Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Not a disaster, but definitely a disappointment, feeling padded even for its short length, and lacking any sort of emotional investment. The only character I cared remotely about in the end was the October Boy himself, and even that is at the most basic level.
The plot itself doesn't stand up to any scrutiny: Why did this start happening? How? Why can't people leave, do people move in? If not, wouldn't they be terribly, terribly inbred at this point? Is that why they took Kelly back, to breed for them? If not, why bother if they've already killed her parents for leaving? Are bloodlines important maybe? Who are they sacrificing to, how does the sacrifice work? What is the line, how does it prevent people from leaving? If the majority of townsfolk are unhappy with the deal, as it seems in the finale, why do they put up with it? And who else is in the Havester's Guild other than the muscle with a gun they got as an enforcer, and aren't they really the scariest thing about this? You can't ask these questions, because your disappointment just grows.
A book has to be pretty damned good to survive not giving any sort of answer, and this book is not. And it's terrible overwritten, dancing between hardboiled and purple prose, making it a jagged reading experience.
I've seen other readers mention The Wicker Man and Children of the Corn, but if you want to watch something that's close to this, but does everything it should do better, watch the first season episode of Supernatural, "Scarecrow." It aired the same year this was published, is in short form like this book, and actually nails the subject.