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Dark Harvest

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  2,312 ratings  ·  270 reviews
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award and named one of the 100 Best Novels of 2006 by Publishers Weekly, Dark Harvest by Norman Patridge is a powerhouse thrill-ride with all the resonance of Shirley Jackson’s "The Lottery."

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
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Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Tor Books (first published October 11th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Alejandro
It was entertained but I was expecting something better


NOT REACHED EXPECTATIONS

I had huge expectation about this short novel since I had just read a short story by the same author, Norman Partridge, in the anthology Halloween, edited by Paula Guran. The short story was titled Three Doors and it was one of the stories that I enjoyed the most. That's why I didn't hesitate to engage into this, after that anthology into this novel.

However, I wasn't able to find the same "magic" in the writing o
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Mark
Buddy-read with Kasia

What this reads like as of page 42: "Go to aisle 12. Move halfway down the aisle. On your right - no, your left - look down past the top, then the fourth, then the third, then the second, and finally the bottom most shelf. There, look at the jarred pickles. You want to pick up the jar that has 12 fl. oz. To the right and left of this jar will be smaller and larger jars. You want to avoid those. Don't pick up the smaller or larger jars. You want to pick up the one that says 1
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Peggy
Fall is here, and with it, that greatest of holidays, Halloween. There's a chill in the air (metaphorically, if not actually), and the times call for a matching chill in reading material. What could be better than a good scary story on a chilly Halloween night?

I came to Norm Partridge's Dark Harvest with high hopes: I'm a big fan of his collection The Man With the Barbed-Wire Fists, so I already knew he could write. But even having read him before, I wasn't prepared for how quickly this book suc
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Evans Light
An absolutely amazing book, probably the best I've read so far this year. DARK HARVEST maintains it's pulsing, poetic prose and fevered pitch up until the very end. It's a rich brew, to be sure - the literary equivalent of dark chocolate chased with a shot of whiskey and a whiff of cinnamon - but the way the tale is told and the plot constructed perfectly counterbalances the dense tangle of metaphors and imagery that binds the whole thing together.
DARK HARVEST marries the wild creativity of Joe
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Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This is a small novel (around 100 pages). The premise was something we've seen somewhere in another books but the twists Herr Norman gave made it unique. Halloween is a time of trick or treat - so what better than to chase the Pumpkin monster instead of him chasing you? Every year boys with 16 or 17 year old must try to stop the October Boy (or Ol'Hacksaw Face) reaching from the outskirts of the town to Church, in the center of the Midwestern town. The October boy is only armed with a knife and ...more
Lou
It's Halloween time in a Midwestern town 1963.
A Haunting descendth upon a town! The October Boy cometh!
But why? And what is his origin? One thing for sure is he has a Jack O Lantern head. There is some dark goings on in this town once a year, will this be the last of its occurrences?
The October Boy is something of a creation in same way Frankenstein created his being in which both are sent on a path of fear and terror amongst the town dwellers.
Written in a nice prose the story flows well, a st
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Lou
It's Halloween time in a Midwestern town 1963.
Someone haunting is amidst the town The October Boy cometh, but why and what is his origin one thing fir sure is he has a Jack O Lantern head. There is some dark goings on in this town once a year will this be the last will it come to an end?
The October Boy is something of a creation in same way Frankenstein created his being in which both are sent on a path of fear and terror amongst the town dwellers.
Written in a nice prose flows well, a story of t
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Maciek
If there was a horror novel(la) which would embody all tropes of Halloween, then Dark Harvest would be it. It's a short novella - under 200 pages - which can easily be read in one or two sittings, and that's exactly what I did - I saved it for the last day of October.

There's really not much that could be said about Dark Harvest, as it recycles all the familiar themes of horror fiction of the past: a remote small town in the 1960's, a closely-knit group of friends, and a terrible secret...there's
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Adam Light
DARK HARVEST is one of those books that comes along once in a while that is just about perfect.
Halloween themed horror at its finest.
'Nuff said.
Kathryn
Wasn't an episode of Supernatural based on this book? No? Well, it certainly felt like it. Not that such a thought is an insult, as I loved the show before Season 6. Yet I couldn't get the idea out of my head. I bet Dean and Sam are running around the town trying to kill The October Boy was my main thought through most of the story. Needless to say, I was unable to loose myself within the story. Yet from cover to cover, the pacing was fast and unfolded in a wonderful way, which is the only reaso ...more
⊱ Irena ⊰
3.5
Every Halloween teenage boys of a weird little town go out at night and hunt the October Boy. Killing the Boy means a ticket from the town, but he hunts them in return.

This Halloween it is Pete McCormick's turn to participate in the Run. He is going to learn a lot more about the town than he expected.

