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Winner of the Stoker Award and named one of the 100 Best Novels of 2006 by Publishers Weekly, Dark Harvest takes place during Halloween of 1963 in a small Midwestern town. They call him the October Boy, or Ol’ Hacksaw Face, or Sawtooth Jack. Whatever the name, everybody in town knows who he is. How he rises from the cornfields every Halloween, a butcher knife in his hand, and makes his way toward town, where gangs of teenage boys eagerly await their chance to confront the legendary nightmare. Both the hunter and the hunted, the October Boy is the prize in an annual rite of life and death.
Pete McCormick knows that killing the October Boy is his one chance to escape a dead-end future in this one-horse town. He’s willing to risk everything, including his life, to be a winner for once. But before the night is over, Pete will look into the saw-toothed face of horror—and discover the terrifying true secret of the October Boy.
“If you’re looking for a scary Halloween tale, with lots of blood and gore—and candy—you’ve come to the right place.”—Rocky Mountain News
“Using a quick, lean prose reminiscent of the finest Gold Medal-era fiction and, at the same time, as fresh as a Quentin Tarantino film, Partridge packs more into this slim volume than most authors do in a bloated 600-page epic.”—The Austin Chronicle
“Probably the most exciting and original voice in horror literature to have appeared in the last decade.”—Peter Straub
“A major new talent.”—Stephen King
"At the start of this mesmerizing new fantasy from Partridge, it's Halloween night in 1963 in Anytown, U.S.A., and the local teenage boys are ramping up for the annual hunt for the October Boy, a pumpkin-headed being cultivated by the town fathers to run the gauntlet each All Hallows' Eve. The boy who brings him down before he makes it to the local church wins a highly coveted ticket out of town and, as most believe, liberation from the stultifying ennui of small-town life that has crushed all ambition and dreams out of the adults. Pete McCormick is among the most determined boys on the hunt, but this evening he will learn horrifying truths about his town's tradition and the terrible price he must pay for his manhood. Partridge has always had a knack for sifting deeper significance from period pop culture, but here he brilliantly distills a convincing male identity myth from teen rebel drive-in flicks, garish comic book horrors, hard-boiled crime pulps and other bits of lowbrow Americana. Whether read as potent dark fantasy or a modern coming-of-age parable, this is contemporary American writing at its finest."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)