Every year, on October 31st, a lone child has knocked on his door – a nightmarish reminder of a tragedy from Gerald’s past.
As each Halloween came and went, Gerald has been able to keep his door locked and the monstrous memory at bay, but the ravages of emphysema have left him a disgruntled and feeble-minded old man.
When a new hospice nurse named Kelli arrives unexpectedly to replace his regular nurse on Halloween night, Gerald is caught unawares and before he can warn her, Kelli is inviting the threat into his home. The horrors that unfold will be no trick and the only treat the child will accept is the old man’s soul.
Before the night ends, Gerald will have no choice but to bring his dark secret into the light.
Two-time international Bram Stoker Award-nominee®*, Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist based in Queensland, Australia.
Greg is the author of several novels, novellas and short stories, including his award-nominated debut novel, Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum) and collections, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares (Specul8 Publishing) and This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories (Things in the Well Publications).
He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, (McFarland & Company) written by authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, won the Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel category at the Bram Stoker Awards® in 2013.
He was also the President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association from 2017-2020.
* Superior Achievement in a First Novel for Hollow House (2016) and Superior Achievement in Short Fiction, for “The Book of Last Words” (2019)
Gerald Forsyth is afraid of Halloween. When his substitute nurse open the door to a trick or treater disaster strikes. Everything is connected with a Halloween event in the past he no one told the truth about it. What happened? The story started relatively slow but came forward with an absolutely surprising twist. It is very eerie and haunting. An excellent plot on untrodden paths. Highly recommended!
I received a copy of this book, #TheLastNightofOctober, from #NetGalley, so a big thank you to #NetGalley. The edition I did read is the Kindle edition that was released today, which is not available on Good Reads/Amazon at the moment.
This is the first book that I read by Greg Chapman and it most definitely will not be my last. I read it in one-sitting, right before bed, not only because it is a quick read but also because I absolutely could not go to sleep without knowing what happened next. The few illustrations included in the book was such a great add-in.
I loved the tension, the suspense, the friendship between these two young innocent boys, torn apart by...(read it to find out). This was followed by a lifetime of hurt and pain with an ending that could be a consequence or a blessing, depending how you look at it.
The story is about two boys (Donnie & Gerald) who look forward to Halloween every year. This year a big snow storm is coming and the parents won't let them go. But they decide to go out anyways and something happens that will come back to haunt them. The story moves forward many years to Halloween day and what happens when someone comes knocking on the door. A good quick Halloween read. I gave it 3 1/2 stars.
This little novella is perfect for Halloween time. It's partly a mystery, definitely has some spookiness to it, and some gore/body horror. I enjoyed this one. Once the story got going it was a page turner. It tackles themes of grief, friendship and regret.
My only complaint is that there were grammar issues all throughout that negatively impacted my reading experiences. If it weren't for those issues, this would have been a 4 star read.
I'd still recommend it for a spooky short story to read on Halloween night.
When Lisa Morton, the expert on all things Halloween, gives her seal of approval in the foreword to this novella, you know you’re in for a treat. Gerald hates Halloween, but when his nurse comes to his house to administer her evening check up, she realizes there is more to his fear than simply being an old man. Excellent story that is satisfying on all levels. I also loved the addition of the author’s own illustrations.
Thank you NetGalley for the e-ARC! The story follows a 70- year old man, Gerald Forsyth. He has emphysema and is terrified of Halloween. On the last day of October, children dress up in costumes and go trick or treating to collect candy; isn't it so much fun? Apparently not for Gerald, who did go trick or treating many years ago with his best friend Donny, in the middle of a blizzard. However, he returned alone. Something happened all those years ago, that makes the old man shiver and cower whenever a small boy comes knocking at his door on Halloween. In very few pages the author has managed to incorporate a good amount of terrifying scenes, so why only 3 stars? 1. I didn't particularly like certain sexist comments made by Gerald. 2. I could easily guess who it was that Gerald was afraid of!
Gerald is 70 years old, sick and wants nothing to do with Halloween. Every year for Halloween he closes his door and pretends he is not home. This Halloween he is not going to have the quiet night he expected when a new nurse comes to take care of him and makes a horrible mistake letting Halloween and something else, something dark, into the house .
This novella was really well written and it felt like a new take on your typical point horror/goosebumps stories but with adults.
For me I felt like towards the end the twist did not land so well for me since I saw it coming and it was not such a strong ending as I hoped. However this was a great read for anyone looking for a Halloween novella and perfect for the season.
