This story and the next story up for review are a pair I got back in September, one horror and the other erotic, pretty much with the plan to keep them in reserve until December to have a little something to go along with the horrorday season. With this story I feel that I found one that would fit in quite well with that plan, however, to paraphrase that old standard, "Never judge an eBook by its cover."
It isn't that Snowmen is an awful story, but it's not all that spectacular either. It is a very brief tale of an elderly widower who builds a display made up of snowmen every winter in his front yard that becomes a local tradition with people coming from miles around to visit. Edgar comes off as a kindly and lonely figure who takes pleasure in his project and the company it brings him, yet he has nightmares about his snowmen coming to life and coming after him, seemingly for no apparent reason and not really fitting into the tale of a kindly old man.
The story suffers the most due to its short length, and its failure to truly develop Edgar's character overall, or providing a sense of menace in regards to the malevolent snowmen in his dreams. The surprise twist at the end really does nothing to enhance the story, and it took a second read and a week of thinking it over before I got the irony that was involved in the ending. Overall it's a Three Star short story, and judging from the reviews and ratings on Melzer's other works compared to the ones on this one it's apparent that, at least other readers who have seen more from him, are of the opinion that he is capable of much better than this one.
Snowmen is in freebie territory and attached to it is a three chapter preview of Melzer's novella Hull's Landing, which far exceeds the length of the title story. Hull's Landing, from what I have gathered from the preview, is a story about a group of men, some secret cult or order, that kidnaps a young woman, gang rapes her over the weekends, then ultimately kills her just before finding a replacement as part of a ritual that spans generations. Just the sample and what was in it seemed to stretch the logic and credibility of such events too far, so it again ends up as one of those samples that does nothing to entice me to go out and put money down for, "The rest of the story," as the late, great, Paul Harvey used to say.
You can find you copy of Snowmen here. Again it's not a totally awful little read, and probably is one of those stories that is no doubt more loved by the younger crowd than me:
I'll be lurking for you later. And also as Paul Harvey used to sign off, "Good day!"