Tom O’Neil: Happy New Year from my snowy mountain cabin

Here’s my favorite way to spend the New Year holiday – up at my snow-kissed cabin in the Pennsylvania Poconos where deer, pheasants and chickadees dart between the trees and across a frozen lake while I get snug before a dancing fire inside.

I’m reading an old tradepaper book. Remember paper? It’s “The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century,” which includes short works by literary titans like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, John Steinbeck, Willa Cather, James Thurber and Flannery O’Conner plus spookmeisters Ellery Queen, Harlan Ellison and Ross Macdonald. I’m surprised by who I think has the best work so far in my reading: Stephen King. His “Quitters, Inc.” is … wow, yikes, yeowsa. I’ve made a sorry mistake underestimating this man till now.

Such are the splendid discoveries I enjoy while I put aside my cyber-obsession and Oscarmania for a moment as 2013 winds down. I hope you’re doing something similar. Alas, later on, probably in the morning, I’ll get back to blogging because I must unravel some other mysteries: Can “Gravity” or “American Hustle” really beat “12 Years a Slave”? Are we all underestimating “Captain Phillips” and “The Wolf of Wall Street”?

But for now I’m content to curl up with this dusty book. The mystery I’m reading now really slays me – Brendan DuBois‘ “The Dark Snow” – about a guy all alone in a rustic cabin retreat under attack by vicious hooligans on snowmobiles. They want him out of there – or dead. The guy in the cabin has a weapons stash, but all I’ve got is a fireplace poker, coffee mug and an eerie feeling that I hear strange noise in the distance …. hmmm … please pardon me while I get back to the book.

Happy New Year to all Derbyites!

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