When The Halloween Children Come Knocking

The Halloween Children
Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss
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.

Harris doesn’t particularly like his job, especially his boss Shawna.  Strange things have been happening, little stuff at first.  The story starts off focusing on the relationships between Harris, Lynn, Matt, and Amber.  There’s something not right about the kids, but Harris and Lynn are too blind to see it, and what they do see is only in the child the other favors.

Eventually Shawna cancels the annual Halloween party (for the safety of the residents, of course), and things begin to pick up speed quickly.  It seems there’s a history about the Stillbrook Apartments that Shawna would like to keep under wraps, and I’d say it’s a living history except I’m not sure a living history can involve the dead.

The ending is somewhat gruesome compared to the first part of the book.  This change in tone was a little unexpected, but wasn’t a big deal.  What I liked were the opposing viewpoints.  They kept you guessing.  This is primarily a character driven story, not a flashy spooky effects story.   There were some nice twists at the end, one in particular I didn’t see coming.

Although The Halloween Children is set at Halloween (duh!), it can be read at any time of the year.  We’ve been having triple digit temps here for the last few days, with highs this coming weekend to be around 105F.  The chill The Halloween Children provides is a good tonic for that.  Check this one out.

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