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Reaper: A Horror Novella

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How do you fight a monster?

Halloween night, 1992. Promised the allowance he’s always dreamed of, Gregory has to babysit his little sister Imogen and hand out candy.

That was before the basement door opened on its own. Before the strange door appeared in the basement. Before Imogen was taken from him by that terrifying monster.

Now, Gregory has to scramble to put the pieces together before it's too late. Where did the door come from? What was that creature? Can he save his sister, or is she already gone forever?

96 pages, Paperback

Published April 19, 2019

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About the author

Jonathan Pongratz

4 books180 followers
Jonathan Pongratz is a writer and author of captivating horror, fantasy, and other speculative fiction stories. When he’s not writing, he’s busy being a bookworm, video game junkie, and karaoke vocalist. A former resident of Dallas, he currently resides in Kansas City with his Halloween cat Ajax. By day he works magic in finance, by night he creates dark and mesmerizing worlds.

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5 stars
19 (32%)
4 stars
26 (44%)
3 stars
11 (18%)
2 stars
1 (1%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 48 reviews
Profile Image for Peter.
2,637 reviews476 followers
November 4, 2019
Greg and Imogen are alone at home on Halloween Eve when a terrible creature abducts Immy in the basement. Her brother starts some research and finds out that the disappearance rate of children in their hometown is very high. Every year a child is taken. What is going on here? Studying old papers he finds a boy named Trend whose brother was also taken by a creature he calls 'reaper'. What is this reaper and how are the parents of the children involved in? Greg and Trent try to fight the reapers. Will they succeed? Interesting modern horror story with a good plot and fine twist at the end. Recommended!
Profile Image for Mort.
653 reviews1,319 followers
March 29, 2020
YA Horror...
Teenagers new to the horror genre will probably love this.
I'm the wrong audience.
Profile Image for Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows).
1,553 reviews321 followers
April 17, 2019
Ah... this novella reminded me of the horror books I read as a kid so the nostalgia was a lot of fun. Poor Gregory finally gets to show how grown up he is by being offered the opportunity to babysit his little sister and hand out candy on Halloween while his parents are out. What can go wrong, does go wrong and he gets blamed for his sister's disappearance and assumed death. But children have been consistently disappearing and he's determined to try and clear his name. Along the way, he learns things he wish he never had.

I did have fun with this but like with most novellas and short stories, I need just a little bit more. I always feel like endings are a bit rushed and it takes a lot to fully make me five star one. That being said, the hints thrown in were fairly obvious and I was a bit "concerned", like Gregory, on why the people in this town just didn't do "THIS". Hahaha - but hey, that's the fun of horror right? If people did the things they were supposed to, well.... we wouldn't have quite the stories we normally would.

I think maybe this is better suited for middle grade readers rather than me as an audience. It was definitely entertaining though.

Thanks so much to the author for this copy.
Profile Image for Michael Sorbello.
Author 1 book244 followers
March 19, 2022
Gregory and his little sister Imogen love spending Halloween with their parents. But this year is different. If he proves he can take care of Imogen all by himself, he’ll finally have the allowance he’s dreamed of. That was before the basement door opened on its own. Before the strange door appeared in the basement and Imogen was taken from him by the monster. Now everyone in town is blaming him for her disappearance, but no one is listening to his story. Where did the door come from? What was that creature? And most of all, can he find his sister before it’s too late, or will he bury his memories of her along with his parents?

A dark conspiracy connecting the parents of a small town, an unseen order keeping the existence of terrifying creatures a secret from society, and two boys standing up against impossible monstrosities. The ending is where the premise of the story really hits hard. It's like Stranger Things gone wrong. What happens when overcoming impossible odds ends up creating an even bigger problem?
Profile Image for Cobwebby Eldritch Reading Reindeer .
5,137 reviews272 followers
March 14, 2019
REAPER is a really twisted horror novella, twisted in a good way, convoluted with some highly unexpected twists and revelations. Gregory is a good brother, and now at 13, his parents (foolishly) decide he can babysit his sister Imogen, 7--on Halloween! Foolish not because Gregory isn't capable (he's a lot more patient with his little sister than would be a lot of adolescents), but because circumstances he can't control will intervene. I mustn't say more because I never want to reveal this twisty path. A fairly quick read, I don't recommend it for late at night if you're living alone. (Smile)
Profile Image for Shalini.
2,510 reviews199 followers
June 8, 2019
The cover was intriguing
My interest rising
Was it a doorway to hell
Or an hell of a doorway
I knew not
But I wondered that
A sister taken
A brother lost
The truth hidden
And a secret found
What was the order
What was the hunt
A deal made
An entity dead
Beware of Halloween
Reapers are mean!!

