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A Winter Haunting

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A once-respected college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart has sabotaged his career and his marriage -- and now darkness is closing in on him. In the last hours of Halloween he has returned to the dying town of Elm Haven, his boyhood home, where he hopes to find peace in isolation. But moving into a long-deserted farmhouse on the far outskirts of town -- the one-time re A once-respected college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart has sabotaged his career and his marriage -- and now darkness is closing in on him. In the last hours of Halloween he has returned to the dying town of Elm Haven, his boyhood home, where he hopes to find peace in isolation. But moving into a long-deserted farmhouse on the far outskirts of town -- the one-time residence of a strange and brilliant friend who lost his young life in a grisly "accident" back in the terrible summer of 1960 -- is only the latest in his long succession of recent mistakes. Because Dale is not alone here. He has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall ...


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A once-respected college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart has sabotaged his career and his marriage -- and now darkness is closing in on him. In the last hours of Halloween he has returned to the dying town of Elm Haven, his boyhood home, where he hopes to find peace in isolation. But moving into a long-deserted farmhouse on the far outskirts of town -- the one-time re A once-respected college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart has sabotaged his career and his marriage -- and now darkness is closing in on him. In the last hours of Halloween he has returned to the dying town of Elm Haven, his boyhood home, where he hopes to find peace in isolation. But moving into a long-deserted farmhouse on the far outskirts of town -- the one-time residence of a strange and brilliant friend who lost his young life in a grisly "accident" back in the terrible summer of 1960 -- is only the latest in his long succession of recent mistakes. Because Dale is not alone here. He has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall ...

30 review for A Winter Haunting

  1. 5 out of 5

    karen

    oh my god thank you dan simmons! ....................................................................... oh, dan simmons, i wish you had dedicated the terror to me instead of this one. spooky month is not going as well as i had hoped... this is fine. it is a very straightforward, classic-feeling horror novel,like an early stephen king or something, and i still think simmons is a good writer, but this one just didn't thrill me the way the terror did. it is at once a psychological horror novel and a t oh my god thank you dan simmons! ....................................................................... oh, dan simmons, i wish you had dedicated the terror to me instead of this one. spooky month is not going as well as i had hoped... this is fine. it is a very straightforward, classic-feeling horror novel,like an early stephen king or something, and i still think simmons is a good writer, but this one just didn't thrill me the way the terror did. it is at once a psychological horror novel and a traditional-ish ghost story, with some mythology thrown in for spice. it is tricky business, because we have a character who is medicated after a suicide attempt, returning to his hometown and his deceased childhood friend's house to try his hand at an autobiographical novel (ummm, summer of night??)* , and he finds himself isolated in a cell phone dead zone, and facing a triple threat of ghosties, skinheads, and the horror of his own mind and his guiltish memories. so - what is "real" and what is delusion and what is self-punishment? the reader is kept guessing, and it is perfectly readable and page-turning, but it lacked that special "oomph" that would have turned this from a serviceable novel into a shiverlicious one. i did like all the nerdishness, with the henry james and the beowulf quotes, and all the english-major memories (and how many horror novels have proust in them, sparking a turning point for the character??) it was dorky good times. but it just wasn't enough for me, i guess. i need something less...expected - i need a horror novel that is going to scare me, but it just never happens for me. i am scared of plenty of real things, but books have to work really hard to give me the bumps. this would probably scare someone else more than it did me - the dogs in particular - but alas,to a karen, it remains "fine." * it would have been nice for me to have known that this was a sequel to summer of night, because now i guess i know how summer of night ends up, and now i am less inclined to read it anytime soon, even though it is sitting right there. i see that goodreads has helpfully called this "seasons of horror #2," but the book itself did not. sigh. come to my blog!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    “All good things beyond sleep come precisely because we defy gravity while we live.” Following his divorce and suicide attempt, Dale Stewart moves back to Elm Haven, deciding to live in the house his childhood friend lived in, to work on a new novel. How, oh how, was this book going to live up to Summer of Night? Spoiler alert - it doesn’t. But that’s okay, because it’s still a very enjoyable and chilling tale! I would NOT read this one before Summer of Night, it’s spoiler city in there! It’s not a “All good things beyond sleep come precisely because we defy gravity while we live.” Following his divorce and suicide attempt, Dale Stewart moves back to Elm Haven, deciding to live in the house his childhood friend lived in, to work on a new novel. How, oh how, was this book going to live up to Summer of Night? Spoiler alert - it doesn’t. But that’s okay, because it’s still a very enjoyable and chilling tale! I would NOT read this one before Summer of Night, it’s spoiler city in there! It’s not a direct sequel, but more of a chance to revisit Elm Haven and some of the characters we know and love. The story focuses on Dale, but we sometimes have narration from another member of the bike gang and these were often my favourite parts of the book - they were so beautifully written, as I have come to expect from Simmons. It’s quite sexual at times, which was fine until I was reading it on a plane and I was basically trying to cover the pages from the stranger beside me (ahaha, my phone just autocorrected that to a title since I talk about the Ann Rule book so much). Some of his descriptions of nipples and... other parts... had me rolling my eyes, but it wasn’t too bothersome! There’s also a lot of references to different authors and works which I LOVED - little shoutouts to King, Nabokov, Arthur Miller etc. And some parts were really quite unsettling and claustrophobic. There’s just something about creepy occurrences in a house - because I too live in a house! This could happen TO ME (I hope it doesn’t). A Winter Haunting is a lot more direct and to the point than SoN (and Carrion Comfort for that matter), as this one is just over 300 pages long, compared to the larger, and more detailed, novels. My eyes did glaze over during a car chase scene though... good god, how many pages can you dedicate to something like this?! Wrap it up! And one of the characters, Clare, was quite pretentious and unlikeable - but otherwise I have nothing else negative to say about this one! A really intriguing read with lots of interesting mythology that kept me guessing until the very end! 4 stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Maciek

