‘Twas the night before Halloween and this reviewer finally got around to posting her review on Halloween Carnival Volume 2. Just in time for the spookiest day of the year.
This short story collection is comprised of five short stories:
Mr Dark’s Carnival is by Glen Hirshberg. It’s about a man, David, in search of the town’s long fabled Halloween carnival. When he finds it, it’s more of a scare than he’s bargaining for. This one was slow to get started, dragging out way too much backstory for a short story, but the twist at the end is well worth it. This was my favorite out of all of them.
The Facts in the Case of My Sister is by Lee Thomas. This one tells the story about a man, another David, and his sister. At a young age, David dabbled in magic and is seeing the consequences now that he is older. This story was not as creepy but the ending was slightly jarring. I’m not a huge fan of endings that make you say “Huh?” because it feels like a cheap trick when the rest of the story wasn’t as engaging.
Mischief Night is by Holly Newstein. This one is about Devil’s night, pranking kids, and an alcoholic. And it’s not Devil’s night unless someone dies, right? I wasn’t a fan of this story. Even though the timeline is based around Halloween, the vibes of the story are more from a morals standpoint rather than a fun scare. Again, the story focused too much on backstory rather than driving the here and now of the plot.
The Ghost Maker by is Del James. It’s basically about a mob hit man, where even on Halloween you’ve got to be on guard or risk swimming with the fishes. This was a fun read. The narrator is the real champ of the story, mostly because the writing has a good voice.
Finally, The Pumpkin Boy is by Al Sarrantonio. Written as more of a novella than a short story, the Halloween vibes are back in this story. There’s a creepy pumpkin boy, a disappearance, and a mystery to solve. This story was a bit longer than the rest and had more “meat on it’s bones.” While not my favorite, this one definitely wrapped up the collection with its spooks.
These stories are mostly chalk full of murder, gore, and horror, all revolving around All Hallows Eve. If you’re looking for short, spooky reads, this collection is right up your alley.
I received a free e-ARC of Halloween Carnival Volume 2 from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.