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