    This was a really pleasant surprise. As I was not extremely impressed with Summer of Night, I didn't exactly rush to read A Winter's Haunting, which was said to be a sequel. I wish I didn't, as it's not a direct sequel, only uses certain events and characters from the first novel. It's an excellent tale in its own right: Dale Stewart, one of the characters from SON, returns to the town where he grew up. After a failed marriage and a sucicide attempt, he decides to finish writing his novel. He fee This was a really pleasant surprise. As I was not extremely impressed with Summer of Night, I didn't exactly rush to read A Winter's Haunting, which was said to be a sequel. I wish I didn't, as it's not a direct sequel, only uses certain events and characters from the first novel. It's an excellent tale in its own right: Dale Stewart, one of the characters from SON, returns to the town where he grew up. After a failed marriage and a sucicide attempt, he decides to finish writing his novel. He feels as if he was lost, missing something important; during the stay at the small town in Illinois he'll discover much more than he bargained for. The whole novel is very Henry Jamesian, with a brooding gothic mood. Simmons does an excellent job with keepint the theme, suspense and atmosphere, and A Winter's Haunting is much less drawn out than it's predecessor. His sense of character and imagery is strong, and although this one never won particular recognition it's one of his better and shorter ones, far away from bloated monsters like Carrion Comfort - which, although enjoyable, could have easily been reduced to half their size. A winter's Haunting is cold and unrelenting, and cuts straight to the bone. I liked it a lot.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Strömquist

    A really enjoyable follow-up to the brilliant Summer of Night! We revisit some characters from that summer of 1960 at a much later date - however, I'm pretty sure there's no problem at all reading this one stand-alone. That said, it must be noted that having read the first book really adds a dimension as you get a fuller and quite vivid picture of the characters of the stories. As this is a ghost - or at least a mystery - story, I won't be writing about any synopsis as to not reveal anything. It A really enjoyable follow-up to the brilliant Summer of Night! We revisit some characters from that summer of 1960 at a much later date - however, I'm pretty sure there's no problem at all reading this one stand-alone. That said, it must be noted that having read the first book really adds a dimension as you get a fuller and quite vivid picture of the characters of the stories. As this is a ghost - or at least a mystery - story, I won't be writing about any synopsis as to not reveal anything. It's well written and the shorter format (shorter than the predecessor that is) works well (however, I must say I thought the climax dragged on a bit and that's the reason for the missing star). The story is very well handled, with just the right amount of explanations and seeds of doubt planted to make you ponder and reason about the book during, but also after reading it. This was my February buddy read with Edward Lorn. Thank you Edward, always a pleasure (but even bigger when we manage to pick a good one)!

  5. 5 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    A great "sequel" to the classic tale, SUMMER OF NIGHT. Dan Simmons at his best again!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    2.5 stars rounded up. I didn't like this one as much as my buddy Thomas, but I enjoyed it enough to finish it. Toward the end I realized I just didn't care about the main character. Reading about Dale Stewart as a kid in Summer of Night was big fun. But the grown-up version is nowhere near as entertaining. I did appreciate the twists, but overall, I am left with a numbing feeling of meh. A Winter Haunting is not a direct sequel to Summer of Night, meaning it does not continue that storyline, but 2.5 stars rounded up. I didn't like this one as much as my buddy Thomas, but I enjoyed it enough to finish it. Toward the end I realized I just didn't care about the main character. Reading about Dale Stewart as a kid in Summer of Night was big fun. But the grown-up version is nowhere near as entertaining. I did appreciate the twists, but overall, I am left with a numbing feeling of meh. A Winter Haunting is not a direct sequel to Summer of Night, meaning it does not continue that storyline, but if you're looking to catch up with old friends, this book delivers well enough. I was happy to see some vaguely familiar faces and saddened to hear of some of their deaths. This book is much richer for me having read Summer of Night first, though, and I will politely disagree with Thomas when he says one doesn't need to have read Summer of Night to enjoy this one. I think what I enjoyed the most here was my return to Elm Haven. Had I not read Dale's first adventure, I would have cared even less about his character in this book. I think my biggest complaint is that it didn't feel like a Dan Simmons book. After novels like Drood and The Terror and the aforementioned Summer of Night, I'm left lumping this one in with Simmons novels like Song of Kali, which was good but not quite as good as his other outings. In the end, I liked this one just enough that I don't regret reading it. I simply think I enjoy historical-fiction Simmons over modern-day Simmons. In summation: This is a lovely trip down memory lane, but, for me, it failed to give me a character I could root for or care about. Final Judgment: A watered-down Hell House.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book is appealing in so many ways: The plot twists and turns with truly frightening moments and the suspense will keep you reading. Whenever I thought I figured someone out or knew what was going on, I was taken by surprise in where the story turned. The tension did not let up, although there was some comedic relief! I LOVED the ending. I will add to my review later :)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Something's waiting for me at Duane McBride's old family farmhouse......When the haunted 52 year old Professor Dale Stewart decides to return to his childhood stomping ground to revisit the inner demons of his past (by writing a novel) and expunge the errors of his ways, he encounters more than he bargained for with spirits from beyond as well as some pretty nasty humanoid beings.While satisfyingly creepy, I did not find this novel truly scary like The Terror, but did like the way it was present Something's waiting for me at Duane McBride's old family farmhouse......When the haunted 52 year old Professor Dale Stewart decides to return to his childhood stomping ground to revisit the inner demons of his past (by writing a novel) and expunge the errors of his ways, he encounters more than he bargained for with spirits from beyond as well as some pretty nasty humanoid beings.While satisfyingly creepy, I did not find this novel truly scary like The Terror, but did like the way it was presented with the ghost of Duane (his genius boyhood friend) joining in the narration.Very good psychological mystery-thriller.....Love Dan Simmons' writing!.....3.5 Stars. (did not read Summer of Night first, but still intend to)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cody | codysbookshelf

