The weather almost necessitates curling up under a blanket with a good book and a hot chocolate. Most of these librarian-recommended, winter-themed books are real chillers, but look hard enough and you’ll find a few provide warm and fuzzy moments. If you find a title you like – or want to share a different winter-themed book – please leave a comment below. Stay safe and warm everybody.
The Dark Winter by David Mark.
It’s Christmas time in Hull, England and the threat of snow is in the air, but the real danger is not from the weather but from a killer or killers after a string of murders. There is no obvious link between the crimes- the only survivor of a shipwreck from forty years ago is found dead in a lifeboat, a teenage girl from Africa is hacked to death, and a suspected arsonist is murdered and burned. Detective Sergent Aector McAvoy is working on the cases and suspects that there is something that ties all the murders together. Read more about this novel in this blog post written by Christina Callison.
Death Wore White by Jim Kelly
On a coastal road in England, eight vehicles, diverted from the main road because of a detour sign, are now stuck behind a fallen tree with no way forward or back. Temperatures drop, snow starts to fall, and patience wears thin as the stranded drivers soon realize that their cell phones are getting no reception. Fortunately two detectives are near at hand, investigating a body washed onto the shore; Detective Inspector Peter Shaw and his new partner Detective Sergeant George Valentine notice the line of cars and walk over to lend assistance. Starting from the back of the line they proceed from vehicle to vehicle and meet seemingly ordinary people – a Chinese food delivery driver, an elderly woman, a mother rushing to pick up her daughter from school – until they reach the first driver in line, where they discover that the driver is dead, murdered! There is not a single footprint in the snow by the victim’s pick-up truck and none of the stranded drivers saw anyone getting into or out of the truck. They soon realize that these “ordinary folks” are anything but in Death Wore White by Jim Kelly. Summary written by Julie Nelson.
Winterdance by Gary Paulsen. 1,180 miles. Fifteen dogs. One rookie musher. The dream of the Iditarod – 1,180 treacherous miles of Alaskan wilderness on dog sled – became a reality for Gary Paulsen in 1983. He had some experience running dogs in the northern woods of Minnesota, and it was here he developed his profound love and respect for his dogs and began to dream that some day he would race from Anchorage to Nome. The Iditarod, however, would require so much more from Paulsen physically and emotionally than he ever imagined: unstable sea ice, bone-chilling cold, killer moose, all compounded by rookie mistakes like missing the trail completely in Anchorage and running dogs through people’s backyards. Many times he questioned whether he physically could finish the race, he even considered dropping out, but as one old musher said, “you’ve got to dance even when the music sucks.” With wonderful warmth, humor, and passages chockfull of danger and adrenaline, Winterdance is an exhilarating adventure story told by a master storyteller. Summary written by Julie Nelson.
The Snowman by Jo Nesbø. A snowman suddenly appeared in the front yard of Jonas, a little boy. The snowman was typical with a carrot for a nose and pebbles for eyes, yet there was one disturbing feature. Instead of facing the street, the snowman stared into the house and into Jonas’s eyes. That night Jonas’s mother disappeared and in the morning the snowman wore her pink scarf. Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Police investigates the disappearance of Jonas’s mother, but this case may only be one of many disappearances as Harry notices a string of missing women. Fellow officers think Harry is seeking the limelight, but he ignores the accusations and follows the possibility that the missing women might be the victim of a serial killer. This is the fifth book in the Harry Hole Series, but this book can be understood without reading the earlier ones, though some of the previous cases are mentioned. The first book in the series is The Redbreast followed by Nemesis, The Devil’s Star, and The Redeemer. The sixth book in the series is The Leopard followed by The Phantom. Summary written by Christina Callison.
The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin. The tragedy of the Kaufmann family who lost three sons during the terrible blizzard of January 13, 1888 was just one of the many tragedies that affected families throughout Nebraska and the Dakotas. With little warning from the still fledgling weather service, men went to work in their fields that morning and children went to school, never dreaming that the weather that for once was milder than usual should turn so quickly and violently deadly. Decisions had to be made and quickly: Should the schoolchildren stay in the poorly heated school houses or should the teachers risk sending them home? Should wives look for the husbands in the fields or stay inside with their young children? The wrong choice could mean death. Stories of heroism and heartbreak make The Children’s Blizzard an unforgettable account of an unforgettable blizzard. Summary written by Julie Nelson.