JournalStone (November 20, 2020)
Reviewed by Ray Palen
Author Daniel Hale’s literary output has consisted primarily of short stories. With the release of HALLOWED DAYS, we have a new collection of short tales that are specifically set in either the Halloween or Christmas season.
Some of the stories are quite short and, at times, are too short to really resonate. However, there are some stories in this collection that are truly unforgettable and some of the rawest horror talent I have seen on display in some time. I will select a few stories that particularly resonated with me:
- “When Santa Stayed” – a tale that literally chills and shows a little girl named Annabelle what ‘he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake’ is really all about!
- “The Old Halloween Store” – Poxton’s Halloween Goods is literally an old home with seemingly endless Halloween items stored in every nook and cranny. When a Mister Pero arrives looking for something special this Halloween, Mr. Poxton takes him on a personal journey into his own Halloween-Land.
- “Ichabod’s Hunger” – as a big Washington Irving fan I found this to be the most ingenious tale in the collection. What if Ichabod had to be chased out of Sleepy Hollow? Brom Van Brunt seems to be the only person who knew that the mysterious Ichabod Crane was something he was pretending not to be. He certainly wasn’t human—a Wendigo? A Skinwalker? Whatever he is, the Ichabod thing has returned, and Brom must deal with him yet again.
- “The Hungry Nutcracker” – you will never look at the nutcracker on your shelf quite the same way again. In this unsettling story, once Timmy’s nutcracker gets a taste for human flesh and bone (in the form of one of Timmy’s own fingers) he just won’t stop. Can Timmy use this to his advantage to right some wrongs this holiday season? You’ll just have to read further and find out!
HALLOWED DAYS has put Daniel Hale firmly on my radar and I want to hear more from him—especially if he applies his fertile imagination to a long-form horror/dark fantasy novel.