Friday, January 26, 2018

Snowbound

Classic crime publisher Stark House Press has reprinted Bill Pronzini's 1974 stand-alone heist novel, “Snowbound”. This edition is also packaged with another short Pronzini novel called “Games”. “Snowbound” is a well-written short novel about a heist crew (think of Richard Stark's ‘Parker’) who decides to lay low at a safehouse in a small, wintery, mountain town where everybody seems to know each other. In addition to the hold-up crew, the town is also occupied by a boozy recluse with a mysterious past, a mayor with a sexual secret life, a horny housewife seeking companionship, a couple expecting their first child and a handful of secondary side-characters. The cast is vividly-realized as Pronzini takes the time to give them each actual subplots and character development - something often lacking in classic heist novels. A snowstorm and an avalanche seclude the snowbound town and creates the novel's central tension that drives the story forward. The plotting reminded me of Stephen King in the way a cast of independent characters converge in the novel's protracted, bloody climax. The easy-read story moves at a good clip, and the ending was very satisfying. Fans of heist novels and "confined space" suspense stories will find a lot to enjoy in “Snowbound”. Highly recommended.