The poem may sound silly but that was the gist of the story. A Halloween night with trick or treating, and a game of hide and seek between siblings led them to the basement where a strange door opened, and something took his sister Immy away. Brother Gregory started investigating when the parents' lives came back to normal as if the sister was never a part of them.

A short novella by Jonathon Pongratz had me shaking in joy when the horror creepily unfolded. The story of Bogey-Man was uplifted and given a new tinge with myth and fear added. Then came my niggles, the writing could have been much better, it felt middle grade.

Overall a fun read, done in less than half hour. I find that I like reading horror, and at 67 pages so it was most apt to read at midnight.
Profile Image for Shannon.
301 reviews32 followers
April 25, 2019
This is a quick little read, meant to get you heart pounding, and your flesh crawling. And it does, for the most part.

The town has a dirty little secret and Gregory uncovers it while babysitting his little sister, and once learned, can never be buried again. In fact, Gregory’s life is changed forever and no one, not even his parents will help him.

Halloween night, Gregory confidently settles in for an evening of babysitting Imogen, hoping to prove to his parents that he is ready for an allowance. Everything starts well enough, but shortly after his parents leave, a game of hide and seek goes horribly wrong. His sister is snatched in front of his eyes by something he could never have imagined, even in his worst nightmares. Once his parents return home and learn their daughter is missing, a cursory search is conducted with no results. Instead of being heartbroken, his parents return to their normal every day life as if their daughter never existed.

As if that isn’t strange enough, Gregory learns that many children have mysteriously disappeared from his town over the years, and nobody seems to know why. Gregory sets out to unravel this mystery, and hopefully find his sister before it’s too late.

I enjoyed this story for the most part. It was a bit predictable, but it’s well-written and entertaining, a good “Boogie Man” tale. I would recommend Reaper to readers who are looking for a quick but satisfying horror.

3.75 Stars
Profile Image for Peter Martuneac.
Author 7 books45 followers
February 5, 2020
A really fun, short read! The story unfolds in a fairly routine way for a horror story, which isn't a bad thing, and maintains a creepy aura throughout. Well-written and eerie, sure to please other horror buffs like myself!
Profile Image for Yvonne (The Coycaterpillar Reads).
687 reviews214 followers
September 13, 2020
Reaper was one of those reads that will fester upon the psyche. It will allow you to get on with everyday things but in the dead of night it will re-emerge and make you realise that sleep will be futile. Right from the start we can feel the deep-seated fear that everything is not as it seems. Halloween – a breeding ground for all that is unnatural and terrifying. A long-awaited opportunity to take care of a little sister without their overbearing parents. One should be careful what you wish for.

I’m always intrigued when reading POV’s from a teenage viewpoint. They are not quite matured for the big bad world. Some are way too big for their boots; some are wise beyond their years and some are just lacking the confidence and the were with all to be given such big responsibilities. Are they more inclined to see beyond the veil, are they Intune to other possibilities? Halloween just has that fear that anything is possible and in this case Gregory and his little sister should keep as far away from the basement as possible. A door that is never entered…stark warnings about going near it? Yep, it’s safe to say, I wouldn’t be seen there for dust! Reaper is the master of famous last words!

Gregory is finally being entrusted with babysitting his little sister in lieu of his long-awaited allowance. It’s about damn time and he is confident that nothing will stand in his way of that allowance…nothing except an otherworldly demon who kidnaps his sister, Imogen. He’s not without his battle scars but that is nothing compared to the mental agony of losing his sister. It appears there is nothing he can do, and he is devastated. He discovers a long-held town secret and when he discovers it, there will be no letting the past lie.

