Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pg. 99: Norman Partridge's "Dark Harvest"

This weekend's feature at the Page 99 Test: Norman Partridge's Dark Harvest.

About the book, from the author's website:
A Midwestern town. You know its name. You were born there.

It's Halloween night, 1963. Every boy between the ages of sixteen and nineteen has been locked up for the last five days. Now, starving and wild, they're hitting the streets armed with baseball bats, pitchforks, and two-by-fours studded with nails.

They're ready to go nose-to-nose with a legend. He's the reaper that grows in a cornfield, the merciless trick with a heart made of treats, the butchering nightmare with a Jack O' Lantern face. He's the October Boy, and he visits your town every Halloween, ready to run a gauntlet of young men anxious to carve his beating candy heart from his chest.

Mitch Crenshaw and his gang burn rubber in a street rod with Gorgon headlights…. Pete McCormick's on the move with a stolen .45… and a hunted girl is out there, too, making her break on the one night of the year when no rules apply. You're running with them, threading your own path through danger and moonlight, shadowing a sadistic cop and packs of brutal teenagers who'll attack anyone who gets in their way. Because this is your town. You understand its secrets, and you want a ringside seat on the night it all comes tumbling down.
Among the praise for Dark Harvest:
"Dark Harvest is pure, beautiful blood-and-guts shoot-em-up, even if some of the guts are pumpkin. It's also a Halloween campfire tale that lingers in your ears and crawls down your dreams. It's also… The Gingerbread Boy? Breathlessly efficient, overrun with eerie imagery, and — at the least comforting moments — startlingly sweet."
—Glen Hirshberg, author of American Morons

"So what do you get when you plunk down your lucre for Dark Harvest? Listen up: you get a powerhouse thrillride with all the resonance of Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery.' You get a dark fantasy-hardboiled fusion that makes for the wildest hep-cat reading this side of Joe Lansdale. You get a pumpkin-headed scarecrow with a butcher knife (driving a Chrysler), a twisted town full of rampaging teenagers, and one seriously demented bad boy cop just itching to cap a few asses. You get a chop in the throat, a kick in the guts, a shot of whiskey and an icy cold beer to settle your head. What you get with Norm Partridge is simply the best."
—Tom Piccirilli, author of The Dead Letters and Headstone City

"Whether read as potent dark fantasy or a modern coming-of-age parable, [Dark Harvest] is contemporary American writing at its finest."
Publishers Weekly

"Dark Harvest isn't about some quiet horrors playing out in the shadows of the American heartland; it's a full-tilt, mash-the-accelerator-into-the floorboards horror novel that you'll either read in one gulp ... or clearly, you don't have a pulse."
Duane Swierczynski
Read an excerpt from Dark Harvest, and learn more about Norman Partridge and his other books at his website.

Norman Partridge has written tales of horror, suspense, and mystery — “sometimes all in one story,” says his friend Joe Lansdale. The prize-winning Dark Harvest was chosen as one of the 100 Best Books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly.

The Page 99 Test: Dark Harvest.

--Marshal Zeringue