Friday, October 27, 2017

Review: Halloween Carnival Volume Four - Ed. by Brian James Freeman

3 of 5 Stars     Review copy

During the month of October 2017, Brian James Freeman and the folks at Hydra, have gotten together to present a total of twenty-five Halloween tales of horror from twenty-five of the best genre writers working today.  Every Tuesday during October there will be a new volume in the Halloween Carnival anthology series.

Volume Four is my least favorite so far this series but it's still worth your time this Halloween reading season.

The Mannequin Challenge by Kealan Patrick Burke - A Twilight Zone kind of story about an office Halloween party and a rather bizarre mannequin challenge. There were sixteen people in all, every one of them in costume, every one of them playing statues."  All except Theo, late to the party, no costume, and his reaction is perfect.

Across the Tracks by Ray Garton - Sometimes you have to cross the tracks to find a better neighborhood for trick-or-treating.  "That was another benefit of crossing the tracks on Halloween.  There were frequent parties underway in the houses they visited, and a lot of hot moms wore slutty costumes.  It was a great opportunity for eleven and twelve-year-old boys to catch a glimpse of some thighs and cleavage that were not on a screen."  What Kenny, Sam, and JayJay stumble upon at one such house was certainly an eye-opener.

The Halloween Tree by Bev Vincent -  My favorite story in this collection.  Trick or treating with friends and a scary old tree. "On Halloween night they'd have to walk beneath it and that was freaking Luke out."

Pumpkin Eater by C. A. Suleman - An interesting story about how couples grow apart over the years.

When the Leaves Fall by Paul Melniczek - This collection's novella is about a terror which slowly consumes a town and they way one young man deals with it as a kid and then as an adult.  There is some lovely prose in this story.  "Leaves had begun their slow patient glide to death weeks ago and now September was just a recent memory, as October wrapped the landscape in its dusky arms and stole its life, peeling apart the summer flowers and snatching up the burnt orange and yellow leaves, pulling them to the ground where they dried into husks and shriveled away."

I may have been a bit disappointed in this set of Halloween tales, but I'm still looking forward to Volume Five to close out the series.

Halloween Carnival Volume Four is published by Hydra, a division of Random House, and is available as an ebook.

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