The Last Night in October is a unique take on the Halloween horror story. Gerald is an old in a wheelchair with a fear with a fear of Halloween for a good reason. Something terrible happened in Geralds childhood with his best friend on Halloween and the past isn’t staying dead. However, on this night, Gerald’s visiting nurse is with him as the sun goes down. “There was only the boy’s blood and his eyes and she believed she might quite possibly drown in both of them.” This book has major tension building and keeps you hungry for more. I finished this in one sitting because I got lost in the story. There were scenes that I did not see coming, characters that I did not like, only to find them growing on me, and a history that I want to know more about
I am a fan of Halloween. I think a big part of my affinity for the holiday is the chance to be someone or something else, if only for a few hours. It's what also led to my involvement in community theatre and a 35 year career as a radio personallity.
Then there's the dark side of Halloween. One night a year when it's acceptable to revel in scaring and being scared. Yep, I love Halloween.
Enter Greg Chapman, an Austalian artist and Horror writer, who grew up in a world without Halloween. It's true, in Australia, Halloween just never caught on. No trick-or-treating, no costumes, no Halloween. But, Greg's a horror writer and since Halloween is nearly synonymous with Horror, he's done his homework and the result is this gem of a novella about events that took place and continue to take place on The Last Night of October.
As with all good stories, this one starts with an opening line that draws you right in. "Every Halloween, Gerald Forsyth's worst fear would come a-knocking." The Last Night of October is about friendship, survival, making choices and living with the consequences of those choices.
For someone who didn't grow up with the Halloween traditions, the author does an exceptional job of capturing the feel of the holiday. "Through the lace curtains over the front windows Gerald could see children, dressed as ghosts, zombies and princesses. Pumpkins, mutilated, yet smiling, sat on porches; gatekeepers to the underworld. People were laughing and frolicking, filling the children's baskets and bags with sugary junk, while others waited gleefully for the chance to open their doors to complete strangers."
The Last Night of October will be released in Trade Paperback, from Bad Moon Books, on October 20th, or you can get your Halloween reading started now, by getting this for the Kindle at Amazon.com.
"The Last Night of October" is a quick and hypnotizing Halloween yarn. Greg Chapman (author of Torment & The Noctuary) is a talented scribe and he does a fantastic job here. Providing rich imagery, thick tension and heartache throughout. He had me hanging on every word of this tale, illustrating and craftily weaving both the dark sense and youthful spirit of my favorite season. I could see the snow covered ground, I could hear the heavy knocks on the door.
I was invigorated by young Gerald's youthful sense of invulnerability and I was empathetic to elderly Gerald's living a lifetime of regret. But then, the shuffle...
This novella solidifies the fact that I need to delve further into Mr. Chapman's catalogue as I truly enjoyed every moment of "The Last Night of October". It's a great anytime read and a perfect addition to my list of annual seasonal reads. Fit snugly between Norman Partridge's "Dark Harvest" & Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree". I will definitely be revisiting this. When the nights are murky, the wind is bellowing and the candle's flame is flickering, I will answer the knock at the door. Check it out.
Poor Gerald is not long for this world. Alone and lonely near the end of his days, his only visitors are the nurse who comes to check his vitals and a yearly terrifying specter of his past that makes itself known every Halloween. On this particular night, he has a new nurse, who asks too many questions, over stays her welcome, and invites Gerald's greatest fear to come on in.
When I read the description I thought it sounded familiar but it wasn't until a few pages in that I realized I had read this novella before. Such are the hazards of reading so many books you sometimes lose track of what you've read. I first enjoyed this story when it was previously published in the Halloween Carnival series of anthologies. It's a fun spooky story for Halloween or any time of year for those of us who enjoy ghost stories all year round. I love the new illustrations inside too that I didn't get to see the first time around. This is a great read for those who like to keep Halloween close every day of the year.
This is a perfect little read for the Halloween season. An old man waits in his house as the sun sets on Halloween. IT will be there once darkness falls, that horror that has haunted his mind for more than fifty years. When the horror is accidentally allowed entrance to his home, the old man must face his fears, his past, and his guilt.
With just enough Halloween goodness to put you in the mood for the season but also with a fresh take on the holiday, this little novella that you can read it one sitting reaches into you and twangs that one chord in your soul that has always wondered if there really is something evil out there, in the darkness behind the jack o'lantern's light.
For an Australian writer who didn't grow up with Halloween, Greg Chapman has captured the feel of this holiday perfectly in this riveting horror yarn. It's the type of story you can (and I did) read in one sitting, engrossed and intrigued, and then surprised at where this tale ends up. It's certainly no ordinary Halloween story, and that's a very good thing.
Contains some fantastic illustrations by the author, too.
Huge thanks to Omnium Gatherum. Netgalley and Greg Chapman for approving this for me to read.
I've hailed my love of Greg's work for a number of years now and when I saw this pop up on Netgalley, I couldn't resist, even knowing that if I was approved I might not get it read before release date. Once I was approved though, I had to put my other reads aside for an evening and read this. At about 70 pages, this was an easy single sitting read and for those who might be on the slower side of reading, the way Chapman hooks you with this one will force you to read this without putting it down, so be prepared.
