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Danny is sick of running. Harvest Cove is the latest nowhere place he's drifted through with his dad. In summer, people come to stay in cottages on the vast lake. In winter, Harvest Cove is a ghost town hidden away in Canada's Big Empty. Danny's been running forever, but Harvest Cove might be his last stop. The place has a way of making people disappear.

As the cold sets in, Danny and his new friends stumble on a centuries-old nightmare. They start seeing things. Impossible ...

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Danny is sick of running. Harvest Cove is the latest nowhere place he's drifted through with his dad. In summer, people come to stay in cottages on the vast lake. In winter, Harvest Cove is a ghost town hidden away in Canada's Big Empty. Danny's been running forever, but Harvest Cove might be his last stop. The place has a way of making people disappear.

As the cold sets in, Danny and his new friends stumble on a centuries-old nightmare. They start seeing things. Impossible things. And in winter, there's no escape from Harvest Cove.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Danny, the new kid in town, hangs out with the other transients in a Canadian back-of-the-beyond: Army brats Ash (half Ojibwa, all feisty female), and psycho brothers Pike and Howie. Like most teenagers, they spend a certain amount of time cruising in Pike's jalopy. Looking for trouble? Actually, looking for anything in this "Big Empty"—besides the subzero cold, of course. Graham McNamee does not keep either his characters or his readers waiting for long. Before you can say "Big Foot" (or "Sasquatch," or "Windigo"), Danny and his pals are in very serious trouble in this fast paced horror tale. The end result could be worse than a schlocky B-flick, but McNamee manages to keep it all quite believable by approaching his story with deadly seriousness. Before they can overcome the ice monster, each of his characters must deal with the deep freeze within themselves, whether it be Danny's mourning for his dead mother, Howie's agoraphobia, Pike's manic random violence, or Ash's fear of femininity. Still, past the symbolism there lies a chillingly cool story. Brrrr. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

In this supernatural thriller set in a remote Canadian town in the dead of winter, four friends encounter a cannibalistic creature that is hunting and killing teens. Out late at night, Danny, the narrator, is stung by the terrible monster and it begins to stalk his nightmares. As he becomes increasingly and mysteriously ill, he realizes that his life is in danger. The foursome, after a failed attempt to involve law enforcement, decide to take on the behemoth with stolen dynamite and guns "borrowed" from their fathers. In addition to the main story line, the novel has Danny coming to terms with his mother's recent death and reconnecting with his father. Each of the friends comes across as an individual. Danny's love interest, Ash, a girl boxer who is half Ojibwa, is a particularly dynamic character (Danny's physical reaction to riding with her on her motorbike will ring true with hormonal teens). It is from Ash that Danny first hears stories about Windigos, "big, ugly things...with a chunk of ice for a heart." The unrelenting pace, short chapters, and the idea of teenagers taking on a monster with a large amount of weaponry will certainly appeal to fans of horror novels.-Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA

Kirkus Reviews
Harvest Cove is too small even to be a dot on the map, tucked away as it is in Canada's Big Empty, "so big it could swallow you without a trace." But it's not only the vast land that threatens to swallow Danny Quinn; there's a demon out there, what the Cree call Oskankaskatin, or "bone chiller," a soul-stealer that has haunted this Ontario town for centuries. Now it's after Danny, and he enlists three high-school friends to fight it. A fearsome monster, creepy nightmares, wild snowmobile chases, painful family memories and a romance with a beautiful female boxer make this a wild time for a young boy in a sleepy little town. The first-person, present-tense narration is taut, fast-paced and stylish, expertly weaving in deft characterizations and a strong sense of place-bitter cold emptiness compared to the Toronto heat of McNamee's previous thriller, Acceleration (2003). Read this intense horror story in big gulps, and don't forget to breathe. (Horror. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307975935
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 645,153
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

GRAHAM McNAMEE is the award-winning author of five novels, including Sparks, which won the first PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship; Bonechiller; and Acceleration, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery.

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Read an Excerpt

I stumble on home in the dark, dizzy and delirious.

The wind whips up, cutting right through me. So I start to jog. Back at the house, Dad will have a fire going and the place will be nice and toasty.

He’s the caretaker at the Harvest Cove marina, for the off-season, while the owner winters down in Florida. Staying at the small marina house comes with the job. There’s a bait and rentals office on the ground floor, with the living space up top.

It’s a temp job. Everything’s temporary for us. In the spring we’ll be moving on to the next town, next life. I’m not going to think about it.

I think about Ash instead.

Back on the first day of school, I was slouching in my seat. Trying to lay low. New place. New faces. Same old same old. Then in walks the boxer-girl who knocked me out. I slouched some more, hoping she didn’t see me. I was staring at the floor when a pair of black army boots stopped beside me. I looked up into the dark eyes of my assassin.

“Hey, killer. Ready for a re-match?” She was grinning wide.

