Winner of the Bram Stoker Award and named one of the 100 Best Novels of 2006 by Publishers Weekly, Dark Harvest by Norman Patridge is a powerhouse thrill-ride with all the resonance of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.”
Halloween, 1963. They call him the October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in this small Midwestern town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death.
Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end future in this one-horse town. He’s willing to risk everything, including his life, to be a winner for once. But before the night is over, Pete will look into the saw-toothed face of horror–and discover the terrifying true secret of the October Boy . . .
“You can remember how it was, because you weren’t really any different. You could believe the things that people told you, too. Their words were gospel, and you trusted them. You believed because you were sixteen…or seventeen…or eighteen. You believed because your dreams had started running up against the Line like it was a brick wall that didn’t have a single crack. And you believed—most of all—because you had to. You needed to believe that someone could get out of this town, same way you needed to believe that that someone just might be you.
And you held onto that belief. You had to. You held on, and it saw you through the Run, saw you crowned the winner. And it saw you down the black road to a cleared patch of dirt in a cornfield, a spot where Jerry Ricks’s Smith & Wesson took all your dreams away.”
Definitely a great Halloween read! Fun! The action and tension didn’t let up. The writing style was really good – I felt like I was there, right in the thick of it – and I liked the unique narrative perspective. Loved that it took place within a short span of time – the story moved fast, but had plenty of suspense. Dark Harvest is definitely a requirement for fall and Halloween reading.