Reaper can make your skin crawl and your eyes willing want to escape. Jonathan Pongratz has the immaculate skill of manipulating the reader into falling into the pages and letting the words seep into their pores. Reaper is a tragic tale of soul wrenching loss that transcends into a tale of revenge and comradery. The story had me immediately hooked and the effortless narrative felt like a smooth rum and coke going down, it kept me consuming more until I was intoxicated with the journey. It really is the kind of story that warns you to buckle up, and although you are hesitant, you place your trust in the author because you just know you are going to be in safe hands.
Profile Image for Toni | Dark Reads.
41 reviews16 followers
August 26, 2019
This was a fun nostalgic read for me, it reminded me of a slightly more adult version of the Goosebumps and Point Horror stories I loved as a child.

There was certainly some creepy imagery and some tense moments, a nice little Halloween bogyman story.

I often find with a Novella, especially as short as this one, I just don’t get the depth of character I crave when reading a book, also I felt the ending felt a little rushed but again this was due to the length of the book. It was left open enough for a potential re-visit to this story in the future, I would definitely want to read a follow up to this one!

Overall I enjoyed Reaper, it was a quick fun read and was well written. One to read curled up on Halloween night with loads of sweets..If you don’t have a basement that is!!

Profile Image for Sandra Lopez.
Author 3 books318 followers
May 15, 2019
It’s Halloween, and Gregory along with his little sister, Imogen, was free of parental supervision. At 13, he was finally man of the house. Having to deal with his bratty, whiny sister was tough…until she mysteriously disappears. Was she playing hide-and-seek? Where could she have gone?

Then he notices the door to the basement was open. But that door was always locked. With a sinking feeling, Greg enters the bleak and dark corridor, heart pounding in his chest. What was that noise? Footsteps? Monsters? But, wait, monsters don’t exist…do they?

Weeks later, Greg is still baffled by the night his sister was taken from him. What was that hideous creature? And why won’t anyone believe his story? There had to be a way to bring her back. An interesting discovery was when he finds out a kid has gone missing every year around Halloween.

I enjoyed this book, which was a combination of Goosebump and Stephen King books. Greg was certainly an inquisitive and tenacious kid. He wouldn’t stop until he had answers. Story had horror, adventure, and mystery all rolled into one.

An interesting and scary tale—just the perfect Halloween treat.
August 4, 2019
I love the descriptions in this book: the town, the family, the basement, everything. From the fateful Halloween night to the ominous strange door, everything is very well described. The characters are well-developed, and the plot is quite interesting. I liked the concept of the Reaper and the way in which it was attracted/repulsed in the town.

However, I feel that the story was cut off short, and the mystery revealed too soon. It was a little sudden and I feel the suspense could have gone on for a little longer.

The end hints at a sequel, maybe. The little town is immersed in complete chaos and of course, there’s the nagging suspense of what will happen next.

All in all, this book was quite a fun read. If you’re looking for a light, quick read, this book is perfect!
Profile Image for Tricia Varosky.
300 reviews1 follower
April 25, 2022
As I’d hoped, this horror novella was a fantastic way to start out my horror reads for the year. As a novella, this story needs to grip the reader’s attention right away – which it did – and keep it – which it does. The premise itself is interesting and it’s clear that, even given the shitty situation he finds himself in, Gregory is an amazing big brother who’s willing to do anything for his sister. Even when she’s getting on his nerves (like all good little sisters are wont to do). Reapers sound like terrifying monsters, I’m amazed that 13 year old Gregory is able to stand up to them.

The boogeyman is a horrifying concept as child, but can you imagine if they were real?

Other reviews here: https://phantomofthelibrarycom.wordpr...
May 19, 2019
We all know the adage about not judging a book by its cover, but let's all just take a deep breath and admit that we don't give a hoot about the adage and judge away. You with me?

I'm a sucker for a cover that tells a story and Reaper's does that well. It's a fantastic example of using a cover that perfectly renders the story into art. While simplistic, that door on the cover is brooding and ominous. When I saw it, I had to know what was on the other side. Some doors, however, should never be opened, and Reaper throws them wide.

