The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins


Cora and her husband hunt things – things that shouldn’t exist. When the marshal of Leadville, Colorado, comes across a pair of mysterious deaths, he turns to Cora to find the creature responsible, but if Cora is to overcome the unnatural tide threatening to consume the small town, she must first confront her own tragic past as well as her present.

Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve last done a book review and I’ll get things started again with the long overdued review of Lee Collins’s The Dead of Winter. Another brilliant debut from Angry Robot’s amazing 2012 schedule. If you love supernatural stories then you’re in for a treat with this one.

The Dead of Winter stars Cora Oglesby and her husband Ben who specialises in hunting things that even the most hardened hunters are afraid of. Think of them as a Western version of Supernatural’s Sam and Dean Winchester if you will. Like Dean, Cora has a quick to anger temper and prefers action to words, whereas Ben is a more laid-back, thoughtful fellow. Despite how different they are, they do make an incredible pair and have a long history of monster slaying behind them. So that is why the marshal agreed to let Cora investigate the unnatural deaths of two local hunters in Leadville. But things are never this easy and soon they discover what is really lurking around in Leadville.

I really enjoyed the pacing and structure of this book. The first half serves an introduction to help you familiarise yourself with the characters and demonstrates just how effective and ruthless Cora is at her work. Once you reach the second half though, that is when the real meat of the story begins and you are exposed to a world bathed in rich lores and myths. Even though we’ve read these vampire stories hundred of times before, Collins still made it interesting and thrilling. I even managed to pick up a term for vampires that I never knew before!

A lot of credit goes to how well Cora is written. She is a conflicted character torn by a tragic event in her past. Cora wants to settle down to an easy life once she has made enough money but circumstances drive her to continue her journey on the road. Her character and attitude truly reflects on all the crap she has been through in her life. I can’t wait to see how she will evolve after the events in this story.

The Dead of Winter is a fantastic Supernatural tale set in Western setting with plenty of action and quirky humour. Definitely not to be missed and it makes a wonderful addition to your (virtual) bookshelf. Did you know that Collins was discovered because of Angry Robot’s Open Door Month? I’m just glad they did not pass on this gem.

Cora’s tale will continue in She Returns From War, which will be published in February 2013.