Richard Chizmar, Lisa Tuttle, Norman Prentiss, Kevin Quigley, and Peter Straub unmask monsters hiding in plain sight in an anthology of heart-pounding short fiction assembled by horror author and editor Brian James Freeman.
DEVIL’S NIGHT by Richard Chizmar
You’ve read about what happened that night. What you don’t know is the true extent of the damage. The papers got it wrong—and the truth is so much worse than you thought.
THE LAST DARE by Lisa Tuttle
Elaine hasn’t been back to her hometown in years. The house she lived in is gone. The tower house isn’t—nor are the stories of the fate that befalls whoever dares to go there.
THE HALLOWEEN BLEED by Norman Prentiss
People think there’s some sort of mystical power that allows enchantments and witchcraft to come to life on Halloween night. But real magic obeys no calendar—and true evil strikes whenever it’s least expected.
SWING by Kevin Quigley
In Hollywood, everyone lives forever. At least that’s what I used to think . . . before Jessica. But no one seems to live long when they’re around me.
PORK PIE HAT by Peter Straub
When it comes to jazz, there are players, and there are legends. “Hat” was a legend. His real name didn’t even matter. Still, he had his secrets—secrets best left buried in the past.
Praise for Halloween Carnival Volume 5
“This miniature cavalcade of spine-tingling and thought-provoking horrors lives up to its name and is the perfect Halloween treat.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
It all started on a windblown Friday night in October. It was the night before Halloween, the night we always called Wreck Night or Devil’s Night back when we were kids and Halloween was second in our hearts only to Christmas.
At least the newspapers got that much right. The day, I mean. They pretty much screwed up the rest of the story.
I was there that night. Let me tell you what really happened . . .
In the chill autumn months after my first child was born, I spent many late-night hours driving the streets of my hometown. It became a routine. Two, three nights a week, around about midnight, I’d creep into the nursery one final time to check on the baby (a healthy boy named Joshua, after my father) and then I’d kiss my amused wife good night and off I’d go, driving the streets in random routes until my eyes went blurry and my spine sprouted kinks the size of quarters.
Driving and thinking. Thinking and driving. Some nights with the radio. Most nights in silence.
That was a little more than four years ago, but I still go out and drive some nights. Just not very often now—maybe once or twice a month, tops.
My wife, Janice, is wonderful (and wise) and she’s known me for more than half of my thirty-six years, so she innately understands the need for these trips of mine. We rarely talk about it, but she somehow knows that this town where we both grew up and still live today, this town—its streets and houses and storefronts and lawns and sidewalks and the very sky above—gives me a real sense of peace and understanding I could never hope to find elsewhere. I know how funny that sounds, how old-fashioned, but it’s the best and probably the only way I know how to describe my feelings for this place.
When little Josh was born, it was an event that thrilled me to new heights but also deeply troubled me. That’s actually a pretty big understatement, the part about it troubling me. You see . . . I worried about the baby. I worried about my wife. I worried a lot about myself. I worried a lot, period. There were just so many new and important questions, and more and more of them seemed to be born with each passing day.
Could I be a good father?
Could I provide for the family with just a teacher’s salary?
Could I protect the baby from a world so different from the one I grew up in?
Fact is, I never found the answers to most of the hard questions that arose during that period in my life—hell, most of them still exist today—but the answers that I did find usually came to me during those midnight drives. They got me through some rough times.
So, you see, that’s the reason I went out for a ride on that windy Friday evening. There were budget problems at school to be dealt with the following week and budget problems at home to be dealt with that very weekend, and I needed a dose of cool night air to help clear my head. We were just recently a family of four, having added a terribly fussy but nonetheless adorable baby girl to the mix. Josh and the baby were sound asleep and Janice was upstairs resting, a few hundred pages into one of those romance paperbacks she loves so much. The house was too damn quiet. It was seven minutes past nine o’clock when I steered a hard left out of our driveway.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the fifth and final in a series of short story collections to be released throughout October this year. This one started off strong but faltered a bit towards the end. Opening this collection, Devil's Night is a very different of story in a positive way. Very fast moving and engaging, I enjoyed this one a lot. The Last Dare was back into the more typical fare but still a nice story. The ending left a real impression even if the scares throughout weren't quite as prevalent. The Halloween Bleed was another solid story though it left a bit too much unexplained in my opinion. There were some very good moments but too far between and the characters didn't leave much of an impression. More mood than substance, Swing was a little hard to get through. The mood was very well done but there didn't feel like there was much actual story there. The final story, Pork Pie Hat, was by far the longest story in the collection and possibly in all 5 volumes. I found the story outside of the actual Halloween element more interesting but overall it felt a bit too long. This is definitely worth reading even it's not the strongest in the series, especially if you like the other volumes. I'd order the stories in this order from favorite to least favorite: Devil's Night The Last Dare The Halloween Bleed Pork Pie Hat Swing I received an advance copy of this title for review.
Halloween Carnival Volume 5 is the fifth and final (for now, at least) installment of the Halloween Carnival series. The last one gives us gems by Richard Chizmar, Lisa Tuttle, Norman Prentiss, Kevin Quigley, and Peter Straub. I found Swing by Kevin Quigley fascinating. Essentially, it's a horror love story. Not very Halloweeny, but good nonetheless. Surprisingly, Peter Straub's Pork Pie Hat was my favorite. First of all, let me say this: I do not like Peter Straub's writings. I have tried to like him. I have read several of his books in an attempt to like him. But with the exception of his dalliances with Stephen King, I have not liked any of them much. But something about Pork Pie Hat grabbed me and took me for a ride. Definitely my favorite of the book.