Review of The Snow Cow: Ghost Stories for Skiers by Martin Kochanski
Universalis Publishing Limited (2009), Paperback, 192 pages
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0956319904, Paperback)
The skier who leaves tracks on inaccessible mountain faces – is he dead or alive?
Your chalet girl – could she be a mass murderer?
A woman on her wedding night, a promise made to the devil – how can she escape?
Experience impossible love in ‘Not This Time’. Ski with a ghost in ‘The Long Man’. Discover a new twist to an old legend in ‘The Passport of Dorian Gray’. And be haunted by the terrifying tale of ‘The Snow Cow’ herself!
The thirteen stories in The Snow Cow tell of love and death, terror and joy, mixing ancient myths with modern legends. They are stories to be shared in the firelight after a long day’s skiing.
I tried. I really did. I wanted to write a fair (as in complete) review of this book, but I simply couldn’t finish it.
The book is billed as horror stories all in the context of skiing. They were more like bad stories told around a campfire to scare everyone – and they simply fell flat. I didn’t find any of them scary or eerie…almost every story I read ended with me saying “huh?” and paging back to try and figure out what I had missed. Some had a semi-decent buildup but they didn’t lead anywhere, just kind of ended. Some did succeed in being somewhat disquieting. Most followed the same formula of: narrator goes skiing, narrator has accident/supernatural experience/dies mysteriously, everyone is puzzled. Sometimes it is someone other than the narrator that dies mysteriously…and everyone is still puzzled. Meh. There was not one character I could relate to, there was too much missing and they seemed very one-dimensional. And the women were all awful – I don’t need to read misogynistic writing, thanks.
After the first couple of stories it became a chore to pick up the book and continue. Bad sign. I did force myself to read a few more. But life is just too short to read something you don’t enjoy reading.
I did learn about skiing conditions and atmosphere in Switzerland, which was something I had no previous experience with. That’s not enough to recommend this book.