Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke

Mind of Winter chronicles a single Christmas day in a Detroit suburban home. Holly’s sleep is interrupted by a strange sensation that “Something had followed them home from Russia.” When Holly and her husband Eric oversleep, Eric must race to the airport to pick up his parents while Holly finds that their 15-year-old daughter, Tatiana, hasn’t gotten out of bed either. Holly ruminates on her unsettled feelings throughout the day while remembering the Christmas when she and Eric had gone to Siberia to adopt Tatiana. As the day’s snowstorm turns into a blizzard, none of their family or friends are able to come for the planned feast and Eric has to detour to a hospital when his mother’s confusion needs attention. Left alone with Tatiana all day, Holly ruminates on her daughter’s shortcomings – she hasn’t even set the table – as well as her rare Russian beauty and her kindness toward everyone but Holly.

As the day wanes and the blizzard gains strength, the house appears to be haunted with a strange aura or could it be that Holly is imagining it?  Author Kasischke is an accomplished poet and the rhythmic language she weaves to highlight Holly’s repetitive cogitations gives the novel an eerie feeling that escalates as evening approaches.The reader begins to wonder if Holly is truly disturbed or just neurotic and anxious because of the unforeseen changes in the day. Holly’s bizarre behavior continues and ultimately leads to an unexpected and chillingly horrifying ending.

Kasischke sets each word as if she were a mosaic artist placing intricately shaped and colored tiles to form a mural that won’t reveal its subject until the viewer steps back and views it in its entirety.The disturbing conclusion will appeal to Gone Girl and Stephen King fans as well as to readers looking for a smart, fast-paced, disconcerting tale. 

Summing it Up: If you’re looking for a searing psychological thriller that will leave you shaking with its shocking conclusion, read this book. You’ll want to devour it in one sitting and if you’re anything like this reader, you’ll immediately turn back to page one and start again to appreciate the craft and to examine the way the puzzle pieces fit together.

Rating: 4 stars   
Category: Fiction, Mysteries and Thrillers, Book Club
Publication date: March 25, 2014
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