Title: The Last Night of October
Author: Greg Chapman
Release date: April 16, 2021 (Previously released in 2013, 2014 & 2016)
Huge thanks to Omnium Gatherum. Netgalley and Greg Chapman for approving this for me to read.
I’ve hailed my love of Greg’s work for a number of years now and when I saw this pop up on Netgalley, I couldn’t resist, even knowing that if I was approved I might not get it read before release date. Once I was approved though, I had to put my other reads aside for an evening and read this. At about 70 pages, this was an easy single sitting read and for those who might be on the slower side of reading, the way Chapman hooks you with this one will force you to read this without putting it down, so be prepared.
What I liked: Like every other book I’ve read from Chapman (and his short stories) you’ll start out feeling familiar with what you’re going to read, only to see the stunning scope of ‘freshness’ that Greg’s writing infuses into every trope. The book itself actually opens with a really nice foreword by Lisa Morton, which sets the stage. She says that Chapman writes one of the most stunning Halloween based stories while also throwing the expectations of what a Halloween story should be, on its head. You know what? She’s spot on.
The story is simple enough (and familiar). We are introduced to an old man, Gerald Forsyth. Life has caught up to him, so he depends on home nurses to come and make sure his air cannisters are changed over and his oxygen supply is functioning correctly. He lives alone, just how he prefers it. He hates life itself and everything included; people, outdoors, niceness, everything. But what he hates most of all is Halloween.
Chapman does an enormous amount with the bare minimum. Gerald doesn’t want anyone coming to his house on Halloween and this is most evident when a fill-in nurse arrives and decides to open the door to a mysteriously quiet trick-or-treater.
This simple act plunges the story down the rabbit hole you know Chapman was leading us towards, but when he takes us there, Good Lord. Expect grief driven darkness to infiltrate that layer between your skin and muscle, because this one makes you squirm.
I always love how Greg makes sure everything feels real. Even the paranormal/supernatural/horror elements he’ll write about always have a sensation of ‘this is actually possible’ to them and ‘The Last Night of October’ is a prime example of this.
Learning about the ‘why’ of Gerald’s disgust towards October 31st was a really great section and elevates everything that came before it as well as what happens after.
What I didn’t like: In this case – I wanted to smack our fill-in nurse. She was inside Gerald’s house and he expressly asked her not to do specific things, which she did anyways. But, I guess, if she’d listened then we wouldn’t have discovered the rest of the story, so fine, I guess that’s ok haha!
Why you should buy this: Chapman is one of my favorite authors and he is a stunning artist as well. ‘The Last Night of October’ deserves a wider release from it’s limited offers previously and is another amazing example of how talented Greg is as a writer. It doesn’t matter the length of story, you can always expect a fantastically twisted tale and this one is no different.
One of the best things I’ve read from Greg, this one is a must read and I’m excited to see more people discover his work.
‘The Last Night of October’ is currently available for pre-order through the publisher, but I’d expect a wider launch through the usual channels around release date.