    Dan Simmons returns to the territory of his classic novel Summer of Night in its sequel, A Winter Haunting. Taking place almost forty years after the events of its predecessor, Haunting sees Dale Stewart -- a recently divorced and suicidal college professor/author -- return to the small town of Elm Haven and the memories from childhood it holds for him. He rents the home of a childhood friend for nine months, hoping to finish his latest novel and get a grip on his post-marriage life. From the s Dan Simmons returns to the territory of his classic novel Summer of Night in its sequel, A Winter Haunting. Taking place almost forty years after the events of its predecessor, Haunting sees Dale Stewart -- a recently divorced and suicidal college professor/author -- return to the small town of Elm Haven and the memories from childhood it holds for him. He rents the home of a childhood friend for nine months, hoping to finish his latest novel and get a grip on his post-marriage life. From the start, I noticed this novel is a pretty brisk and succinct read -- usually, Simmons's novels are sprawling epics with a lot of back-story and world-building. A Winter Haunting clocks in at just over 300 pages, making it one of the briefest books in the Simmons canon. The action starts in the first chapter and does not let up until the last page. The idea of a man who has seemingly lost it all -- his wife, his kids, his stability, his will to live -- immediately brought to mind a novel that came out around the same time as this one, and that novel is Stephen King's Bag of Bones. In both, the story revolves around one man (with some peripheral characters, of course). Both of their marriages end brutally. Both are writers. Both hole up in a secluded house of importance, and both of those houses are haunted. Coming out in 2002, this book released four years after King's novel... and don't get me wrong! I don't think Simmons ripped off King in any way -- sure, the two novels are pretty similar at their cores, but King's tale is one of lost romance and moving on; Simmons's is of lost childhood and innocence. Perhaps Simmons was inspired by Bag of Bones, but whatever ideas it gave him blossomed into something radically different. I just thought I would point out the two books' similarities because I thought it was interesting. Maybe I'll read them back-to-back someday -- that could make for a very interesting blog post. Something I absolutely loved about this book is Simmons's ability to catch me off guard. I won't say too much because I'd hate to ruin the fun, so i'll just say this: nothing is what it seems. This place which Dale Stewart has returned to is not a nice place, and hasn't been a nice place for a very long time. It was bad in 1960 during his eleventh summer, but now -- here in 1999 -- it has only gotten worse. People aren't what they seem, and nothing is safe. There are horrors around every corner -- dark or otherwise. If I had to make a complaint, it would be Simmons's use of the "voice from beyond the grave" technique. The voice is that of a certain important character from Summer of Night. The voice narrates a good deal of the book, but not all of it. At times, I enjoyed his or her narration, but at other times it just felt intrusive and weird. By the story's end, Simmons's still hadn't given a satisfactory explanation of the voice to begin with, so I deducted half a star from my rating. It's not too big a deal, but it is sort of annoying. Of the two, I think I prefer Summer of Night if only because that book had more of an epic, all-worlds-are-involved feel. By comparison, this book is rather claustrophobic and chilly, but that is also fitting -- Dale Stewart has left the magic of childhood and grown into a depressed man with no real future prospects. It is prudent that Summer of Night be read before this one, but if you already have that horror classic under your belt.... then, by all means, look into this.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mindi

