Matthew Hellman and “The Biting Cold” on U.P. Notable Book Club

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MATTHEW HELLMAN is an award-winning author who was educated as an Electrical Engineer but has worked most of his life in law enforcement. Probably because those two things go together like peanut butter and jelly… Always a fan of good writing, he is studying the craft and moving toward a retirement gig as an author. He enjoys the freedom of fiction and the ability to employ his creative mind in the horror genre.

Matt’s latest novel, “The Biting Cold” was recently awarded a U.P. Notable Book honor. His first novel, “Solomon’s Seal”, was published by Beacon Publishing Group (BPG) in November 2019. His novella, “The Hawthorne Blow”, was published in January 2021. One of Hellman’s short stories, “My Nameless Beast”, is featured in the anthology, “Six Guns Straight From Hell 3”, published by Science Fiction Trails Publishing in September 2020. This was all a well-thought-out marketing blitz by Hellman so that he had offerings covering the full spectrum of the human attention span. Matt lives with his wife and three great kids in Michigan’s beautiful upper peninsula.

What is it about wintertime that lends itself so supplely to the horror genre? Beginning with Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” in 1908, the dangerous beauty of winter was driven home.  Now throw in a dash of the supernatural, as in John W. Campbell’s “Who Goes There?”, which inspired John Carpenter’s low-budget classic “The Thing” (1982) and you have a real recipe for edge-of-your-seat chills. Matthew Hellman builds on the winter-horror tradition with his latest novel “The Biting Cold”.  In 1842, the Ontonagon Boulder, an immense tonnage of float copper was removed from the eponymous county. That very same year, the Chippewa ceded all claims to 30,000 square miles of the Upper Peninsula to the United States Government. Hellman uses the purported disappearance of people in Copper Harbor in 1842 as the central mystery of “The Biting Cold”.  What did those Native Americans know that made them happy to be rid of Copper Harbor?

Outside of Copper Harbor, a few other locales are mentioned such as Calumet and Eagle Harbor. A key discovery takes place on top of Brockway Mountain which will serve as a secondary anchor in the action of the coming battle. The mountain it seems is concealing a series of important aspects of the evil to come including petroglyphs and huge sinkhole that threatens to swallow our two teenage protagonists.

Throughout the area during the ensuing winter, Hellman portrays snowmobile and snowshoe pursuit scenes with great detail and accuracy.  He has a penchant for introducing winter survival techniques and traps in just the right proportion and at just the right juncture in the storytelling. Even though I grew up watching snowmobile races outside Mackinaw City, I learned a thing or two about the dangers of handling a big machine in untracked snows, such as how it can dig itself into a hole in an unpacked snowbank.

— Read the full review by Victor R. Volkman on U.P. Book Review.

More information about the U.P. Notable Book list, U.P. Book Review, and UPPAA can be found on

About the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association (UPPAA)

Established in 1998 to support authors and publishers who live in or write about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, UPPAA is a Michigan nonprofit association with over 100 members, many of whose books are featured on the organization’s website at UPPAA welcomes membership and participation from anyone with a UP connection who is interested in writing.


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