The Pumpkin Man by John Everson

Everson’s exciting and powerful new novel, The Pumpkin Man, just hit the shelves with a bloodied fury like no other. Throwing back to his earlier work like Covenent and The 13th, The Pumpkin Man is a non-stop thrill ride that truly exemplifies slasher horror in literature. As fans of Everson’s work, Meli and I couldn’t be more excited for the direction this author is going in. It’s got all of the signature style of Everson’s work, but with an updated flair, and cinematic tendencies just perfect to indulge in this month of All Hallow’s Eve.

After her father’s gruesome murder, Jenn needed a place to get away from it all with some friends, to takes her mind of the grief. The empty seaside cottage she inherited seemed perfect. 

Jenn didn’t know that the cottage held arcane secrets, mysteries long hidden and best left alone. She didn’t realize until it was too late that the old books and Puija boards she found there really do hold great power. And it was only after her friend’s headless body was discovered that she knew the legend of the local bogeyman was no mere legend at all.

And evil has been unleashed, a terrifying figure previously only spoken of in whispers. But not the whispers will become screams. 

Right out of the gates, Everson provides the reader with a steaming bloodbath of wicked fun. Showing off his innate ability to craft stories around arcane and occult themes, he dives straight into the story with a menacing gait, this time bringing the legend of the Ouija board out to play. (Note – I can’t speak for Meli, but I’m absolutely terrified of Ouija boards… – Colum) (I concur that Ouija boards are not to be trifled with, although I enjoyed reaching out to the dearly departed as a youngin!… Meli)

While staying true to his engaging characters and B-grade slasher movie feel, Everson whisks the reader away on a great, modern whodunnit, updated with a horror feel that only he can successfully deliver. Without Everson’s masterful ability to entice his readers with erotic subtext and addictive dialogue, our main gal Jennica would be a throwaway character. But Everson has different designs for his victims. Like most of our favorite writers, Everson beats the hell out his fictional folks, putting them in intense emotional and physical situations, and barely letting them get out without some harm done. In fact, you can be sure that at least one person you thought was going to survive probably won’t.

Everson’s ability to consistently craft incredibly erotic scenes in his fiction doesn’t wane here either. Some of the scenes in this novel play out like full fledged romantic/erotic fare, blurring the lines between beauty and brutality that hold most horror fiction from being considered legitimate literature in some people’s less informed opinions. Everson’s reach is long, proving once again that he his an author for all seasons.

Another notable Everson signature is the strength of his past voice. In The Pumpkin Man, the reader alternates between past and present, present through our protagonist Jennica and past via her Aunt Meredith’s journal entries. While sporadic, these journal entries offer damning information that corrupt Jennica’s present with a fluid realism that is essential for the reader to believe in this wicked curse. Despite the brevity of Meredith’s written records, the reader nonetheless feels the demonic spiritual nature of The Pumpkin Man which lends itself to the bone-chilling conclusion to our tale. Beware! “…there is a pause in the air here as the earth awaits the next moment, the next chance to give and take life, like a tide of animation.”

Along with a brand new website, Everson is looking to take Halloween in his own hands, as well as stoke the flames for the new breed of horror fan and introduce a more multi-media feel to the horror lit scene. The online home for The Pumpkin Man has a little bit of everything for the modern horror crowd. Featured on the website is a little insight into the writing of the book, a small sample of the music that Everson listened to while writing the story, an incredible interactive Ouija board and (Colum’s personal favorite) an introduction to a phenomenal band called New Years Day – a power pop/punk rock band that sounds so goddamned good, Colum has spent most of the time he was supposed to be writing this review in search of all of the info he could get his greedy little mitts on.

Head on over to The Pumpkin Man’s site to check out the song ‘Ressurection‘ from their EP, The Mechanical Heart, which is available on iTunes now. You can check out New Years Day’s Facebook page for more information.

With the direction that Everson is taking, we can proudly say that it’s good to know some things don’t change. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: John Everson is a powerhouse of an author, the king of erotic horror, and a twisted joy to read. We doubt this man will ever put out a book that doesn’t kick ass.

Colum & Meli

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