    So I recently read Summer of Night, and after I finished I was excited to find out that there a couple of novels that follow up on the some of the characters from that book. A Winter Haunting is mainly about Dale Stewart, one of the main characters in SON, but it pretty much at least mentions every important character from the first novel. It is even partially narrated by one of the other characters, and I loved those parts of this story. The book takes place 40 years after the events in SON, wi So I recently read Summer of Night, and after I finished I was excited to find out that there a couple of novels that follow up on the some of the characters from that book. A Winter Haunting is mainly about Dale Stewart, one of the main characters in SON, but it pretty much at least mentions every important character from the first novel. It is even partially narrated by one of the other characters, and I loved those parts of this story. The book takes place 40 years after the events in SON, with Dale returning to Elm Haven in order to work on his next book. He's a professor on sabbatical, recently divorced, and still hurting from being dumped by his girlfriend. His life is such a mess that he even attempted suicide. Dale comes to the realization that he needs to revisit his past, since there is nothing left for him in his current life, so he rents the former home of his friend Duane, and decides to seclude himself in Elm Haven in order to write about the his childhood friends. The horror in this novel is more psychological than Summer of Night, and just as creepy. I thought for a while that I knew where Simmons was leading the story, but then he completely veered away from where I thought he was going, and I was delighted to find the book was not as straightforward as I originally thought. I adore ghost stories, and this one is now up there with some of my favorites. If you enjoyed Summer of Night, I highly recommend picking this one up too. It was so wonderful to revisit the bicycle gang, but also a bit sobering to realize that many of them did not end up with the brightest futures.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rich Stoehr

    I think that Stephen King tried to do this in "It," and I think he and Peter Straub tried it again in "Black House." Whether this is true or not, neither book succeeds in the way that "A Winter Haunting" succeeds. Here, Simmons gives us what we so rarely see in horror fiction - the psychological and emotional aftermath of a horrific experience. Simmons also takes the standard genre elements and turns them on their collective head, all the while telling a good story that keeps you reading. "A Wint I think that Stephen King tried to do this in "It," and I think he and Peter Straub tried it again in "Black House." Whether this is true or not, neither book succeeds in the way that "A Winter Haunting" succeeds. Here, Simmons gives us what we so rarely see in horror fiction - the psychological and emotional aftermath of a horrific experience. Simmons also takes the standard genre elements and turns them on their collective head, all the while telling a good story that keeps you reading. "A Winter Haunting" is an admirable novel, and I can't imagine a more fitting continuation of its predecessor, "Summer of Night." I re-read "Summer of Night" just prior to this book, to have the story fresh in my head. I don't think that it's strictly necessary to read the older book to appreciate "A Winter Haunting," but I would have to say that knowing what happens in "Summer of Night" definitely adds several important perspectives to the events of the later book. Dan Simmons has made a career out of writing excellent novels in multiple genres, and "Summer of Night" was no exception; one of the great modern horror novels. As in most such books, the story ends when the evil is defeated. "A Winter Haunting" reminds us that, in real life, the story never really ends there. Those who endure after suffering loss and trauma have to live with what has happened, have to deal with it as best they can. Dale Stewart, in "A Winter Haunting," has dealt with the horrific events of his childhood by not dealing with them - by shutting them out, by refusing to even remember them. A writer now, as well as a college professor, Dale is also the survivor of a failed marriage and a failed affair with one of his students. The books he has written thus far are formulaic adventure stories. He is visiting the town where he grew up, living in the house of his friend who died in the summer of 1960, in order to try and gain something intangible that he feels he has lost, and to write a new sort of story about that long-lost summer that he cannot remember. In returning to Elm Haven, the town where he grew up, Dale confronts a few of his old childhood fears as well as many of his new, "adult," ones. What is really interesting about this is that we come to see that many of the troubles he has suffered as an adult are at least partially a result of that terrible summer in 1960, which he has never faced and dealt with directly. In "A Winter Haunting" we get to see what most horror novels never show us: we see what happens to someone who confronts evil and lives to tell the tale. There are no pat conclusions or pithy observations in "A Winter Haunting" - just an implied truth that sometimes memories are too terrible to be relived, and that some stories take a long time to tell. Though "A Winter Haunting" is a sequel to "Summer of Night," as I read it I got more of a feeling of remembrance from the book. It builds upon the events of the earlier story, but it also deviates from them quite dramatically in tone and theme. It's not a nostalgic novel at all. In fact, it's almost anti-nostalgia. As Dale tries desperately hard to create memories of a summer he can't remember, even as he confronts new terrors both real and spiritual, we are led to the conclusion that some things simply cannot - or should not - be recalled with fondness. In "A Winter Haunting" we are reminded that horrible events have consequences beyond the events themselves. They can exact a psychological toll that can take a lifetime or more to overcome. Once again Simmons has given me a pleasant surprise; not because he has written yet another fine novel (that's an expectation by now), but because he has explored original territory in the horror genre. And he has staked his claim well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ☮Karen

    Dale Stewart, fresh from a suicide attempt and heavily medicated, returns to his home town near Peoria to work on a book while living in an old farmhouse where as a child one of his friends died in a farming accident. The dead boy is in fact narrator of some chapters. The house comes alive at night and spooky things go bump, buMP, BUMP; and the audio reader Bronson Pinchot does a wonderful job of making us a little creeped out and pleasantly entertained all at once. Big black dogs (aka hellhound Dale Stewart, fresh from a suicide attempt and heavily medicated, returns to his home town near Peoria to work on a book while living in an old farmhouse where as a child one of his friends died in a farming accident. The dead boy is in fact narrator of some chapters. The house comes alive at night and spooky things go bump, buMP, BUMP; and the audio reader Bronson Pinchot does a wonderful job of making us a little creeped out and pleasantly entertained all at once. Big black dogs (aka hellhounds) and local skinheads (aka criminal tormentors) are never far away. With the mix of Prozac and who knows what else in his system, Dale is either being haunted by beings unknown or is wildly delusional. I enjoyed this, especially the Illinois setting near my husband's home town, where black topped rural roads are called "the hard road" and cell phone service is spotty at best. A solid read that makes me want to read the prequel.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jen from Quebec :0)