What I liked: Like every other book I've read from Chapman (and his short stories) you'll start out feeling familiar with what you're going to read, only to see the stunning scope of 'freshness' that Greg's writing infuses into every trope. The book itself actually opens with a really nice foreword by Lisa Morton, which sets the stage. She says that Chapman writes one of the most stunning Halloween based stories while also throwing the expectations of what a Halloween story should be, on its head. You know what? She's spot on.
The story is simple enough (and familiar). We are introduced to an old man, Gerald Forsyth. Life has caught up to him, so he depends on home nurses to come and make sure his air cannisters are changed over and his oxygen supply is functioning correctly. He lives alone, just how he prefers it. He hates life itself and everything included; people, outdoors, niceness, everything. But what he hates most of all is Halloween.
Chapman does an enormous amount with the bare minimum. Gerald doesn't want anyone coming to his house on Halloween and this is most evident when a fill-in nurse arrives and decides to open the door to a mysteriously quiet trick-or-treater.
This simple act plunges the story down the rabbit hole you know Chapman was leading us towards, but when he takes us there, Good Lord. Expect grief driven darkness to infiltrate that layer between your skin and muscle, because this one makes you squirm.
I always love how Greg makes sure everything feels real. Even the paranormal/supernatural/horror elements he'll write about always have a sensation of 'this is actually possible' to them and 'The Last Night of October' is a prime example of this.
Learning about the 'why' of Gerald's disgust towards October 31st was a really great section and elevates everything that came before it as well as what happens after.
What I didn't like: In this case - I wanted to smack our fill-in nurse. She was inside Gerald's house and he expressly asked her not to do specific things, which she did anyways. But, I guess, if she'd listened then we wouldn't have discovered the rest of the story, so fine, I guess that's ok haha!
Why you should buy this: Chapman is one of my favorite authors and he is a stunning artist as well. 'The Last Night of October' deserves a wider release from it's limited offers previously and is another amazing example of how talented Greg is as a writer. It doesn't matter the length of story, you can always expect a fantastically twisted tale and this one is no different.
One of the best things I've read from Greg, this one is a must read and I'm excited to see more people discover his work.
I began this novella thinking that I'd read for a bit before getting some work done. So much for those plans. Once I started it I couldn't stop and read right through in one sitting. The entire story takes place on two Halloween evenings in the life of Gerald Forsyth. The current Halloween, with a terrified George in his wheelchair on Oxygen and a Halloween in the 1950's, the last Halloween that started out fun and ended in terror. Halloween was never fun again for Gerald. Every Halloween Gerald hears a knock on his door from a child who is not there for candy. He hides in his house until "it" goes away. Unfortunately, he has a Home Health Nurse in his home at the wrong time this year and she opens that door. With the opening of the door we meet the "it" that George has feared all of these years and, finally, Gerald tells the story of that Halloween in the 50's to the visiting Nurse. We learn the truth with her. I was sucked in from the moment I began reading. All of the characters are sympathetic, minus the lady at the tree....you'll see. Read and enjoy. #netgalley #TheLastNightOfOctober
This review is based on an ARC of The Last Night Of October which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the author.
I love Halloween! I love authors who write about Halloween even more! When it comes to a fast-paced, eerie, gory Halloween tale, Greg Chapman hits the nail on the head. The Last Night Of October is wonderfully paced and teeming with intrigue and macabre--a perfect novella to get you in the spooky-month spirit, even in April!
I was hooked from start to finish, read the whole thing in one morning! The writing isn't perfect, but the passion is there. (There's nothing a little editing can't resolve.) Also, can I say how much I love the inclusion of the author's artwork throughout? It adds an extra element to the story that very few books feature.
The Last Night Of October is so much more than I was expecting. This is a novella (and an author) that I'm sure to return to whenever that Halloween spirit comes creeping back to me (which happens often).
This novella was definitely a great Halloween tale that was original and fresh. Can definitely see this one being a favorite for people who would keep this as a yearly read. Definitely check this out if you are looking for something to read for the season. Read it in two sittings.
This review is for an ARC received through NetGalley. Greg Chapman's The Last Night of October reads like an old school scary story. Though the author is Australian, the story has a very classic Americana feel to it. This short tale feels like something Bradbury would have penned. While the main character, Gerald, is frustrating at first as he refuses to tell even an iota of why Halloween scares him so much, as the tale plays out everything is explained satisfactorily, and with some nice plot twists.
70 year old Gerald hates Halloween. Every Halloween at dusk, a visitor arrives that Gerald doesn't let into his home. That is until this year when his nurse, Kelli, opens the door. The little boy that comes in is not a trick or treater. He is here for Gerald but why?
