cover image All Hallows

All Hallows

Christopher Golden. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-28029-9

Golden (Road of Bones) disappoints with this derivative and decidedly unscary outing set in 1984 Coventry, Mass., on Halloween Eve. The holiday is a big occasion in the small town, headlined by the Haunted Woods, an elaborate display complete with special effects and cosplayers, staged by local Tony Barbosa as a charity fund-raiser. This year, however, will see the last such event, due to the Barbosas’ strained finances. Instead of a glorious finale, however, the Barbosas and their neighbors are subjected to supernatural manifestations, including a mysterious and scared young girl dressed as Raggedy Ann who claims she’s being pursued by the Cunning Man. The predictable terror that ensues afflicts the entire community, as a killer with small flames in place of eyes attacks, eviscerating young and old alike. Meanwhile, domestic secrets—including marital infidelities, sexual orientation, and criminality—are revealed. Hopping between the perspectives of various one-dimensional characters does nothing to make the night’s horrors feel any more surprising or suspenseful. If this bit of ’80s nostalgia is intended to capitalize on the success of Stranger Things, it falls far short. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Jan.)