    I wish that I had NOT read the AMAZING book that comes prior to this one ( 'Summer of Night' ) as this book might have been less disappointing were it not a sequel to a book that I loved. I was REALLY looking forward to the continuation of the story in Elm Haven; reuniting with Dale, Kevin, Mike, Jim, and all the gang....instead, this was a let down. The book only really features Dale, and while it IS a GOOD ghost story, it is NOT, however, a great SEQUEL, which is what I was hoping for. Bummer. I wish that I had NOT read the AMAZING book that comes prior to this one ( 'Summer of Night' ) as this book might have been less disappointing were it not a sequel to a book that I loved. I was REALLY looking forward to the continuation of the story in Elm Haven; reuniting with Dale, Kevin, Mike, Jim, and all the gang....instead, this was a let down. The book only really features Dale, and while it IS a GOOD ghost story, it is NOT, however, a great SEQUEL, which is what I was hoping for. Bummer. --Jen from Quebec :0(

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shorty

    I didn’t know this novel was the third part in a series, but I’m not in the slightest upset about this news. I’m heading off to find book one and two to listen to, and then I’ll probably just listen to book #3 again so they are then set straight in my head. And with a good book like this one, listening to it again is no chore. In fact, I listened to the last two-thirds of the last chapter three times just now, so I could keep everything straight in my flu-addled brain. It was awesome, and I cann I didn’t know this novel was the third part in a series, but I’m not in the slightest upset about this news. I’m heading off to find book one and two to listen to, and then I’ll probably just listen to book #3 again so they are then set straight in my head. And with a good book like this one, listening to it again is no chore. In fact, I listened to the last two-thirds of the last chapter three times just now, so I could keep everything straight in my flu-addled brain. It was awesome, and I cannot wait to get ahold of the first two novels in this series. Again, Bronson Pinchot the actor narrated this audiobook. Again, kudos to Blackstone Audio for hiring him to do these novels. His pronunciations (if that really was him) of Egyptian and Old English was superb, and masterful. Listening to him (or someone?) pronounce them so fluidly was absolutely enjoyable to me. But I have to admit, trying to figure out Old English is easier for me in print, lol. Please give this series a try, you will love them. 4 stars, and highly recommended.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    I really liked this one. Written very well with lots of strange and creepy, ghostly goings-on.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    Warning...this review may contain minor spoilers for those who have not read Summer of Night. Minor really, nothing that the 2011 edition of Summer of Night's intro doesn't contain, but still...reader beware. Also, one really should not be reading this book before Summer of Night. Also, pretty much any genre fan should read Summer of Night. This novel is not a must read for everyone, but any fan of Summer of Night would enjoy it, if only just to revisit the beloved characters of the first book. A Warning...this review may contain minor spoilers for those who have not read Summer of Night. Minor really, nothing that the 2011 edition of Summer of Night's intro doesn't contain, but still...reader beware. Also, one really should not be reading this book before Summer of Night. Also, pretty much any genre fan should read Summer of Night. This novel is not a must read for everyone, but any fan of Summer of Night would enjoy it, if only just to revisit the beloved characters of the first book. After the gloriously verbose grandeur of SoN, this novel seems positively slim and light by comparison. That is not the only difference, in general it reads very differently, kind of like an homage written years later by another author. Which could just very well be a sign of author's versatility (it is very well written)...or an experiment or even an indulgence. SoN doesn't need a sequel of any kind, it's perfectly self sufficient, but the same involved curiosity with a hint of addiction that keeps us watching the same shows for years or reading book series does desire to revisit, as if it's not enough to passively wonder, one needs to know, to see what happens next. With this book, the author resurrects arguably the best most interesting and most shockingly prematurely killed character of SoN as a sort of a ghost haunting his friend who is now all grown up and none the wiser for it. Wherein SoN had a pretty straight forward wordy but never circumlocutory narration, this book is a trip, confusing at times and very much evocative of the often mentioned moebius tape. It does give the readers a courtesy of a nicely rounded up, non vague and clever ending, which this book needed in order to work as a whole. As such it works quite well as a tale of a descent into madness, it is a the title promises about being haunted, not just supernatural means, but also by loss, regret, longing and other human sadnesses. Does it work as well as a companion piece to Summer of Night? I'm not sure. It seems to remind the reader that young kids may have just had very wild imaginations or it was too traumatic to remain committed to memory of the kids as they grew up...it sort of had that somewhat cheating feeling of when in the last chapter the author reveals that it was all a dream. But really...it's the kind of thing that might vary and different readers might have their unique interpretations of this. I would recommend this for Summer of Night fans, but not before reading the original and not as a stand alone. Also, nice to see that the author is in fact capable of brevity for when the reader wants quality without the brick weighted volume.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    On a Halloween night, Dale is returning to his dying childhood town of Elm Haven, Illinois. Dale is a survivor of an unhappy marriage, that lead to divorce and a fail attempt to have an affair with one of his students. Dale also failed at trying to kill himself, the gun jammed. With all his problems, Dales is being treated for server depression. Dale is taking a sabbatical from the college that he is teaching at. Dale is also a writer and is looking for the right environment to write his new boo On a Halloween night, Dale is returning to his dying childhood town of Elm Haven, Illinois. Dale is a survivor of an unhappy marriage, that lead to divorce and a fail attempt to have an affair with one of his students. Dale also failed at trying to kill himself, the gun jammed. With all his problems, Dales is being treated for server depression. Dale is taking a sabbatical from the college that he is teaching at. Dale is also a writer and is looking for the right environment to write his new book. Dale is renting an old abandon farm on the outskirts of town. The farm once belong to the family of his best friend Duane. Duane was killed in a terrible farming accident, back in 1960. By visiting his old hometown, Dale hopes to recapture something that he feels that he had lost. Dale, runs into a few acquaintances from his past and a bully, that he remembers very well. The farmhouse is very strange! The entire second floor is covered in plastic . Dale, wants to journey to the second floor to see what is really behind the plastic. Could it be to insulate the house or to keep people away? Dale, lives in a haunted farmhouse and has a computer that leaves him cryptic messages. Dale must face some of his childhood demons, along with the demons who are haunting him now. Dale is about to take a ride on an emotional roller coaster and where it stop, no one knows. This is a creepy ghost story, that has many twist and turns. The story moved at a good pace and was hard to put down. This is the sequel to Summer Nights. It is hard to believe but this is the first book that I have read by Dan Simmons. I plan on checking out other works by this author. I highly recommend this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I read this when it was first published and had no idea it was a sequel. A few years ago, I read the first book, Summer of Night, and looooooved it. Finally, I got around to re-reading (listening) to A Winter Haunting and now I am familiar with the characters and their history. So, even better this time around. I wish the book could've gone on and on because it was just so darn creepy and held my attention.

