Category Archives: Halloween

A Look at Halloween Carnival Volume One

Halloween Carnival, Volume One
Brian James Freeman, ed.
Hydra
ebook only $2.99

I’d like to thank Bryan James Freeman for the review copy of Halloween Carnival, Volume One.  This is the first of five volumes.  It was published on October 3 of this year (2017).  The remaining volumes will be published a week apart.  As of this writing the third volume dropped yesterday.  I hope to be able to read and review all of them before Halloween.

If the packing on the book reminds you of the Dark Screams series, that shouldn’t be surprising.  They from the same publisher and have the same editor. If you’ve read any of that series, then you know they are going to contain some quality fiction.

Here’s what you get with this volume. Continue reading

When The Halloween Children Come Knocking

The Halloween Children
Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss
Hydra
hardcover $24.95
ebook $2.99

I’d like to thank Cemetery Dance Publications for providing me with the review copy.  Told by multiple narrators, none of whom are entirely reliable, this novel chronicles the events in an apartment complex when the complex’s Halloween party is canceled.

Harris is the on-site handyman for the Stillbrook Apartments.  He and his wife Lynn have two children, Matt and Amber.  Lynn’s job as tech support allows her to stay home.  They are a dysfunctional family, with both parents playing favorites with the children (Harris and Matt, Lynn and Amber) while their marriage is slowly unraveling.  Most (but not all) of the chapters are from one of their viewpoints.  Neither have a good grasp of things going on in their home. Continue reading

Halloween Tricks and Treats

dark hallowsDark Hallows: 10 Halloween Haunts
Mark Parker, ed.
Scarlet Galleon
paperback $14.99, 161 p.
ebook $6.99

This book came out last fall, but my copy didn’t arrive until after Halloween, so I waited until this year to read it.  There’s a second volume, but given that I’m writing this on the 27th, it will probably be a next-year-read as well.

Many of the names aren’t authors I’m familiar with.  Obviously I know who Richard Chizmar, Norman Partridge, and Brian James Freeman are, as well as Lisa Morton and Al Sarrantonio.   I’ve heard of a couple of the others, I think.

I’ve got the print version, and it’s a nice production.  The cover art is perfect.  Aaron Dries provided an original illustration for each story, which was a nice touch.

As with most anthologies, some stories were more to my taste than others.  Here are a few of my favorites: Continue reading

Halloween Reading

book jack o lanternI had hoped to have more read and reviewed by now.  There should be some posts coming in the next few days.  Once again there are several books I’ve been intending to read for the last few years that I won’t get read by Halloween.  This year I’m just going to read them no matter what, even if Halloween is over when I do.

The picture is from the blog Displays for Small Academic Libraries.  Check them out.  They have some impressive Halloween themed displayed made of books, including a skull and Dracula.

Don’t Go Out on “Devil’s Night”

e_chizma01“Devil’s Night”
Richard Chizmar
Cemetery Dance
Ebook short story, $0.99

Cemetery Dance has over the last few years published a number of Halloween themed short stories in ebook form.  (They all have the same cover illustration you see here with different text.)  I reviewed some of them a couple of years ago and enjoyed all the ones I read.  Richard Chizmar, in addition to being a top-notch editor, is also a writer.

The night before Halloween is known in many parts of the country as Devil’s Night.  In the story of the same name, a small town high school teacher is alone in the parking lot of an abandoned rural post office on Devil’s Night.  He’s worrying about things and is taking advantage of the solitude to think.  Then a car pulls up in another part of the lot.

The Phantom of the Opera gets out, throws up repeatedly, then takes a body from the trunk.  After disappearing into the woods for a brief time, the Phantom returns to his car and leaves, completely unaware that he’s been observed. Continue reading

You Pay a High Price When You “Pay the Ghost”

Pay the Ghost“Pay the Ghost”
Tim Lebbon
Ebook short story $0.99

I became aware of “Pay the Ghost” when Tim Lebbon posted a link to it on Twitter.  I’ve been so distracted the last few weeks that I wasn’t aware of the Nicholas Cage movie coming out next weekend that’s based on it.

The premise is a man’s daughter disappears shortly after asking him if they pay the ghost while they’re taking a walk on Halloween.  He has no idea what she means by that question, but he’s going to find out.

I’ll not say more about the story because it is after all a short story.  It’s dark and creepy, and it has a bite at the end.  I read it yesterday afternoon while I was waiting on my son to finish an after school activity.  The chill it gave me was a nice relief from the nearly 100 degree heat.

I’ve not read much Lebbon, but what I have read has been good.  I’ve read a couple of shorter pieces set in his world of Noreela and intend to read more.

Here’s a clip of the movie.  Obviously there are some changes, but it looks like they kept the core of the story intact.

 

 

A Journey Through The October Country

October Country 1The October Country
Ray Bradbury
Illustrations by Joe Mugnaini
mass market paperback 307 p., $7.99
ebook Kindle $7.21 Nook $10.99

I first read this collection in the early ’80s, around 1980 or 1981, I think.  Some of the stories have stayed with me (“The Small Assassin”, “The Scythe”), while some I’d completely forgotten (“Touched with Fire”, “The Cistern”).

Most of the stories were recycled from Dark Carnival, with a few being left out and a few being added.  I’d hoped to have time to read the ones left out and discuss the differences in the two collections, but that will have to wait for a later post.  For those unaware, Dark Carnival, from Arkham House, was Bradbury’s first collection.  Original copies are hard to come by and will cost you a pretty penny.  The author’s definitive edition from a decade or so ago isn’t cheap either.

Fortunately there isn’t that much difference in the contents, and the casual reader can enjoy the stories as they appear in this volume.  There will be spoilers on some of them. Continue reading