Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Winter Knife (Minnesota Strange, Book 1) by Laramie Sasseville

Release date: December 30, 2016
Subgenre: Dark fantasy, young adult fantasy

About The Winter Knife:

Death stalks a snowbound city from below... Feral dogs are blamed when a popular teen is killed. Is it just coincidence that he disappeared after infuriating 14-year-old Haley, who is torn between her anger and her desire to belong? More attacks implicate a creature of Northwoods myth she befriended in its summer form. As the DNR leads a cougar hunt in town, Haley makes a desperate plan to steal a car and use their empathic bond to lead the creature away from the city -- driving alone into the fangs of a blizzard that makes roads hazardous even for experienced drivers. If she fails, either her monster or more members of her community will die.



George dumped the contents of the wastebaskets from bathroom, bedrooms and den into a larger bag, collected the sack from the kitchen bin and tied off both trash bags. He stopped at the back door to put on his coat, hat and gloves. He could do without the extra sweater and his scarf for the two minutes it would take to walk these out to the dumpster, but he wasn’t crazy. This kind of weather'd kill you if you weren’t careful. A few seconds without gloves and your fingers ached with the cold; even with gloves you felt it.
The bags thumped against his thighs as he took them to the dumpster behind the duplex, down at the end of the driveway and parking area shared by the two units. At 6:30 p.m. the sun had been down for a couple hours, but the city lights bouncing between low cloud cover and fallen snow made the night sky bright. A streetlight at the end of the alley added to the glow. No problem seeing where he was going.
The night held its breath on these residential side streets, so still and quiet. Hardly any traffic. No birds or dogs out in the cold. His home, like those of surrounding neighbors, stayed sealed tight against the killing cold. Everyone had windows of insulating glass, with another layer of storm windows inside that, then more layers of blinds and heavy drapes. His mother worked in the kitchen, radio tuned loud to the college jazz station. Dad hid in his den. Every house on the block would be as closed and insulated as theirs.
A door slammed somewhere down the block as he lifted the lid of the dumpster. The first bag went in fine, but, as he hefted the second, the dumpster lurched to the side and he barely snatched his hand out of the way in time as the lid slammed down again.
He didn’t have time to curse. Whatever had moved the dumpster rushed him, something white as the snow. He saw only gaping jaws lined with sharp white teeth, before those jaws closed on his leg.
He fell backward, scrabbling ineffectually at the icy tarmac beneath him while an unrelenting strength dragged him deep into the heavy snow piled behind the dumpster. He had barely time to cry out. Pain drove all else from his mind. In a split second George’s scream cut off as the snow closed over his head. That single, choked-off cry echoed on the chill night air and faded to silence.
The piled snowdrift was far from soft or fluffy. Thick chunks and clods of packed snow had been shoveled from the drive and piled into a miniature mountain. It made hard going, but the jaws clamped on his leg held tremendous strength. That grip cut into his leg like knives. Tears started in George’s eyes, but tears weren’t his concern as the looser snow blocked his nose and pressed against his mouth. He gasped, but it only got snow into his mouth. He tried to struggle, but the weight of the thick drift above proved too great. He couldn’t breathe. The knifing pain in his leg encompassed his chest and lungs now.



About Laramie Sasseville: 

Laramie Sasseville was born in Minneapolis Minnesota and lived there most of her life, so is long-familiar with winters that may not impress Canadians or residents of Antarctica, but should impress anyone else. The winter temperatures at times go lower than those on the surface of Mars. This environment has taught her the value of warm communities and dressing for the weather. She's also loved stories of fantasy, folklore and speculative fiction since first learning to read and is active in her local f/sf fan community. 'The Winter Knife' takes its inspiration from the folklore of the loggers of the northwoods of Minnesota, Michigan and the upper midwest area of the USA in a previous century. 

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  1. Thanks, Cora, for featuring 'The Winter Knife' - I'm excited to share it with your readers, and would like to note that it's currently discounted on Amazon, from 3.99 to .99 as a pre-release celebration!