  19. 5 out of 5

    RJ Vermillion

    Loved it. Was actually compelled to write my first review of a book ever when I closed it earlier today. Is it "Summer of Night"? Nope. I thoroughly enjoyed that book as well, but for different reasons. The prequel was nostalgic, adventurous, and scarier with a wide-eyed innocence. In this one, Simmons strips off any sentimentality (from this story or "Summer"). Duane, the narrator now actually "shakes his head" at the wistfulness of the first story--which is interesting given what we find out o Loved it. Was actually compelled to write my first review of a book ever when I closed it earlier today. Is it "Summer of Night"? Nope. I thoroughly enjoyed that book as well, but for different reasons. The prequel was nostalgic, adventurous, and scarier with a wide-eyed innocence. In this one, Simmons strips off any sentimentality (from this story or "Summer"). Duane, the narrator now actually "shakes his head" at the wistfulness of the first story--which is interesting given what we find out of "Summer of Night"'s creation in this story. This story is bleak. If you're read "The Terror", you know how hopeless Simmons's pages can be. It's hard to watch Dale, once a carefree, light-hearted, and decent boy become a depressed, suicide-contemplating adulterer. It's brutal as well. We get to see C.J. Congden all grown up--having devolved into more of a bully--and Michelle Staffney, the sixth grade crush who's worse for the wear as well. But the story also speaks to a friendship that spans, in many ways, the chasm of death. It certainly has it's creepy moments, but I didn't find it incredibly scary. I would say more interesting. I found it entertaining, but I suppose I was more impressed with the writing, the development of the story--specifically how things were wrapped up--more than anything. All in all a fantastic read. SPOILERS Just some things I appreciated about the book: I liked the theme of birth/death throughout the book. Dale's marriage was dying, then he found "life", in an affair. But that brought death and even fascinations on Dale's part of making that a physical reality for his ex-lover. Then there are the sheets Dale cut and squeezed through upstairs (birth), ironically, to go kill himself. When that didn't work, he emerged from the underground bootleggers' tunnel, squeezing himself through again, only to find C.J. Congden waiting to kill him. Also, the "melding" of C.J. Congden and the skinhead leader (evil) was juxtaposed with the melding of Dale and Duane (good). The irony of the black dogs "surrounding" Dale throughout the book. How they started out as little, insignificant, but actually grew in proportion to Dale's own depression and thoughts of suicide. What he was terrified of was actually sent there to guard him from going over that great divide. Also, the fact that Duane's old notes served as the "spell" Dale shouted, at which point the dogs attacked the skin heads. I appreciated how Duane came through in the end, relentlessly steering Dale toward hope, restoration with his family, etc. After 40 years he was still loyal to Dale. How Dale wasn't quite as loony as we were lead to believe. Many of the things he saw were probably, in some sense, real. The ghosts of Michelle Staffney and C.J. Congden? C.J. had raped her in the house he was staying in, so they left a world of bad mojo in that place. And also, in some sense, they both still wanted something in the real world. The dogs? Already mentioned those. The random typing? Duane obviously. So, things were not all lost on Dale and in many ways he got caught up in a whirlwind of spiritual activity from the past. I found the last chapter (after all the previous bleakness and every indication that Dale would die) to be incredibly redemptive. Top notch novel.

