Farmington, and may not have been put into practice soon enough: Raymond’s fiancée was the first victim. Her death and the weak chain of evidence that kept Raymond out of prison were the sparks that led one cop on a personal crusade to bring him to justice, no matter what the cost.
When the ex-cop starts moving in for the kill, Raymond has no choice. He is on the run, and there maybe no safe place left for the werewolf. Or his potential victims.
Killing Frost reads like a late-night movie. Yes, there are flaws, but the action moves so fast that you aren’t going to have time to dwell on them. Yes, you know it’s a school night, but you are going to stay up until you finish it. And, yes, you’d be really surprised to hear it mentioned at an awards show. But, oh! what a night!
While Caitlín R. Kiernan is breaking new ground and taking the horror genre into the dark and terrifying unknown, Blake is one of those giving new life to the old myths. When you despair at the tired retellings of vampire, mummy, werewolf, and boogey monster tales, look for someone who will show you an undiscovered side to the curses. Give Blake a chance to take you past the cheesy cut-aways and time lapse photography to the human and the feral animal living inside the same brain, inhabiting the same skin. There a lot more there to see than Lon Chaney, Jr. and his dental appliances ever gave you.