Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge – Book Review

(What’s that – you say you don’t have that tradition where you’re from? I swear, how are people raising kids nowadays??)

Dark Harvest

Nearly all of the action takes place during the five days leading up to Halloween, with a few well-placed flashbacks sprinkled in for good measure. Our hero, young Pete McCormick, wants desperately to be the town’s Champion this year. More than the new Cadillac and the free mortgage awarded to the winner, he longs for the most coveted prize of them all – a one-way trip out of his dead-end hometown, because the annual winner is the only person who’s ever been allowed to leave. But as the competition to kill the October Boy gets underway, Pete begins to question this admittedly insane tradition of sending a pack of kids out to hunt down Ol’ Hacksaw Face. Why does everyone want to kill a useless old scarecrow anyways?

The story takes a few twists and turns, but in the end you wind up right where you expected to be. Overall, a great way to spend the day, and just the book you want to have on hand for Halloween.

**Excerpt**

If the October Boy had knees he’d be on them, kneeling as he is at the shrine of the autumn moon.

Or maybe it’s the shrine of the man with the knife. After all, that’s who’s looming over the October Boy like an onyx statue, his silhouette standing between the Boy and the large dome of a moon half-risen against the indigo sky… Then the man kneels, and moonlight washes both of them…

Determined strokes of the blade give the Boy a face. First come the eyes, a pair of triangles sliced narrow. Then the nose, which, of course, is wider – a barbed arrowhead of a hole that will provide the illusion of flared nostrils when finished…. His wrist begins to ache, but his hand does not hesitate until an exhalation exits the October Boy’s nostrils, warming the man’s cold fingers…

The man stares at the October Boy. He does not say a word. His actions speak for him. He extends the butcher knife. Thick tendrils vine around the hilt as the Boy takes it. And now the man’s hand is empty, and his white fingers stiffen as they stretch through the darkness, tracing the path of the road.

Every finger but one curls into a fist.

The man points toward the town.

The Boy with the knife starts toward it.

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