  20. 5 out of 5

    ✨Susan✨

    I did not read the first book but this was a very creepy book all by itself. Dale Stewart is a college professor whose marriage is almost non-existent and has lost his job. He thinks that returning to his home town to discover where his lost memories from the summer of his eleventh year, maybe just the thing he needs to help him get things straight in his head. Upon his return on Halloween night to Elm Haven he feels that things aren't quite right but he can't put his finger on what. Soon he enc I did not read the first book but this was a very creepy book all by itself. Dale Stewart is a college professor whose marriage is almost non-existent and has lost his job. He thinks that returning to his home town to discover where his lost memories from the summer of his eleventh year, maybe just the thing he needs to help him get things straight in his head. Upon his return on Halloween night to Elm Haven he feels that things aren't quite right but he can't put his finger on what. Soon he encounters Hell Hounds, crazy local skin heads who want to kill him, a haunted farmhouse, a computer that leaves him cryptic messages and the fear that he is actually loosing his mind. This was a great, mystery thriller that was fast paced and kept my attention from start to finish.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chuck

    4-stars This is was a bit of a slow burn, but it was definitely good. Dan Simmons is a total pro.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    A good horror story about a man who is dealing with the demons of his past - both figuratively and literally. The first half of the book is a little slow; however, readers who stick with it will be rewarded by a very good second half. The book is a sequel, of sorts, to Summer of Night, but you don't have to have read that book (I didn't) to understand this one. There is alot of psychological horror in the plot, along with the supernatural. While this isn't my favorite book by Dan Simmons, it sti A good horror story about a man who is dealing with the demons of his past - both figuratively and literally. The first half of the book is a little slow; however, readers who stick with it will be rewarded by a very good second half. The book is a sequel, of sorts, to Summer of Night, but you don't have to have read that book (I didn't) to understand this one. There is alot of psychological horror in the plot, along with the supernatural. While this isn't my favorite book by Dan Simmons, it still is worth reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karlen

    Wow, that was boring. Perhaps this suffered due to a bad narrator on the audio version but I could not pay attention and when I did, I did not care. There was no tension. There was nothing spooky. There were hardly real characters. I found myself two-thirds of the way through wondering when the action was going to start. Was the whole thing supposed to be narrated by Dwayne? That seemed like a narrative framework that Simmons only remembered occasionally and then would throw in awkwardly. Speakin Wow, that was boring. Perhaps this suffered due to a bad narrator on the audio version but I could not pay attention and when I did, I did not care. There was no tension. There was nothing spooky. There were hardly real characters. I found myself two-thirds of the way through wondering when the action was going to start. Was the whole thing supposed to be narrated by Dwayne? That seemed like a narrative framework that Simmons only remembered occasionally and then would throw in awkwardly. Speaking of awkward, the dialogue. Ughhhh. Here again, maybe it was the narrator. He read every female character like a man doing an impression of a woman working a phone sex line, and either way, all the dialogue was clunky and weird. Maybe he didn't have a lot to work with from the start. Oh, and the female characters. Dear male authors, please find ANY OTHER WAY to describe a woman besides what her boobs are doing. The female characters in this book are flat as pancakes in every way but one. Who the hell was Clare? Who the hell was Michelle? I couldn't tell you, but I know all about how their nipples look in various garments! I will assume this is not a prime example of Simmons' work because I know he's apparently a big deal author and maybe I just picked a bad entry point. I'll give him one more shot, but if I find myself in the midst of a repeat I will not mind putting it down, taking my boobs, and walking away.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    It turns out that this book is the sequel to a book, Summer of Night, that I've never read. It doesn't seem to matter much; I understood and liked it anyway. It's a ghost story and a story about a man who has become self-destructive; an easy and entertaining read. It doesn't have the ambition of many Simmons novels, but it does have a few red herrings to keep you guessing about what is going on, as the past literally comes back to haunt the protagonist when he returns to his home-town and spends It turns out that this book is the sequel to a book, Summer of Night, that I've never read. It doesn't seem to matter much; I understood and liked it anyway. It's a ghost story and a story about a man who has become self-destructive; an easy and entertaining read. It doesn't have the ambition of many Simmons novels, but it does have a few red herrings to keep you guessing about what is going on, as the past literally comes back to haunt the protagonist when he returns to his home-town and spends the winter trying to write a novel about his childhood in the home of his friend who died far too young.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Great haunted house book, centering on a middle-aged novelist who returns to his childhood town to work on a book and figure out his life, his loves, his work, his everything... But then THINGS HAPPEN. I enjoy Dan Simmon's writing, his way of waking things up and how he often twists things back upon themselves. In this one, (a sequel to Summer of Night), a man who left his past behind returns to find that past still quite alive. He moves into the house of a (deceased) childhood friend in order to Great haunted house book, centering on a middle-aged novelist who returns to his childhood town to work on a book and figure out his life, his loves, his work, his everything... But then THINGS HAPPEN. I enjoy Dan Simmon's writing, his way of waking things up and how he often twists things back upon themselves. In this one, (a sequel to Summer of Night), a man who left his past behind returns to find that past still quite alive. He moves into the house of a (deceased) childhood friend in order to write his new novel. But life, the present and all sorts of creepiness get in his way. (Like the second floor of the house being all sealed off. And messages which appear on his computer. And dogs which...) You don't have to read the first book in order to understand this one. When the reader 'needs to know' something, Simmons just brings it up matter-of-factly. (No info-dumping here.) But if I hadn't read the first book already, I'd definitely go out and get it. Seriously, I find it hard to find a good haunted house with a great central character. So many just devolve into silly nonsense by the end. Not this one. I had been reading two other books at the same time as this, but put them aside for this one. When I do that - it's that good. Five stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I had no idea this was part of a series-so it reads fine as a standalone. It was a very creepy, well written mystery/thriller. You aren't sure what is real and what isn't. It reminded me a bit of Stephen King. All of the olde English,etc. was kind of interesting but wasn't sure why it wasn't just a regular message-maybe that comes from the other books.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Brilliant as usual from Simmons, but nothing like he's ever written. I was really excited to return to Elm Haven and Dale Stewart, as he was one of my favourites from the Bike Patrol in Summer of Night, and A Winter Haunting did not disappoint. This does not have the usual amounts of detail and description that Simmons normally puts into his novels and is more 'straight to the point'. I feel that in certain areas of the novel, a bit more explanation would have been nice, but it kept the novel at a Brilliant as usual from Simmons, but nothing like he's ever written. I was really excited to return to Elm Haven and Dale Stewart, as he was one of my favourites from the Bike Patrol in Summer of Night, and A Winter Haunting did not disappoint. This does not have the usual amounts of detail and description that Simmons normally puts into his novels and is more 'straight to the point'. I feel that in certain areas of the novel, a bit more explanation would have been nice, but it kept the novel at a fast pace and eager to read more. Without spoiling anything, A Winter Haunting tells the story of Dale returning back to Elm Haven, and staying at his childhood friend's home, Duane McBride's farm house. Dale has come to write a novel about the events that occurred back in 1960, but creepy things start to happen very quickly. This isn't just a ghost story as the title may suggest, but it is a psychological horror story that really messes with your head. Simmons does this in an extremely clever way and makes the 371 pages feel like 150. I would say that this is actually scarier than Summer of Night, and that this is quite a dark story in parts. If you are looking for a quick scary read, then look no further than A Winter Haunting. Dale's character is extremely different to the boy we were introduced to in Summer of Night, and I enjoyed reading about what had happened in the 40 years since we last read about him, and experiencing the transition that he went through. Overall, I would actually rate this a 4.5*. A really great read, and a very satisfying ending to the Seasons on Horror trilogy. I do look forward to reading Fires of Eden to read about Cordie.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kathrina

