Reviews of dark fiction

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

A night at the movies, a prank gone wrong and a town turned on its head. I never know what to expect from Stephen Graham Jones, and this novella is no exception!

Told in the first person, Sawyer explains how his group of friends found an old mannequin in the mud near the river and how they dug him out, dressed him up and put him in a bunch of different situations. They named him Manny. As teenagers often do, they quickly tired of him and now he, (it?), resides on top of Sawyer’s dad’s old motorcycle, parked in their garage. Manny is resurrected though, to play a prank on a movie theater manager. A prank that, tragically, goes wrong and now Sawyer has to right that wrong-and soon. Will he be successful? You’ll have to read this to find out!

It’s really hard to discuss this tale without spoilers, but, as usual, Stephen Graham Jones threw me a curveball. Everything I thought this story was about was wrong. What I thought was going to happen? I was wrong. What I thought Sawyer would do? He didn’t. Why? I can’t tell you, you’ll just have to read it.

Easily read in an hour or two, I’ve often mentioned that I think the novella form is one of the best ways to present a horror story. Every word has to count, every action leads to the next. It’s tight, it doesn’t waste time, and when it’s done well? It’s a perfect little package of darkness that leaves you thinking for days. Bravo, once again to Stephen Graham Jones!

Highly recommended!

Available on September 1st, but you can pre-order here: NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS

*Thank you to NetGalley and Tor for the e-ARC of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

Night of the Mannequins Book Cover Night of the Mannequins
Stephen Graham Jones
Horror, Dark Fiction
Tor
9.1.20
Kindle
136
https://amzn.to/3eyiW4L

Award-winning author Stephen Graham Jones returns with Night of the Mannequins, a contemporary horror story where a teen prank goes very wrong and all hell breaks loose: is there a supernatural cause, a psychopath on the loose, or both?

We thought we'd play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead.

One last laugh for the summer as it winds down. One last prank just to scare a friend. Bringing a mannequin into a theater is just some harmless fun, right? Until it wakes up. Until it starts killing.

Luckily, Sawyer has a plan. He’ll be a hero. He'll save everyone to the best of his ability. He'll do whatever he needs to so he can save the day. That's the thing about heroes―sometimes you have to become a monster first.

"Suffused with questions about the nature of change and friendship, “Night of the Mannequins” is a fairy tale of impermanence showcasing Graham Jones’s signature style of smart, irreverent horror." ―The New York Times

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