stuff I read

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

Summary from Goodreads: 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?

Praise for Night of the Mannequins

“Stephen Graham Jones’ has one of the most gripping, stream-of-consciousness voices in horror fiction. Night of the Mannequins is propulsive and poignant, capturing the mundane terror of adolescence, and adding that ever-so-essential dab of killer mannequin. You won’t put it down.” —Sarah Langan

I’ve never read Stephen Graham Jones before but he kept coming across my radar as a really good horror writer. Small wrinkle: Melissas don’t like horror novels. (Hey, I like to sleep at night. I had to put Geek Love, which is NOT a horror novel, in the freezer FOR REALZ because I was convinced that circus geeks were going to steal my toes in the middle of the night.) But in the interests of diversifying my reading – both in terms of genre and author diversity – I decided to give Jones’s new novella a read.

Night of the Mannequins is a wry psychological horror novella with a teen slasher (ish? but no actual slashing) vibe. The book opens with Sawyer narrating from the future. Apparently, he and his friends once found a mannequin in the woods and carried it around and used it to play pranks for years. They play one last prank on a friend at a movie theatre….and then everything goes wrong. People start dying. Maybe there’s a rogue mannequin. Maybe not? And then the plot takes a bit of a turn. Saying more is a spoiler but I will say that I got a whiff of the black comedy of Heathers and some of the goofier teen slasher movies from the 1980s.

Night of the Mannequins is out Tuesday, September 1, just in time for the weather to (maybe) start growing cooler.

Dear FTC: I read a digital galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

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