Read more at Cats Luv Coffee
Profile Image for Anie.
1,007 reviews44 followers
July 16, 2019
Gregory and his sister love spending Halloween with the family. But this year is a bit different, Gregory is babysitting his sister for the first time.

It's going well at first until his sister goes down the basement.

Her disappearance is very hard on him, and when everyone seems to move on, he is stuck on that night. On what he saw, what really happened. When he decides to investigate, the truth he discoveries is even more horrible.

It's a good story, I was pulled in and the horror element is definitely present. I just wish that the ending was a bit longer...

received from Author
2 reviews
May 2, 2019
This was a very vivd, quick-read thriller. My partner asked me if I was ok because I never just stop & read a whole book, ahem novella. I found myself sitting up with my hand over my mouth at least twice. I definitely didn’t foresee the ending! As someone who doesn’t read too often, this was a great escape from reality. Much congrats to the author.
Profile Image for Jason Chapman.
1 review2 followers
July 22, 2019
Good twist at the end and didn't go the way I had initially expect. Well written without the purple prose - dialogue was written with a good ear. Overall quick fun read.
Profile Image for Misty's Book Space.
733 reviews36 followers
August 26, 2019
3.5 stars

First I want to thank the author for providing me with a copy via R&R Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

This was a really quick horror novella and I enjoyed it. If you've been following me for a while then you know I don't find things to be scary or creepy when most people do. I can totally see people being freaked out by this but it just didn't do that for me personally.

Honestly after finishing it when everything was revealed there were some things that made me mad regarding the parents. I can't get into it because of spoilers so lets just say I hated them for multiple reasons but at the same time I understand why some things were done even if I don't agree.

This has an open ending so there is potential for other stories and I would definitely read them.

I wish it was longer to be honest because I wanted to know more. I feel like we just flew through the story and we could have delved deeper into some aspects but it was still good.
Profile Image for M.D..
Author 14 books111 followers
July 14, 2019
Reaper: A Horror Novella – Creepy As Hell

Author Jonathan Pongratz has crafted a clever horror story that will have you guessing until the last minute. It is rare for me to be surprised by the ending of a book, but with Reaper I was. It is well crafted and well written. As a short story you have a limited amount of space to develop you characters and plot, this was not an issues for Reaper. The main character Greg is completely believable and relatable I never once felt he was too smart for his age, which was a nice surprise. Greg acted like the tween/teen he is supposed to be. So, if you are looking for a wonderfully crafted creepy as Hell story definitely read this book.
Profile Image for Randall Krzak.
Author 7 books165 followers
April 21, 2019
While not a genre I normally read, Jonathan’s writing is very smooth and he’s come up with an exciting plot. The characters are well-crafted. Gregory ends up in the middle of a puzzling nightmare. Things only get worse when he uncovers the chilling reason behind the disappearance of not only his sister, but other children–all at Halloween. Who will go missing next time?
Profile Image for Emerald Dodge.
Author 13 books303 followers
April 19, 2019
Reaper is a marvelous little novella about a big subject: the boogeyman. Pongratz weaves a claustrophobic, tense story about one boy's quest to find out the truth about his sister's mysterious disappearance, and it doesn't disappoint.
Profile Image for Kaili (Owl Book World).
267 reviews17 followers
July 16, 2019
This book, for me anyways, is a cross between an episode of supernatural and a more adult version of goosebumps. I finished this book in a day and really enjoyed it. Will definitely read more of Jonathan's books!
5 reviews2 followers
March 21, 2019
The book was awesome! I was addicted to the writing style and it made me feel right then and there with the characters. Thanks for letting me read the book. :)
1 review1 follower
August 27, 2019
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn’t want to put it down. If your looking for a thriller this is a great read. Hoping there will be sequel.
Profile Image for D. Peach.
Author 22 books134 followers
May 10, 2022
When his parents go out for the evening on Halloween, they leave 13-yr-old Greg babysitting for Imogene, his younger sister. Things don’t go well, and before the night is over, Imogene has vanished. Something terrible happened in the basement of their home and no one believes Greg when he tells them what he saw. Greg learns that Immy isn’t the only child to go missing over the years, and he’s determined to find out what’s happening and put an end to it.