I adore this story. It's one I will read every Halloween.
This was a quick fast story. I throughly enjoyed the story and the concept of the storyline. It was quick and straight to the point. It was also really cool to hear my home state mentioned. If your looking for a quick slight creepy Halloween story I would recommend this book.
I want to start thanking the author, the publisher and netgalley. I’ve been reading lots of horror fiction and no fiction lately, and when the chance to read a novella about a spooky visitor on Halloween night I jumped into it. Too sad that I had to FORCE MYSELF to read this. For the first half of this novel all I wanted to do was close the book because I didn’t care enough for the main character, Gerald, and it wasn’t –it really isn’t—worth it, having to sit there and read about how annoying Kelli, his nurse, is. I mean even Kelli –in case the pages of her being insufferable aren’t enough, what with how child-like she is and how she is having a tantrum and despise her total lack of respect for her patient— says or thinks multiple times that shes being really annoying. Only in the chapter six of this novella (59% of it already read, and suffered) the story really stars, and then its all rushed, a story inside a story, with no time to feel for the characters and no time to set the atmosphere to feel anything but anxiety. All I could think was “please when is it gonna end?” – An episode of “are you afraid of the dark?” has more detailed, deep and complex characters and plot lines than this. I want to say, having read a little about the author, I was not surprised to learn that he works in comis, because some chapters would end with an image that was, per se, page-turning. But it was the image. I understand how that could work in a graphic novel, but for me, it wasn’t enough in this novella. Annoying characters that you don’t care about, a story inside a story inside a story that takes you way too far away from the plot that’s first introduced, no Halloween vibes at all. Sorry, I just didn’t like it.
Gerald Forsythe dreads Halloween. As an old man confined to a wheelchair, he is dependent upon oxygen to help him breathe through bouts of emphysema. He watches the door, waiting, wondering where his nurse is. She was expected to come and switch out his medicines and ensure he will make it through the night. She is late as the clock rolls on; Halloween is coming.
Kelli is a substitute nurse. Gerald’s normal nurse couldn’t make it due to a sudden illness. Kelli, unlike Gerald, loves Halloween and doesn’t understand why the old coot can’t shake a leg and get in the spirit. Kelly opens the door and lets the Halloween spirit into Gerald’s house, as well as a horror from Gerald’s past. Now, they are trapped and need each other if they have any hope for survival.
Greg Chapman writes great horror. Years ago, my second attempt at writing a professional quality book review happened to be with an earlier novella written by Greg Chapman named The Noctuary, and this is my second novella to read of Greg Chapman’s works. I enjoyed The Noctuary, and now reading The Last Night of October shows tremendous growth in Greg's writing style compared to my earlier read. The Last Night of October was a lighter style of horror than The Noctuary, and might be suitable for young adult readers. I don't have kids, so I don't know what the measure is, and I don't read YA so I have nothing to compare.
It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Australian Horror author Greg Chapman - in fact, he jokingly (?) said I'm his "Annie Wilkes" (Stephen King reference). But all it takes is for you to read just one of his novellas to come to the same realization I did - Greg knows how to write!
If you haven't read anything by him (despite my reviews - shame on you), you couldn't choose a better place to start than with this story - The Last Night of October.
Greg weaves a tale of friendship, loss, and regret - all revolving around Halloween. And considering, as Lisa Morton points out in the introduction, Halloween isn't as huge a holiday in Australia as it is here in the USA, Greg does so masterfully. Not only that, but the characters he creates are real, like people you actually know, or care about.
Thankfully, my days of "Trick or Treating" are over. But after reading this story, you may want to tell your kids to avoid crossroads on October 31st.
Turns out, I read this story a couple years ago as part of Halloween Carnival 3. It still holds up! Here's what I had to say back then (happily, my assessment upon giving this a second read hasn't changed!):
THE LAST NIGHT OF OCTOBER by Greg Chapman Every Halloween, there's a knock on Gerald's door from a Trick or Treater unlike any of the other neighborhood kids. Now wheelchair bound and infirm, Gerald tries to shoo away his nurse before sunset, but the two quickly find themselves entrenched and in a struggle for survival. Chapman dishes out a really effective ghost story and I dug the heck out of this one! Good stuff all around.
Chapman creates a fun, original Halloween tale sure to keep you on the edge of your seat with this impressive novella. Perfectly sized to be consumed in one sitting, this is a tense, dread soaked page turner that teases you with an almost familiar horror story before pulling out the rug and taking you to unexpected places. I read this one several years ago shortly after its original printing and it still holds up on repeated visits. This updated edition also features Chapman's own original illustrations, making it well worth seeking out for the first (or second) time.