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Dark Harvest

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  4,063 ratings  ·  501 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 i
Paperback, 169 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Tor Books (first published October 11th 2006)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,063 ratings  ·  501 reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
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 Hallo
May 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
OK. So. This book definitely had potential and as a critical reader, I can readily see that. HOWEVER, it wasn't for me. I recognize that this would be a hit among many different audiences, it just didn't strike a chord within me. This book required a certain amount of suspension of disbelief, which I couldn't quite reach. There really wasn't anything terrible about the book or the writing.. it just, again, wasn't for me. This book was only 169 pages, but it felt like it dragged on and on forever ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: paranormal, novel, horror
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 of this novel that I found in the
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, 2017
3.5 stars!

I imagined Jack Burton, from Big Trouble in Little China narrating this book for me! 🤣
Once that clicked in place, I really enjoyed it.
I could handle the choppy writing more then normal.

I also wish that the back story of why this happens in the community was brought up. It definitely would have added to the plot in a positive way.

This was a fun and an entertaining book to read around Halloween! I really enjoyed it in all its pumpkin ridiculousn
Evans Light
Dec 28, 2012 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 its pulsing, poetic prose and fevered pitch up until the very end. 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 tale is told and the plot constructed perfectly to counterbalance the dense tangle of metaphors and imagery that binds the whole thing together.
DARK HARVEST marries the wild creativity of Joe R. Lan
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
DARK HARVEST has become one of my favorite Halloween season reads. Norman Partridge is a bit of an enigma as an author. Not terribly prolific, yet a great writer, and his work doesn't pop up very often. This novel also reminds me of something Joe Lansdale might come up with. I was drawn in immediately by the story and the characters. Great book!!
11811 (Eleven)
Sep 27, 2016 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%
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow. The opinions for this one are literally all over the place. Some people love it. Some people absolutely hate it, and have some rather choice words for it. I think I'm in the middle. I enjoyed it. Most of it I read in a single sitting, and while yes, it is somewhat derivative, I still had fun. A number of people mentioned that the second-person narration was annoying, but it didn't bother me. Basically, this is a quick Halloween read that was a lot of fun, and that's exactly what I was hopin ...more
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
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 sa
Oct 01, 2007 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 suck
Jul 27, 2013 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.
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
Fun! The action and tension didn't let up. The writing style was really good - I felt like I was there, right in the thick of it - and I liked the unique narrative perspective. Loved that it took place within a short span of time - the story moved fast, but had plenty of suspense. Dark Harvest is definitely a requirement for fall and Halloween reading.
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 li
5 stars
I was wandering around in B&N one day and found this in the shelves. Well, the cover alone was amazing and the tale it promised was even better. It was expensive when it first came out, but it was worth it. I have read this many times. It’s a perfect Halloween read or anytime read.
Dark Harvest tends to take the route of the more classic scary tales. It builds the tension and shows you a glimpse into a weird little town that is centered around this one day in the year.... Hallow
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.
Fun little Halloween read. A little dystopian and fantasy, too, besides horror. If I were to complain, it may be that a little more back story would help. Really, 3.5 stars, but not enough to round up to 4.
Oct 10, 2010 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 reason why I am not ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
"It's Halloween, 1963...and getting on toward dark."

Dark Harvest is a quick & fun Halloween read. I read this with a group of friends, and I think everyone enjoyed it. The reviews on this book are really mixed, and I feel like this book may have been written with a YA audience in mind.

This book has some sad and heavy moments, but for horror, it's on the lighter side. If you like stories about small town secrets, Dark Harvest is one to pick up.

This book isn't perfect - I wasn't
Quentin Wallace
Sep 21, 2016 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
Jul 16, 2015 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
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Oct 15, 2014 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.
A perfect and fast Halloween read, given to me for Christmas last year and I waited so patiently to read it for the pumpkin season.

This is one of those stories where the horror committed by the human variety of monsters far out-does that committed by any creatures. Partridge was definitely channeling Ray Bradbury as the tone instantly reminded me of both Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Halloween Tree, and had more of a YA feel to it.

I'll be looking out for more of Partridge's work.
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
Jul 03, 2011 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 stor
Jun 19, 2011 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
Ken B
Sep 23, 2014 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
Jul 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Matt by: D_Davis
Shelves: horror, fantasy, 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
Glenn Rolfe
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wow, above all else, the author's voice struck a chord with me and made it easy to fall into his unique Halloween story. Partridge's style drives this great-paced novel like a Bruce Springsteen song turned classic street car. Story-wise, there are a couple of missteps along the way, turns I wished the author hadn't taken. I thought the tale was too original to take some of the old-hat ventures it did, and with the town running it's legend on a series of lies, you never quite know what the true s ...more
Shawn Deal
Nov 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
Seriously, this could be the best horror story that takes place on Halloween. This one is scary from two different perspectives. This is scary from a parents perspective, for no one would wish this upon their child. And it is scary from a kids perspective for no one would want to be caught in this position but so easily could. A shorter read this is an absolute must for those who love horror stories.
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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
“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.” 11 likes
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