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Dark Harvest

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  2,833 Ratings  ·  341 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
Paperback, 197 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Tor Books (first published October 11th 2006)
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The Halloween Tree by Ray BradburySomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburyDracula by Bram StokerFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Bo Hampton
Best Halloween Books
14th out of 392 books — 479 voters
Dracula by Bram StokerThe Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanFrankenstein by Mary ShelleyThe Shining by Stephen KingThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Best Books to Read for Halloween!
50th out of 555 books — 588 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
Sep 19, 2016 Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
When I first started reading this creepy book I thought: "What the feck am I reading?"


The things that happen on Halloween night are really bizarre and messed up and I freaking loved it!


The October Boy is carved and gotten ready for The Run/The Hunt. And while the October Boy is being carved he comes to life. It was freaky cool!


There is this freaking weird ritual in this town that on Halloween there is a hunt for the October Boy. If said boy makes it to the church then he is fine. But if they c
Oct 24, 2014 Alejandro rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, paranormal, novel
It was entertained but I was expecting something better


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
11811 (Eleven)
Sep 27, 2016 11811 (Eleven) rated it did not like it
Fuck it. I quit. Recommended to people with sleeping disorders. This is literary Valium at its finest. May God have mercy on my soul for trying to finish.

DNF @ 69%
Apr 26, 2013 Mark rated it liked it
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
Oct 27, 2007 Peggy rated it it was amazing
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
An unnamed town in 1963 is home to a yearly event on Halloween called the "Run" which tracks down a thing called October Boy. Grown each year and set free on Halloween, he is given a butcher knife to use against boys between the ages of 16 to 19. The boy that kills October Boy is free to leave the town and his family does not have to pay for a thing for the next year. However, this year the Run is going to be different.

I thought this book was equal parts the Lottery and also The Long Walk. I thi
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
Evans Light
Sep 04, 2015 Evans Light rated it it was amazing
Shelves: signed-by-author
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
Quentin Wallace
Sep 21, 2016 Quentin Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this one in one sitting. I liked it, but it was really more a short story than a novel as there were many things left unexplained.

I loved the setting, which to me was the strongest part of the story as I could really picture the cold autumn night. It was slightly predictable at points, although not enough to ruin the story. It had the same type of vibe as Harvest Home or The Wicker Man with the whole sacrifice to nature type theme. The cover was awesome, but the story wasn't quite wha
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
Sep 22, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was ok
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
Oct 19, 2012 Lou rated it really liked it
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
Oct 31, 2011 Lou rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Oct 21, 2014 ᴥ Irena ᴥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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.
Jul 29, 2013 Char rated it liked it
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.
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.
Aug 22, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
Recommended to Matt by: D_Davis
Shelves: fantasy, horror, thriller
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
Sep 25, 2014 Ken rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2015 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, 2015, samhain
Dark Harvest was the first book I've read by Norman Partridge. I wanted a book that would take my mind off to a more Autumnal place since its still hot where I live. The story is about a small town with a dark secret and on Halloween night there's a contest where the winner wins a trip out of nowhere town, USA. There's also an evil sheriff and a monster with a pumpkin for a head on the loose. Sounds cliche, but I don't care. It did the job for me. Dark Harvest was fun and was the perfect spooky ...more
T.J. Burke
Jan 30, 2014 T.J. Burke rated it did not like it
Norman Partridge’s very short novella could stand with a few improvements. I couldn’t say exactly what might have fixed this mess, but I’ve compiled a short list of grievances against the author anyway, because good god.

* Drop The tone, Partridge. I don’t even know what that’s supposed to be, what you’re doing there. Are you a Sam Elliott style cowpoke telling a story old as the west? Are you a trenchcoat wearing anachronistic private dick muttering over a mug of bathtub gin? Is this a reference

Do you feel that? Something is different... something is in the air. Is it that chill that makes you pull your jacket up around your neck? Maybe it's something about the sound that leaf makes as you step on it. Or that jack o'lantern that grins at you from the doorstep over there. Whatever it is, dear, please make sure you walk to the other side of the street if that black cat decides to cross your path. Just don't forget to whistle on your way past the cemetery. For there is something different
Sep 16, 2016 Lostaccount rated it it was ok
A small town (King style) holds an annual event known as “The Run” in which all the teenagers in town go out on the streets on Halloween to hunt down and kill the "October Boy" (a pumpkin headed monster) as a kind of rite of passage. Unbeknown to most teenagers, the prize isn’t really about the kudos. The Harvest Guild (or whatever it’s called), the town’s bigwigs (which includes a rogue, maniac of a police officer as a major character) has its own ulterior motive behind “The Run”. Stupidly, the ...more
Sep 23, 2016 Latasha rated it it was ok
If your not feeling it by the first 20 pages just give this one up. Don't be tricked by the great cover.
Oct 30, 2011 Melki rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, halloween
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
Aug 27, 2008 Trudi rated it did not like it
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.
Oct 10, 2010 Marvin rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
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.
Sep 25, 2016 Randee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is a very quick read. I think the signed, hard back that I borrowed from the library is only 169 pages. This was an okay read. It reminds me way too much of a cross between Shirley Jackson's short story, 'The Lottery' and Tom Tryon's novel, 'Harvest Home,' Both of which are far superior in vision and writing. I will admit that perhaps I am a bit biased since Shirley Jackson is one of my all time favorite writers (and seemed to coin the idea first) and I have always thought 'Harvest Home,' w ...more
Gianfranco Mancini

Welcome to Halloween Town!

Dark Harvest is a short novel about a reclusive town and its yearly halloween celebration: the Run.
On this night town's male teens hunt down a supernatural creature with a flaming pumpkin head, filled with treats, growing up in a corn field in the All Hallows Eve. The winner and his family are going to be like kings for an year, but if the October Boy arrives to the town church before midnight, the whole place is going to hell because of a curse... Or not?
A good hall
Jan 02, 2016 Emma rated it it was ok
The writing style of Dark Harvest was overly vague, the characters plain and the story lacked overall structure. Faux-depth prevented a true meaning to any piece of the book. I found myself unable to complete even the first part of the book out of boredom due to the problems that stick out throughout even the first part.
It was difficult to understand who was who as the author liked to change names and terms from sentence to sentence. It seemed like a sad attempt to change up the sentences to av
Heather A
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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Book-A-Holics, No...: Dark Harvest 15 4 Oct 23, 2016 01:19PM  
Halloween, horror lovers group 1 25 Aug 03, 2009 01:32PM  
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  • A Choir of Ill Children
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  • The Night Country
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  • Gods of The Nowhere: A Novel of Halloween
  • Dweller
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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
More about Norman Partridge...

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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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