Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Dark Harvest

by Norman Partridge

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2721341,704 (3.83)1 / 24



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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. ( )
  Aneris | Aug 12, 2016 |
Disappointment is the emotion I'm feeling as I start this review. I had this book on my "absolutely have to read" list for quite a few years now, so when I was able to snag a copy, I was thrilled to finally read this 2006 Bram Stoker Award winner from Norman Partridge. Wow, what a let down! I haven't been this disappointed since I read the over-hyped "The Pines" by Robert Dunbar.

The book treads familiar, worn out turf throughout and left me wanting a lot more. Partridge weaves a story around the mysterious October Boy who shows up outside a small town every Halloween. The October Boy's goal is to make it from the pumpkin patch from which he springs to the town's church (kind of a ollie ollie oxen free type of gaunlet). As he attempts to do this, he is chased by dozens of the town's teens and younger people (almost exclusively boys) with the goal of smashing him to bits. The teen who does the deed on October Boy is "rewarded" by being allowed to leave the town for good. The "Run" as the townspeople call it, is not very well defined or introduced by Partridge who describes in shallow details to his readers.

Also not well defined are the teen characters who participate in the Run. Pete McCormick is the main protagonist, but he appears primarily in the first and last third of the book only. There's almost nothing on the elders of the town and/or the nebulous Harvester Guild, which is mentioned a few times, but not expanded upon. The book weighs in at a sparse 160-some odd pages, so it's more short story than novel. Maybe the paucity of pages helps explain why Partridge couldn't spend much time in character or plot development. At least that's the alibi he could use.

Partridge is a fine wordsmith and is good at turning a phrase, but there just wasn't enough in this book to make me want to recommend to horror fans. What's surprising to me is that it was a Stoker Award winner. I guess 2006 was a light year for long fiction horror nominees. ( )
  coachtim30 | Dec 15, 2015 |
An absolutely amazing book, probably the best I've read so far this year. DARK HARVEST maintains it's pulsing, poetic prose and fevered pitch up until the very end. It's 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 way the tale is told and the plot constructed perfectly counterbalances the dense tangle of metaphors and imagery that binds the whole thing together.
DARK HARVEST marries the wild creativity of Joe R. Lansdale to the haunted lyricism of Bradbury, and should surely please fans of horror, fantasy and literary fiction alike.
5 Stars - Highest recommendation! ( )
  Evans-Light | Nov 8, 2015 |
A small town's secrets (and sacrifices) are unearthed during its annual Halloween ritual.

The cornfields surrounding my house had just been plowed; Halloween was celebrated a few days before; the days were gloomy and overcast; the nights longer and colder - all in all, the perfect atmosphere for reading Dark Harvest.

I'll admit, in the opening pages of the story, I was a bit thrown off by the intermittent use of the second person ["That's not the way it works around here. You remember. Corn's harvested by hand in these parts (p.4)."] within the seemingly unlimited omniscient third person narrative, but that quirky style actually worked: I was pulled in closer, felt more involved in the story, as it progressed. Like I was sitting with the storyteller, in the middle of the woods, on opposite sides of a small bonfire.

Overall, I was reminded of "The Lottery" and The Hunger Games. A weird blend of the two, yet effective in its examination of conformity and apathy, especially in small town cultures. Or, one could read it simply as a fast-paced, somewhat gory Halloween tale about kids paying for the sins of their fathers. depending on how you interpret the reasons for the ritual.

Recommended to those who won't be too bothered by not having all the answers when the last page is turned. Dark Harvest is definitely more about the journey than the destination. ( )
  flying_monkeys | Nov 9, 2014 |
Every year the people of the town lock their boys aged sixteen to nineteen in their bedrooms for five days without food then let them loose on the night of Halloween for the Run. The October Boy, a living, breathing scarecrow stuffed with candy and topped by a jack-o-lantern head, will try to make it to the church by midnight. Whatever teenage boy stops him is the winner and is allowed past the Line to escape from town. Pete is determined to win this year, but not everything about the Run is as it at first appears.

This short book told in an urban legend/campfire ghost story style is basically an allegory for being a teenager in a small town. While those emotions are palpable in the story and the narration style is enjoyable, I felt that the book left too many unanswered questions. It simply did not feel complete. Similarly, I do not like the title. Why didn't Partridge call it The October Boy? That's a much better title.

Overall, this is a fun, quick horror story told in an intimate, urban legend style. Due to its themes, it will work best for teenagers, but adults who vividly remember those emotions will probably enjoy it as well.

Check out my full review: http://wp.me/pp7vL-AR ( )
  gaialover | Oct 12, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Ed Gorman
First words
A Midwestern town. You know its name. You were born here.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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 is. Rising from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in hand, he makes his way towards town. Both the hunter and the hunted, he is the prize in an annual rite of life and death.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
52 wanted2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.83)
0.5 1
1 1
2 1
2.5 2
3 12
3.5 6
4 31
4.5 7
5 11

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 109,763,011 books! | Top bar: Always visible