That's what Night, Winter, and Death (Ballantine, May 1990) seemed to offer up when I first began reading it. Lee Hawks is a pseudonym of Dave Pedneau (1947-1990), who also wrote crime fiction. A journalist before he began publishing books, he's a capable, engaging writer, at ease depicting a small town and its inhabitants; he draws you in with a practiced eye and notes the right details that makes you feel right at home. His evocative title is drawn from a 1933 bestseller, Guy Endore's The Werewolf of Paris (a book I own but haven't read). A blog reader brought Night to my attention some years back when I reviewed Pedneau's How Dear the Dawn, also a comfort-food style horror novel, which he wrote under another pseudonym, Marc Eliot.
Also: I've been done with cops in my horror fiction for ages, long before our current sociopolitical climate. If I wanna read about cops I'll read a crime novel, but in horror I feel like they never add anything to the proceedings. Graham Masterton in The Manitou and Clive Barker in Cabal feature the police in the correct way: as being completely, utterly useless in dealing with the supernatural and getting wiped out in the process. Thematically I think that's perfect, but in practice I don't even want them as characters. Whooo cares.
Scattered throughout Night there are decent enough moments—one man's painful descent into lycanthropy was handled well—but eventually that "coziness" becomes the curse itself, a smothering folksiness that defangs, if you will, the general proceedings. I couldn't wait to be done. Despite its terrific title, Night, Winter, and Death offers little more than a good writer working beneath his skill set, an uncomfortable fact quite the opposite indeed of coziness.