Written by Norman Partridge, Dark Harvest tells the story of a town embroiled in a Hallowe'en-themed "The Running Man"-type of race. From the Amazon description:
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 . . .
I couldn't put it down. Seriously, couldn't put it down. And it made me want to build Stewie another brother to play with! I had also purchased Johnny Halloween before I left, which is a collection of short stories by Partridge. It includes another story about the October Boy, with a different slant to it, and we are introduced to a younger villain...
Now Partridge revisits Halloween with a collection featuring a half-dozen stories celebrating frights both past and present. In “The Jack o' Lantern,” a brand new Dark Harvest novelette, the October Boy races against a remorseless döppelganger bent on carving a deadly path through the town's annual ritual of death and rebirth. “Johnny Halloween” features a sheriff battling both a walking ghost and his own haunted conscience. In “Three Doors,” a scarred war hero hunts his past with the help of a magic prosthetic hand, while “Satan's Army” is a real Partridge rarity previously available only in a long sold-out lettered edition from another press.
But there's more to this holiday celebration besides fiction. “The Man Who Killed Halloween” is an extensive essay about growing up during the late sixties in the town where the Zodiac Killer began his murderous spree. In an introduction that explores monsters both fictional and real, Partridge recalls what it was like to live in a community menaced by a serial killer and examines how the Zodiac's reign of terror shaped him as a writer.
Halloween night awaits. Join a master storyteller as he explores the layers of darkness that separate all-too-human evil from the supernatural. Let Norman Partridge lead you on seven journeys through the most dangerous night of the year, where no one is safe…and everyone is suspect.
The cover art, as you can see, is inspirational. I'm already going nuts with trying to get everything made for my upcoming shows, but these covers really make me want to abandon all responsibility and make some new props for Halloween, since I haven't had the time to make them for a while. And the stories, themselves are engaging and wonderful grist for the horror and Hallowe'en mill.
But maybe, just maybe, I can stop sleeping for a few days--? ;)