Johnny Halloween: Tales of the Dark Season

Norman Partridge, Cemetery Dance, $30 (128p) ISBN 9781587672231
Stoker winner Partridge (Dark Harvest) displays his superior prose skills in this collection of six short stories set around Halloween. The title tale is replete with twists that are both surprising and logical as a sheriff's complex past is revived when he responds to a fatal liquor store holdup. "Satan's Army" is a bit more heavy-handed, as religious zealots who believe The Wizard of Oz is satanic go to extreme measures to make their point. The high point is "The Jack o' Lantern," set in the Dark Harvest universe and featuring a hunt for the October Boy, a pumpkin-headed creature who terrorizes an unnamed American town. This deft blend of horror, fantasy, and noir will leave readers hoping for a longer return to that mythos. The only weak point is an essay about the Zodiac Killer, "The Man Who Killed Halloween," which lacks the length needed for real terror. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/25/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
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