I only recently discovered Crystal Lake Publishing when Joe Mynhardt contacted me about a few books he thought I might like to review. That interaction led me to the work of Mercedes M. Yardley, whose book, LITTLE DEAD RED, I recently reviewed. Another author whose work I discovered through our interactions is Patrick Rutigliano and it’s his new book, WIND CHILL, that I want to talk about today.
WIND CHILL is a collection containing the titular novella plus eight bonus shorts that are quick, entertaining little reads that I highly recommend you don’t pass up. But I’m going to focus mostly on WIND CHILL here.
The first thing you experience going into this book is a sense of insidious fear that lingers throughout the story as Rutigliano leads us into the narrative with the following passage:
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph’s left nut!
Eric Kinley woke up blind to the frozen world around him, but not to the grin that had followed him back from sleep. The face leered at him through the darkness behind his eyes. Pale cheeks squelched like maggots as the grin widened. The lipless mouth said nothing, the teeth inside clenching so tight the incisors cracked.”
It’s hard to talk about this book that seems to have at least one new surprise in every chapter. It would be extremely easy to spoil something important with even minor plot descriptions that go beyond the book’s synopsis so I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to talk about the thing that makes this book work, that keeps you reading until the shocking climax. That thing is Patrick Rutigliano’s ability to build tension and dread with each scene, piling despair upon despair and keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout.
WIND CHILL is a survival horror story that approaches an old myth with a new and fascinating twist, while at the same time presenting us with an ever deepening mystery that draws Emma, the protagonist, into a living nightmare that she may never escape from. Rutigliano has crafted a brutal gut punch of a tale that takes you from start to horrific finish so fast your head will spin, leaving you stunned and wanting more, something that would be very easy to provide. While WIND CHILL is a satisfying and complete novella as it is, it would lend itself well to a beefier novel length retelling, going deeper into the back story and the events that happen in the remote, snowbound forest.
WIND CHILL is a quick, entertaining read by an author that I will definitely keep an eye on, and I recommend that you also do so. And don’t forget those eight bonus stories I mentioned. There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had there as well, mostly horrific but also bordering on hilarious at times. Rutigliano has talent in heaps and a descriptive voice that keeps you engaged throughout the book. Check out those links below to get your copy of WIND CHILL and learn more about Patrick Rutigliano.
You can learn more about Patrick Rutigliano here: http://www.patrickrutigliano.wordpress.com
WIND CHILL synopsis:
What if you were held captive by your own family?
Emma Rawlins has spent the last year a prisoner. The months following her mother’s death dragged her father into a paranoid spiral of conspiracy theories and doomsday premonitions. Obsessing him, controlling him, they now whisper the end days are finally at hand.
And he doesn’t intend to face them alone.
Emma finds herself drugged and dragged to a secluded cabin, the last refuge from a society supposedly due to collapse. Their cabin a snowbound fortress, her every move controlled, but even that isn’t enough to weather the end of the world.
Everything she knows is out of reach, lost beyond a haze of white. There is no choice but to play her father’s game while she plans her escape.
But there is a force far colder than the freezing drifts. Ancient, ravenous, it knows no mercy. And it’s already had a taste…
Wind Chill also contains eight original bonus stories:
-The Fear Merchant: The local king of Halloween finds himself outdone by a new neighbor and becomes compelled to discover what secrets lie in the haunted house across the street.
-Bang!: A rivalry between two creatures of the night takes a black-humored twist.
-Little Red Vest: A break down leaves a woman stranded on the wrong side of town—and witness to a bizarre performance that can warp time as easily as it does flesh.
-Shadowplay: Still mourning his little brother’s death, an aging wave slave finds comfort in the local playground. But he can’t help but wonder about the strange child who lingers there after dark.
-Jump Cuts: Bitter and dejected, a spinster discovers a way to reconnect with the warmer shades of the human experience. And her own regrets.
-The Skin Trade: A one-night stand leaves a businessman with an unthinkable cargo.
About Patrick Rutigliano: Patrick Rutigliano made his way as a fry cook, cart monkey and feral cat tamer before going into business for himself. Working as an editor and proofreader in addition to writing, his first independent release, “The Untimely Deaths of Daryl Handy,” hit Amazon in 2013. His first novel, “Surviving the Crash” was released by Retro Rocket Press in 2014.
During his off time, Patrick can usually be found attempting to recreate foreign cuisine, performing the solemn duty of feline waterbed and having spirited debates with his wife over the failings of Disney villains.
Further information is available at http://www.patrickrutigliano.wordpress.com