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Night of the Mannequins

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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?


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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?

30 review for Night of the Mannequins

  1. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Night of the Mannequins is a heartbreakingly BRUTAL work of Psychological Horror from the minds of one of my favorite Horror writers, Stephen Graham Jones. Jumping into this novella, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. To be honest, I never read the synopsis. I see the name, Stephen Graham Jones, on the cover and immediately want to pick books up. It's a compulsion. Night of the Mannequins follows Sawyer, and his group of friends, when a prank goes horribly wrong. Disguising a discarded mall manneq Night of the Mannequins is a heartbreakingly BRUTAL work of Psychological Horror from the minds of one of my favorite Horror writers, Stephen Graham Jones. Jumping into this novella, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. To be honest, I never read the synopsis. I see the name, Stephen Graham Jones, on the cover and immediately want to pick books up. It's a compulsion. Night of the Mannequins follows Sawyer, and his group of friends, when a prank goes horribly wrong. Disguising a discarded mall mannequin as a patron at the local movie theater seemed like the perfect way to get back at the stuffy assistant manager. The same one who happened to recently punish the friend group for sneaking into a movie unpaid. What starts off as a fairly innocent prank, however, turns more deadly than this group of teens could have ever imagined. In the aftermath, Sawyer seems to be the only one with a plan to limit the destruction. First, let me just chat a bit about how much I love SGJ's writing. I promise not to swoon for too long. The style is edgy AF, yet feels like Classic Horror all the same. I love the humor and witty dialogue he is able to bring to even the darkest, most haunting tales. Also, his books always go there, all the way to the deepest, most disturbing crevices of the human mind. It's weird. It's powerful. It's freaking distressing and I love it. With this being said, I was really into this novella, loving everything about it until about the 70% mark. Then I started feeling lost. While I feel like I understand the ending, some of the choices of events leading up to the ending didn't seem to fit. It made the conclusion seem a little abrupt and disjointed for me. Overall though, this novella is fantastic. You cannot deny the level of creativity it takes to write a story like this. One that leads you in one direction, flips that on its head and then smacks you in the face with a healthy dose of depressing reality. Sawyer is a very special protagonist. He's one of those characters that (view spoiler)[can do horrible, terrible things, but still you feel like you are on his side (hide spoiler)] . One whose inner thoughts will stick with me for a while. I would highly recommend this to any Horror fan, or any person who just enjoys a bizarre tale. Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I was really looking forward to more SGJ and this did NOT disappoint!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gabby

    4.5 stars This was fucking weird and I can’t stop thinking about it. Really unique and absolutely fascinating and creepy as hell.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Well, shit! I’m the only person that didn’t like this book!! I wanted really creepy mannequins everywhere!! But no!! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 Well, shit! I’m the only person that didn’t like this book!! I wanted really creepy mannequins everywhere!! But no!! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  4. 4 out of 5

    Farrah

    A really cool psychological horror novella that I enjoyed way more than I expected to! It begins with a group of friends playing a harmless prank but evolves into a multi-layered, chilling, violent and quite clever coming of age story. It's written from the POV of a teenage boy and it felt legit and made me laugh out loud a couple of times too. A really cool psychological horror novella that I enjoyed way more than I expected to! It begins with a group of friends playing a harmless prank but evolves into a multi-layered, chilling, violent and quite clever coming of age story. It's written from the POV of a teenage boy and it felt legit and made me laugh out loud a couple of times too.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lala BooksandLala

    Iconic

  6. 5 out of 5

    karen

    cramming in as much spooktober as i can! ************************************* We thought we'd play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead. YES, YES, YES, right? the perfect setup for a perfectly fun teen slasher romp through bizarro territory. except, no. this was so good, but it was good in a completely different way than i was expecting. it's scary, but in a much deeper, more unsettling and lasting way than a killer-mannequin romp has any right to be. Sometimes the real heroes, the sacr cramming in as much spooktober as i can! ************************************* We thought we'd play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead. YES, YES, YES, right? the perfect setup for a perfectly fun teen slasher romp through bizarro territory. except, no. this was so good, but it was good in a completely different way than i was expecting. it's scary, but in a much deeper, more unsettling and lasting way than a killer-mannequin romp has any right to be. Sometimes the real heroes, the sacrifice they make is their own legend or memory, or even their life, right? Sometimes the way you know you've done good is that the whole town hates you and wants you dead. That there even are still people to hate you and want you dead, that's success right there. against the backdrop (sometimes literally) of a broody film about duty and sacrifice and the superhero code, stephen graham jones gives readers something more profoundly disturbing than the brief sugar-rush enjoyment of a bloody stompy monster spree—someone fortified with assumptive justification, with a calculated mission, a clear intention, resolve, determination and purpose. armed with any of these ideals, we could all become superheroes. and that should terrify the shit out of you. come to my blog!

  7. 5 out of 5

    jenny✨

    09/01/2020: This deliciously gory-campy novella is out and about in the world now, and boy I am PUMPED to foist this on my friends! So Shanna got a new job at the movie theatre, we thought we’d play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead, and I’m really starting to feel kind of guilty about it all. THIS, FOLKS, IS HOW NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS OPENS. The whole novella is a devilishly campy teen slasher that had me covering my eyes and busting out ugly-laughing in equal measure. All S 09/01/2020: This deliciously gory-campy novella is out and about in the world now, and boy I am PUMPED to foist this on my friends! So Shanna got a new job at the movie theatre, we thought we’d play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead, and I’m really starting to feel kind of guilty about it all. THIS, FOLKS, IS HOW NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS OPENS. The whole novella is a devilishly campy teen slasher that had me covering my eyes and busting out ugly-laughing in equal measure. All Sawyer Grimes wanted to do was pull a prank on his cousin Shanna. I mean, his best friends were all in on it, too—so it wasn't totally his fault when shit hit the fan, right? There's nothing he could've done to stop them from being picked off, one by one, by the mannequin that should've been a hilarious joke, but ended up turning into their worst nightmare... right? Three years ago, