The Best Night of the Year by Gerald Dean Rice
It’s that time of year again! October is my favorite month, and The Best Night of the Year delivers three spooky short tales of Halloween horror.
The Best Night of the Year contains 3 tales of terror from the author of Fleshbags. Two police officers make a routine yearly stop and get a treat that will last them the rest of their lives. A man trying to bond with his stepson while trick-or-treating welcomes a lone child to join them. A gravedigger discovers a trick that puts his life on the line. Stick around ‘till the end for an excerpt of the upcoming novella, “Axe to the face.”
“Mona” kicks off the collection. It seems the women of the Echols family have a history of bad behavior on Halloween night, and two deputies show up to do a welfare check. Carl and Wendell are just doing their jobs, but given the history of the house and the owner, they can’t very well just say “hello” and move on. True to the spirit of the night, Mona makes an offer. Is it a trick or a treat? You’ll have to read it to find out.
“They all know what your mama did. And her mama. And her mama. So on and so forth, like ‘at. You’re already guilty by virtue of your last name.”
“The Best Night of the Year” takes us into the mean streets of trick-or-treat. A man and his stepson work the neighborhood and pal up with a kid who is door-knocking by himself. They flee the spoiled brats and grumpy adults in search of candy. Who is the real monster here? The children hiding in their costumes or the adults who only pour out bounty to the beautiful?
“Where’s your momma?”
He turned his whole body to face me. “Momma didn’t bring me. I came by myself.It’s the only day I get to come outside and I can stay out aaaaalll night as long as I want. It’s the best night of the whole year!”
“Do Not Dig” completes the trilogy. Gravediggers have a rough job, and who would mind if they take a nip or two while they work? And if n one is around at night, well, the boss isn’t really going to care what goes on as long as the work gets done. One of the team takes a side job, and the money is very, very good.
I leapt back when I saw the broken locks on the open coffin and Mr. Alvo’s arm hanging out. His body had been moved. Like the whole works had been dropped in there instead of being carefully lowered.”
“He was moving, sir,” Munroe said, standing at the lip of the grave.
I’m giving this collection a thumbs-up for a dark Halloween read. The setting of the haunted house, the dangers of trick-or-treating, and whistling past the graveyard are all time-worn favorites. The stories aren’t quite turn-on-the-lights scary, but they do add a good dose of creepy seasonal fun. I particularly liked the title story, where I was certain that the real monster was the one in the tiara. My least favorite was “Mona” simply because I never understood the motivation –the what was there, but not the why. It seems that a chunk of the story was missing and it just hinted at something more sinister without delivering on the history of the family or the house.
I recommend this book to Halloween enthusiasts who like a good Creepshow-inspired tale to spice up their favorite holiday. And remember, give out the good candy to all the kids, no matter how freaky their costume. The collection costs less than a buck, so drop over to Amazon and pick up a copy for your eReader.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Originally published at www.bookie-monster.com