Book Review: The Cold by Rich Hawkins

the cold

Title: The Cold

Author: Rich Hawkins

Release date: July 22, 2019

Rich Hawkins and I connected some time ago, either on Twitter or Facebook, and we’ve bantered back and forth for some time. His books frequently get recommended to me from fellow horror lovers and I have his release ‘King Carrion’ still to read.

But ‘The Cold’ has been the one that has intrigued me the most. Two big reasons really. The first is the premise/setting. You know I love my snow based horror. Add in tentacled monsters and I’ve sold. I mean look at that cover. The second reason is Adrian Shotbolt aka The GrimReader telling me how much he knew I’d love it. Adrian is one of the readers/reviewers I respect the most and when he says I’ll love a book, I can’t wait. I have a second recommendation from him I’m about to start and I’m very excited.

What I liked: ‘The Cold’ kicks off moments after a train crash/derailment where Seth and a few others managed to survive. The reason for the train crash, at first, is believed to be the massive blizzard that has arrived in the middle of summer. As Seth tries to figure out just what happened, a memory of what he saw just before the crash comes back – a massive beast from the sky.

From here ‘The Cold’ is 100% an emotionally driven survival story. A few of the people from the train crash begin to search for shelter and other people while things arrive to rip them limb from limb. Hawkins creates a chaotic story, but I loved the depth we get to each character. Little details come about that fill in who the person was and when the inevitable carnage ensues, you’ll feel sorrow that another character has left for good.

It was BP Gregory on Facebook who commented on my post saying I was reading this, that “this is one of those stories where I really enjoy the moment I go from ‘hell yeah I’d totally survive this’ to ‘oooh boy I really really wouldn’t.’ (Saying that, I would survive. For a bit. I like the cold. It’s the running. I’m not built to run!)

That statement is bang on true. Between the apparently never ending onslaught of membranous creatures, to the non-stop deluge of snow, to the realization that life will never be the same, Hawkins has crafted an absolutely despondent story filled with glimpses of hope that get snatched away in the blink of an eye.

What I didn’t like: If you haven’t figured it out yet I loved this story. Saying that, there was one thing I noticed that kind of made me shake my head, but then just let the story go and not look to deep into it. Suspension of belief let’s call it.

It’s summer. It randomly snows. A LOT. But some how the characters end up with appropriate clothing to keep them warm enough to survive? I don’t know if that’s an English/UK thing, but here in Canada (where it gets cold!) we typically pack all our winter gear away during the summer months. Minor, but noticeable.

Why you should read it: ‘Bird Box.’ ‘The Silence.’ ‘A Quiet Apocalypse.’ In the last little bit, we’ve been blessed with some truly stunning survival horror stories where things arrive and humans try to remain living. ‘The Cold’ easily slots alongside these and should take it’s place as one of the best snow based horror stories. This was action from page one and never let up. I heard rumblings that a sequel may arrive at some point, and I’d be completely up for that. Keep in mind that salvation most likely will never come. Much like we see in the BPRD comics, when the sky cracks and the beasts arrive, the only option is to stay alive for as long as you can. There’s no going back.


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