Then she grabbed the seat right in front of me, and I had to stare at the back of her neck the rest of the day. A very nice neck, I discovered. And a very nice rest of her too.
Now, licking my lips as I jog, I can taste her Mars bar. So what do I do when I see her at school tomorrow? She’s going to act like nothing happened. Guess I’ll play along with–

What’s that? Out of the corner of my eye, I catch something big moving in the ditch on the right side of the road. I only get a blurry glimpse before it dips out of sight. Something pale and quick. And big!
Slowing to a walk, I try and focus in the dim light from the crescent moon. Without moving too close to the ditch, I can only make out shades of gray–dark, darker and darkest.

Nothing’s dumb enough to be out on a night like this. Like my grandfather used to say–a night not fit for man or beast. Or me.

So I start jogging again. All the insanity that’s gone down tonight has got me wired and twitchy. That, and a case of hypothermia, must be toying with my brain.

Coming up to Fourth Line, I pick out the firefly lights of houses set back from the road. The wind brings the smell of burning wood from cottage fireplaces. The taste of smoke in the air teases me with a promise of warmth, making the cold seem even colder.

Passing the Line, I catch a flash of something pale in my peripheral vision, emerging from the right-side ditch to cross Fourth Line, then diving back into the deep shadows of the ditch on the other side.
That was something–definitely something!

I slow to a stop, listening hard. But there’s nothing past my own panting, and the hollow whisper of the wind.

Maybe it’s just a plastic bag. There’s tons of trash blowing around out here, with the local dump only a mile off. But even I know that’s weak. It would have to be one huge bag. And whatever it is, it’s going against the wind coming off the lake.

Might be one of Mangy Mason’s big Alaskan huskies. He’s this ancient guy who lives in a rusting trailer on the lakeshore, and lets his dogs run wild. They’re harmless, right?

Should I take a peek?

There’s a shiver doing laps up and down my spine, from the cold, but also from that phantom itch you get when you feel someone staring at you. Someone, or something.

Take a peek? Hell no!

Just as I’m going to bolt, I hear it. A growl, so deep it shivers my eardrums. Like when you max out the bass on your speakers.

I’m paralyzed for a long moment. Then I force myself into a staggering jog, eyes locked on the far side of the road.

I stick to the left side. The edge next to me drops off into the deep dark.

Just as I hit Third, I see it.

And it’s no dog.

It’s big! And long. And fast. It isn’t much more than a blur as it flashes across Third Line and vanishes back in the ditch on the other side. It looks eight to ten feet long.
That can’t be right. There’s no way.

It’s running on all fours, I can tell that much.But running silent as it speeds through the debris in the ditch. Not a sound–no scratch of gravel, cracking twigs. Nothing.

My brain stalls on me.

Stunned, I slow down and try to remember what you do when confronted by a wild animal. Make some noise? Try to scare it off?

Then I hear that growl again, keeping pace with me in the dark. Shivering me bone-deep.

Just run!

At top speed, I can make it home in five minutes.

But that’s a long time on a dark road, too far from the nearest house for anyone to hear me scream.

Shut up and run!

I sprint against the wind, arms pumping. My runners chew up the gravel. I’m flying now. Raw fear makes me ignore the burning in my chest as I heave for more oxygen.
Up ahead, I can just make out the light at the end of the road, marking the turnoff for the marina. First Line, finish line.

Crossing Second, I can’t help looking back. My vision is blurred with tears from the frigid wind.

Nothing. Nothing. Maybe it’s had it’s fun, and now–

No. Diving from ditch to ditch, it clears the Line without even setting foot on it this time. My eyes must be screwing with me. There’s no way anything can move like that. If it’s making any noise now, I can’t tell past my own gasping and my shoes pounding the snowy gravel.

Focus on the light! Eyes on the prize.

That beacon in the black grows slowly. So slowly. As I close in on it a few more lights from the marina wink in and out through the trees.

I might just make it.

Then my foot hits a patch of ice.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Sci fi fan

    Really thrilling book it felt all too real like dannys dreams that i had to put it down and take a break sometimes

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  • Posted March 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Thrilling to the bone

    This is maybe one of my favorite books. The action is thrilling and the suspense will kill you. This takes place in Canada. Where a boy and his farther have move do to the passing of his mother. He has moved many times before and this may be the final time he moves. When he first arrives everythings great. But one day when he is on his way home he is bitten buy some strange creature. He starts to feel six. A week later a kid goes missing. When they start to research what has been going on they found out the 100s of kids have gone missing after being bitten by a strange creature. Will the boy found out how to stop this or will he just be one of the many others to go missing. Get this book to find out. Yoy will be chilled to the bone by what you find out.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A True Teen Thriller!

    The way to start a good thriller is to blow something up! After that you through an evil monster in the mix and BAM you've got "Bonechiller". The frozen setting of Canada takes you into another world full of darkness and below zero tempertures. Danny and his friends Ash, Pike, and Harry are like at the last humanly possible edge of the frozeness of winter. Danny's walking home one night and he gets attacked by some sort of beast with fangs. The thing hits the back of his hand with it's tounge and the head games begin. The beast is crawling inside his mind! And Danny can't get it out of his head. Then, it effects his friend. Will the beast ever stop taking children from Canada and devouring them?

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  • Posted May 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book!

    This author won me over with 'Acceleration'. This book was a great read, I couldn't put it down. Keep up the good work G.M.!

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