A Town Called Immaculate, By Peter Anthony

Recalling the icy landscapes of Fargo and Affliction, Peter Anthony's debut delivers all the pay offs of a cinematic chiller. Set in Immaculate, a small Minnesota farming community, the township is knee-deep in roadside shrines and creepy garden-front Madonnas – reminders of its immigrant past. It's Christmas Eve, and the town is hunkering down in readiness for a serious blizzard.

Ray Marak, a well-built Vietnam vet, returns home to protect his family, only to trigger an avalanche of disasters when he takes in an unexpected visitor from the storm. In an enjoyable slice of seasonal hokum, Anthony builds a suspenseful plot around men "too much in love with liquor, cows, or both", and women still haunted by high-school trysts and long-ago secrets.

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