If I had to describe this in one sentence it would be a heartbreaking horror story with a great ending. Perfect for this time of year.
Charlene
This was a quick Halloween story- the small town hiding a secret type-deal that most horror readers are familiar with.

Maybe I'm a bit tired of this theme, or maybe this particular story was itself tired, but I was disappointed. I did like October Boy (a very cool creation), but the other characters, with the exception of Ricks, were flat.

This might be a fun tale for a chilly October night, as long as you're not expecting to have your mind blown.
Matt
Aug 22, 2008 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Matt by: D_Davis
Shelves: horror, thriller, fantasy
So I picked up the text and started flipping through it and got very bored very early on. Horror stories are usually like that for me, because they are so darn predictable and so filled with pent up teenage hormones, gasoline fumes, and slimy body fluids. Maybe back when I was 16, all this horrorshow ultra-vee with a John Mellencamp soundtrack might have charged me up, but at some point after 30 I stopped worrying about how badass I am or might be and the whole adrenaline pumping thing turned in ...more
Ken
All-in-all I really enjoyed "Dark Harvest". It was seasonal, a great Halloween read, and the story and the premise were creepy and certainly held my attention cover to cover.

But, (slight spoilers here!!!!) somehow I felt a little let down by the ending. I would like to have known more about the Harvester's Guild, their motivations, why the Boy was necessary, what curse was being held at bay, what rewards were reaped by those holding it at bay. I realize vague endings are a mechanism that many wr
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Randolph Carter
Dumb ass Halloween novella that is kinda fun if you can forget how stupid it is and get past the grating narrator. Tries to be more profound than it is to please those that don't want to be caught reading dumb stories. A supernatural thriller with a backstory so hackneyed and overused, (the cursed town that must perform a ritual annually), that you don't really even need it to enjoy it.

Again, fun like a bucket of popcorn, fun while it lasts but forgettable once finished. Once and into the bin.
Melki
Every Hallowe'en eve, a great pumpkin emerges from a less than sincere pumpkin patch. He is called "The October Boy", and you'd better drop your security blanket and RUN!
His empty, grinning head and vine-twisted body are stuffed full of candy, like a freaky, malevolent, PURE EVIL pinata. His goal is to make it to the town church by midnight, and you'd better not get in his way.

Like the denizens of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, the townsfolk do not understand why they willingly send their teenag
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Marvin
I read Stewart O'Nan's The Night Country and Norman Partridge's Dark Harvest back to back. They share the one day Halloween setting but that's about it. O'Nan's novel uses it as just a setting for a half-way ghost story with little plot. Partridge's tale is a no-holes-bar Halloween gore-fest of the most creative type. It rarely stops and put the reader in a violent tale that will probably be finished in one edge-of-the-seat sitting. Bound to be a Halloween classic.
Trudi
Had high hopes for this one, but it was just a little too silly to be scary. A familiar plot about small town machinations that's been done before with much better results. I'm thinking Thomas Tryon's Harvest Home, Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Stephen King's Children of the Corn.
Bandit
Pretty good halloween tale. Should have probably waited to read it on halloween, but I found it at the library and gave it a try 6 months prematurely. I haven't read a thing but the author before, so I don't know if this is his normal writing style, but this book is told like a story someone tells you in a very matter of fact way, sort of like a campfire story. It reminded me a bit of Ketchum, but Ketchum is a far superior narrator. The story was not very original ,but good, a small town hiding ...more
Cynthia
It never fails—while shopping I just HAD to stop by the book section. The cover art for Dark Harvest drew me in. The synopsis sounded promising, a nice blurb by Peter Straub on the cover, and also mention of this book winning the Bram Stoker Award sealed the deal for me.

Dark Harvest was a very engaging read. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire 197 pages of this story. It reminded me somewhat of a story that you could see on The Twilight Zone (TTZ is actually mentioned a couple of
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David Agranoff
This book is destined to become a modern Halloween classic and should be read in the days leading up to Hallowen to get full enjoyment. A slightly darker take on the Midwestern Halloween tale than Bradbury’s Something Wicked this Way Comes but it’s in the same vein. It’s period piece that takes place in a nameless Midwestern town. Each year the Halloween becomes with a great sacrifice.

The harvest guild has to make sure or the crops they depend on might not come back after the winter. So every ye
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Rick
Oct 03, 2007 Rick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: horror
In the mid-Nineties, Norman Partridge produced some of the finest horror fiction of the decade. But it was a bleak period for the genre, and, by the end of the decade, he veered off into crime fiction. Eventually the quantity of his output declined. This season, Partridge returns to his roots with a new horror novel, Dark Harvest.

