Review: The Halloween Children by Brian Freeman and Norman Prentiss

The Halloween Children
By Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley over the summer, but given the awful state of affairs with my perpetual TBR stack I didn't manage to get to this novella until now. But damn if October certainly isn't a mighty fine time to read something like The Halloween Children.

Early on in this story, authors Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss write about how an apartment complex is the perfect setting for a haunted house. You don't need an ancient Native American graveyard or a scene of senseless mass slaughter (although they certainly help!). Apartment complexes present a transitory population, often times with rapid turnover, various cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs - a virtual melting pot, really, for ghoulish horrors to develop and mingle over years or decades.

Or this bit of stage-setting could just be ramblings of insanity told by the damned...

The Halloween Children is a multi-POV narrative, with the chapters structured as interrogation interviews, recordings made by Harris (the apartment complex's handyman), his wife's journal, and e-mails from a college student recently moved into the complex. Between these various devices, Freeman and Prentiss keep the tension ratcheted up high and left me guessing as to who the ultimate culprit - or culprits - were in this story of madness.

Between some solid scares, psychological shenanigans, and brief yet brutal depictions of horrifying violence, this one's a winner. I found The Halloween Children to be a perfect kick-off to this season of the witch.

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Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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