Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dark Harvest, (TOR Books), by Norman Partidge

You know what time it is. The nights are longer, the air cooler and crisp, and the leaves turned. Harvest has passed and the fields are lined with dry but still standing and endless rows of corn. The pumpkins are bloated and blazing orange, and everything seems harder, somehow...the ground, the black asphalt roads out by Old Man Prichett's farm, and maybe even you.

It's the end of October. Halloween night. The world feels pulled tight at the edges. Like a thin flap of skin stretched over something that wants to get out. Something bad. Things feel thinner this time of year, and of know. You've done this before.

It's Halloween. A time for stories about monsters that go bump in the night and nightmares that leave cold sweats in their wake. You've been here. Did this last year. So you know what to expect. It's Halloween, after all. Monsters are monsters and good guys are just that, ready to put down the monsters or die trying, which they so often do.

Except you don't know.

You haven't been here before.

Because this is Dark Harvest.

By Norman Partridge. So it's not the same as before. Not at all.

It's completely different. From everything you know.

Dark Harvest is simply the most original Halloween tale you're going to find this year. It's time for the October Boy to rise into unnatural life. Time for every sixteen year old boy in town to brave the Run. Deprived of food and locked in their rooms for days, these boys hunger for fame and fortune and violence all that comes with slaying the October Boy.

Thing is, Peter McCormick wants none of that. Maybe he's got an uncommon imagination, can dream of life past this place. Maybe he's just different. Anyway, he's got a few surprises in store for the October Boy and this town. If he's got to play the game, he's going to play it different. His way. And that's just fine.

Because tonight the October Boy's got a few surprises of his own. Things are going to change, and nothing's going to be the same here. Ever again.

People talk often in horror reviews about an author having "a unique voice". Usually that's a cover for poor craft and style...but this is the real deal. Stylistically speaking, Dark Harvest is one of the most finely crafted novels I've read in years. It manages to blend a first, second, and third person present tense narrative into seamless storytelling perfection. And, along the way it's simply a great story, with some unexpected heroism to boot. This is the new standard Halloween stories should be judged by. Pick it up in time for Halloween. You won't be disappointed.

Visit and Buy it today.

Kevin Lucia is the Review Editor for Shroud Magazine. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies. He's currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children. He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles, and he's currently working on his first novel for Shroud Publishing, due 2011. Visit him on the web at

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