• Greg F. Gifune's Midnight Solitaire is a short supernatural horror novel published in 2011. Depending on the version you have got, the novel is about two hundred pages long. It should take somewhere between four and six hours to read.

    The story revolves around four strangers who meet in a run-down motel during a blizzard: a businesswoman who wants to organize some changes in her life, a doctor who chases the murderer of his wife and daughter, a thief who wants to win his wife back and a receptionist who likes to invent stories. They are chased by a mysterious serial killer known as The Dealer and are trying to survive one fateful night.

    The author has won multiple Bram Stoker Awards and certainly knows how to write horror novels. The novel starts and ends on mysterious notes that offer food for thought. The settings in the run-down motel and abandoned restaurant are gripping. The showdown in the blizzard is intense, fast and bloody. The characters are introduced in separate chapters which gives them depth and makes the readers care about them. Once they meet, their relationships evolve intriguingly. The writing style is direct and at times explicit but also shows us how the different characters feel and think which makes for a balanced read. This novel has gore elements but mostly relies on an eerie atmopshere.

    On the negative side, the novel ends with a lazy twist that leaves some questions unanswered. A skilled writer should have made up a more creative ending. The story is written in a complicated simple present tense and this unusual choice somewhat harms the flow of the story. The novel is gripping in the second half but the first half has a few lengths and it shouldn't take almost half of the novel just to introduce all the lead characters one by one. The plot would have benefited from some more background information about the antagonist and its origins instead.

    In the end, Midnight Solitaire is a good read for horror novel fans but only an above average novel for occasional readers.

    Final rating: 65%

    P.S.: More novel reviews are going to be following shortly.

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