This horror novella is a quick read that I polished off in one sitting. The writing is straightforward, there’s lots of great suspense, and the horror isn’t gruesome, so the story seems appropriate for horror-loving middle-grade kids on up to adult readers.

Greg is a great character, a typical kid annoyed by his younger sibling, though his love comes through loud and clear, as well as his courage and persistence. Trent, another boy who lost a sibling, is also well-rounded and a complementary ally. There’s a lot of action, and the story ends on something of a cliff-hanger, setting the stage for Reaper II. A quick, entertaining story for readers who enjoy young protagonists, creepy adults, and scary monsters.
Profile Image for Esther.
556 reviews108 followers
November 3, 2021
The start of the story is great, because you just know/feel something is going to happen. I did feel like too many hints were scattered around, and that made some things very clear to me. Things that the main character only found out later.

I did feel like it was smart to make the reader feel like they know everything, just like the main character. Sometimes you just have no idea; you might think you know... But you don't!

Full review can be found at BiteIntoBooks

The ending was so much fun and I felt like I'd definitely read a book that is to come after. I did some research and there IS a book that comes after this one! Sadly, my TBR is too full now, but I'd recommend horror lovers to check out this novella and maybe read the book after.
Profile Image for Tammie Painter.
Author 47 books94 followers
December 27, 2020
What a ride! I started this thinking it was going to be a pretty simple tale of a couple kids being creeped out by something in the basement. Which it is...but then it ends up being so much more.

I'd classify this as more of a paranormal thriller that reminded me at times of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" with some X-Files-level secrets going on. If you've ever been scared of going into the basement, you're going to love this!

Pongratz's writing is super smooth throughout the novella. A few very minor typos along the wya, but nothing to distract you from the compelling flow of the story. I loved the main character, Greg, who comes off as a world-weary kid at first, even though he's only 13. But by the end, he's earned his world weariness and you can see the events have affected him (unlike many horror stories where the hero walks away as if nothing happened).

There's not really a tight ending for this....and I liked that. Pongratz does close up the main story points and answers most questions. It is a satisfying read, but there's a nice unresolved ending that will leave you eager for the sequel.

150 reviews3 followers
May 31, 2020
I found thus book truly interesting. It takes a normal boy and thrusts him into a world if supernatural mystery when his sister is taken by a mysterious creature. While he tries to solve the mystery he accidentally stumbles upon a world that could destroy everything he loves. A must read.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for loopyloulaura.
796 reviews10 followers
August 27, 2019
I have fond memories of my teenage years sat reading Point Horror books. I think that teens have a passion for horror, maybe because of the emotional and hormonal changes making them want an adrenaline rush. Horror is also grown up, something you’ve waited for through your childhood to access.
Reaper is firmly in that tradition. Gregory’s parents are going out in Halloween and leaving him in charge of his little sister Immy. They have always hated the spooky basement but during a game of hide and seek they end up down there.
A strange candle is burning and a monster appears. Greg tries to fight it off but is unable to prevent his sister being snatched. No one believes him but he investigates and finds other children have disappeared. Can he prevent it happening again…
This is a novella so only take about an hour for an adult to read. It is aimed at young adults and although I don’t count as that anymore, it was a good read as a short story.
Jonathan Pongratz understands the things that are important to teens so his characterisation of Gregory is realistic. I could really feel his frustration at his annoying little sister as well as his distress at her disappearance (my own little sister drives me nuts but I love her to bits, and we’re in our 30s!)
The plot covers the nightmare of missing children so Greg’s emotion at the loss of his sister leaves an emotional impact on parent readers.
The horror characters are creepy and grotesque, although as an adult reader I wanted more explanation and back story which is hinted at but not fully developed.
I would estimate that this horror story is suitable for ages 13+. My 9 year old would be able to read it but would get nightmares! As a teen I would certainly have picked this off the shelf and am so pleased I got to re-live my youth by reading it now!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 48 reviews

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