    Maybe more of a 2-star "it was ok", but I can't bear to give Dan Simmons anything less than a 3. It started out gang-busters -- unusual narrative perspective, spooky, portentous backstory. Then we meet Clare Two Hearts, and I'm pissed as hell to be spending time on her. And Duane's voice keeps shouldering in on the narrative -- clever in the beginning, disruptive by the middle. I get that device, in the end it makes a kind of sense, but Clare can go hang. If she's a red herring, too many words a Maybe more of a 2-star "it was ok", but I can't bear to give Dan Simmons anything less than a 3. It started out gang-busters -- unusual narrative perspective, spooky, portentous backstory. Then we meet Clare Two Hearts, and I'm pissed as hell to be spending time on her. And Duane's voice keeps shouldering in on the narrative -- clever in the beginning, disruptive by the middle. I get that device, in the end it makes a kind of sense, but Clare can go hang. If she's a red herring, too many words are wasted on her, and if there's more to her, I don't have the energy to parse it out. Though I wasn't blown away by this one, I still recommend it to any Simmons fan. Regardless of the genre he chooses, he's a master at atmosphere and interior complexity. He pulls it off so much better in his more recent work -- Drood, Terror, but you can faintly see how he's honing his craft in this earlier work. His characterizations of Dale and all the Elm Haven citizens (except maybe Duane) are spot on and mesmerizing. Just Clare, what the f?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Randee

    Dan Simmons is one of my favorite authors. I've been reading his work for many years and I have enjoyed every book. This is another story set in Elm Haven, Illinois with some cross over characters from a previous book, "Summer of Night." You needn't read the first to enjoy the second. "Summer of Night" takes place several decades previously when the storyline featured children. The crossover characters in "A Winter Haunting" are now in their 40's. Mr. Simmons once lived in southern Illinois wher Dan Simmons is one of my favorite authors. I've been reading his work for many years and I have enjoyed every book. This is another story set in Elm Haven, Illinois with some cross over characters from a previous book, "Summer of Night." You needn't read the first to enjoy the second. "Summer of Night" takes place several decades previously when the storyline featured children. The crossover characters in "A Winter Haunting" are now in their 40's. Mr. Simmons once lived in southern Illinois where this takes place and he reminds me of Stephen King and his beloved town of Derry. They remind me of each other, a part from both being good writers, in other ways. They have a knack (talent/genius?) for making small town USA come alive with their idiosyncrasies, delights and detractions. Their pop culture references are spot on. The dialogue whether it is male or female, young or old, educated or not always sounds authentic to me. As usual, I found this story brimming with all the essence I've come to expect from Mr. Simmons. Nothing seems far-fetched or rings untrue and I love visiting with him every chance I get.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    A Winter Haunting is sometimes predictable but overall a gripping and suspenseful horror novel with an underlying mystery.

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