In an unnamed Midwestern town, teenage boys participate in the Run every Halloween, essentially a hunt for a mysterious being dubbed the October Boy, an undead creature
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Chris
Having heard a lot of good things about Norman Partridge, I finally got to see for myself what everyone had been saying for years about this talented horror author. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. DARK HARVEST is the ultimate Halloween story, and one that is a must-read for horror fans. Lean, tautly-written, raw and ferocious, this gem of a novel follows a town in the Midwest where a bizarre ritual occurs every Halloween. Teen-aged boys must gather weapons and attempt to stop a creature ...more
William M.
This book is simply amazing. Partridge's writing is so incredibly fast-paced, it's hard to keep up -- and that's a good thing. The energy in his writing makes it very apparent he loves telling a good old fashioned horror tale. This book has quickly jumped to one of my all time favorite novellas. A lot of times, spending money on a limited edition hardcover (currently the only available format) is risky and can be disappointing if the material is not strong, but I can assure you, this is money we ...more
Bill
May 12, 2008 Bill rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: horror
Another installment of the Small American Town with a Terrible Secret stories, this one has been compared to a few classics, but The October Boy stands well on its own.
This is the first I've read of Norman Partridge, and I was quite absorbed through it. He tells the story in the 2nd person, which, at times, had the disconcerting effect of someone standing behind you whispering in your ear. Good stuff.

The great and best part of this short novel is the concept of The October Boy. It doesn't take a
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Bill
I am undecided between 3 and 4 stars for this book, hence a 3.5*. I did enjoy it and it is a great Halloween time read, but I struggled a bit with the second-person narrative.

This is a fairly short novel (more like a novella) and it moves very quickly. It is fun read and I enjoyed the characters but felt they could have been a little deeper and maybe the story could have been a wee longer. I would have also liked to see more action from “The October Boy” during his run to the finish line. Recomm
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Liviu Szoke
A creepy little story from one of the greatest modern american horror authors: Norman Partridge. It's 1963 and the citizens of a small american town prepare for Halloween. But while the other american kids and teenagers seek for candies, in this town every teenage boy must hunt the October Boy, a scarecrow with a pumpkinhead, brought to life through a secret ritual. But of course there is a hidden story, how the October Boy became what he is, and that's how a brilliant storyteller like Partridge ...more
Darren
Amazon has this listed as a novel, and priced accordingly, but it's really a novella. I started and finished it in an evening, which is as it should be. This is the story of a single evening, after all. Hallowe'en. The young men of a small town have been kept locked up for five days, without food, and then set loose on the emptied streets with one purpose: to kill the October Boy before the church bells strike midnight. Who is the October Boy? Why it's Sawtooth Jack, of the vines for arms and br ...more
Tommy
This reminded me of Bradbury's "Halloween Tree," in a mash-up with Nightmare Before Christmas, and Jeepers Creepers. The writing is very cinematic, the narrative frequently describing camera angles and swooping points of view. It was clever and fun, if not super original. But Partridge's writing is well-honed and I would probably read something else by him. The wicked awesome cover painting by Jon Foster sure doesn't hurt this book!
Heather
Quite possibly one of the worst books I have read this year. In a word - lame. One of my favourite guilty pleasures is bad horror movies. Usually ones where the plots are terrible, the acting is atrocious and the story lines make no sense whatsoever. But I do find them very enjoyable. And a bad B horror movie was just what this book sounded like. Small town with a horror that awakens every Halloween where all the boys in the town band together in some stupid race where no laws apply go after thi ...more
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Halloween, horror lovers group 1 21 Aug 03, 2009 01:32PM  
  • October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween
  • The Missing (Keeper, #2)
  • A Choir of Ill Children
  • The Dead Path
  • The Pines (The Pines Trilogy, #1)
  • Black and Orange (Black & Orange, #1)
  • The Long Last Call
  • Dweller
  • Haunted Legends
  • Ghost Road Blues (Pine Deep, #1)
  • The Hungry Moon
  • Snow
  • The Night Country
  • Neverland
  • The Pilo Family Circus
  • The Bleeding Season
  • Gods of The Nowhere: A Novel of Halloween
  • The Reach
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Norman Partridge’s fiction includes horror, suspense, and the fantastic—“sometimes all in one story” says his friend Joe Lansdale. His compact, thrill-a-minute style has been praised by Stephen King and Peter Straub, and his fiction has received three Bram Stokers and two IHG awards.

Partridge’s career launched a series of firsts during the indie press boom of the early nineties. His first short s
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More about Norman Partridge...
Johnny Halloween: Tales of the Dark Season The Crow: Wicked Prayer Lesser Demons Slippin' into Darkness The Man with the Barbed-Wire Fists

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“You remember how it feels, don’t you? All that desire scorching you straight through. Feeling like you’re penned up in a small-town cage, jailed by cornstalk bars. Knowing, just knowing, that you’ll be stuck in that quiet little town forever if you don’t take a chance.” 9 likes
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