Written by: Matt Molgaard
You’re probably thinking I should just let the holiday go for the remainder of this year, right? Well, no can do. In my world, every day is Halloween. So, I’m bringing you some late coverage of a quality seasonal collection, and no, I’m not talking about our very own HNR Halloween anthology (pardon the shameless self-promotion). On tap for you is a breakdown of Paul Meiniczek’s Halloween themed effort, A Haunted Halloween. Stuffed with 11 diverse tales centered on this magnificent holiday, the book doesn’t disappoint.
Among the standout efforts of this one are Wicked Treats, a story of devious children who get what they deserve; Effortless, an incredibly unique tale that’s got more to do with relationship turmoil than Halloween… though it fits perfectly in this package; The Invited, which somehow makes scarecrows extremely cool and frightening. Now understand that these are simply personal favorites. The fact is, there was one lone story in this collection that didn’t quite work for me. One collection, one single story that – in my opinion – doesn’t quite hold up to the impact of the other 10 tales… I’d call that a serious success.
But here’s the real kicker about A Haunted Halloween: it’s perfectly suited to appeal to virtually all ages. Children will enjoy this book. Teens will enjoy this book. We old folk who’ve been reading horror for decades will also find a gratifying collection packed with shorts that feel perfectly appropriate for those who favor somewhat intense works. The reason the book appeals to such a wide range is really rather simple. Meiniczek doesn’t inundate the reader with enormous amounts of profanity, and he doesn’t travel to overtly sadistic territory. What he does is create something for everyone by employing a tactful approach to his fiction, never too offensive, and never too timid. This really is a book fit for damn near every crowd.
Paul delivers true imagination. Don’t anticipate a plethora of cliché tales, anticipate a piece of work that covers some amazing themes and content, all of which are quite different, and all of which linger on the disturbing side. The icing on the cake comes in the sense that this book really, truly will work for a very broad selection of genre fans. It’s engaging, ingraining and utterly enjoyable.