The third installment in the Halloween Carnival series. McBride’s is the anchor in this installment, but newcomers, Armstrong and Grant, give nice little additions as well. Let’s get right into them:
The Way Lost – Kelley Armstrong
Every year, in the town of Franklin, a child disappears. No one talks about it and everyone goes about their business. Dale Tucker knows what happens. Or does he?
A fun tale of small town legend meets reality.
4.5 out of 5 stars
La Calavera – Kate Maruyama
A roommate is a little too obsessive over her friend getting a boyfriend and moving on with her life. An okay story that you knew how it was going to end long before it did.
3 out of 5 stars
The Devil’s Due – Michael McBride
The small town of Pine Springs, CO has enjoyed over a century of prosperity. On Halloween, it’s time to pay for that prosperity. But this Halloween, Thom isn’t willing to pay the price. Great story telling that only McBride can do.
5 out of 5 stars
A Thousand Rooms of Darkness – Taylor Grant
Anne suffers from a debilitating phobia of Halloween. Her family members were killed in freak accidents, all on the October 31st. She decides to move to Colorado for a fresh start, but the holiday is fast approaching. Bad stuff starts happening and Anne is slowly consumed with dread. The story seemed slow until the ending which brought a whole new light to the tale. Loved it’s uniqueness.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars
The Last Night of October – Greg Chapman
An elderly invalid anxiously awaits the nightmare from his past to visit his door on Halloween. Oh where to start with this one? Let me start by saying that I think this was a decent story. It had many elements that I would’ve enjoyed a whole lot more if the delivery was better. Let me explain. First, Chapman didn’t do his homework with his dates. If you’re going to do a flashback to a bygone era, get the information right. When he goes back to set up how Gerald’s loathing of Halloween came to be, he uses the year 1952. He then goes on to describe Gerald’s new friend wearing a Minnesota Twins hat. The old Washington Senators didn’t relocate to Minnesota and become the Twins until 1961. He then describes how the neighbor boys talked back and forth between their bedrooms with walkie talkies. Those types of wireless walkie talkies weren’t available until the 1960s. The ones from the early 1950s had wires that connected to them and didn’t use antennas. If it were only those two items, I’d still think the story was sloppy, but I could still overlook it. What I can’t overlook is the dialogue between the characters. In the beginning, Gerald and Kelli were at each other’s throats. Gerald was the crotchety old man that just wanted her out of the house. Then, once they’re trapped, he immediately calms down and begins talking completely calm to her which leads into him spilling his guts to let the reader in on the backstory. Again, sloppy delivery. There was such an abrupt shift in his disposition that my suspension of disbelief crashed and it could never get back on track. This was only one example of the many times this happened and it made what had the makings of a really fun story. To me, a story like this that has so much potential but doesn’t deliver is much more frustrating than a story that completely stinks with very little redeeming qualities.
2 out of 5 stars
Overall, a decent collection marred by a couple of clunkers. Still worth picking up, if only for McBride’s tale.
3 3/4 out of 5 stars
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