In Norman Partridge's JOHNNY HALLOWEEN: Tales of the Dark Season (CEMETERY DANCE PUBLICATIONS) we're treated with 7 new tales of the macabre.
The seven stories are: Johnny Halloween, Satan's Army, The Man Who Killed Halloween, Black Leather Kites, Treats, Three Doors and The Jack o' Latern: a Dark Harvest Tale.
Each story is unique in its own right, however, the stories that stood out for me were: The Man Who Killed Halloween, Three Doors and The Jack o' Lantern: a Dark Harvest Tale.
The Man Who Killed Halloween is an accounting of how Halloween was changed during the fall of 1969 when a real monster, the Zodiac Killer, ruled the night.
Three Doors is the story of a man who's given three "magic knocks." Anyone answering his knock is rendered under his control, having to do whatever he asks, and tonight he has a plan.
Finally is the Dark Harvest novelette, The Jack o' Lantern: a Dark Harvest Tale. Probably best known for his novel Dark Harvest (a Publishers Weekly 100 books of 2006 selection), Norman captures the same demented turmoil in this story of a small town with a dark secret. This was definitely my favorite in the collection and is where his talent really shines.
Norman Partridge has been called "a major new talent!" by Stephen King, and "writes as though his life depends on the words he sets down on the page," according to Peter Straub. When you have two of the worlds greatest talents making statements like these on your behalf, you know you've got to be doing something right.
While I may not be able to say anything that carries the weight of those two greats, what I can tell you is that Norman is a smooth writer that knows when telling a story you need to entertain. His writing is unique and focused and will haunt you long after the last page has been turned.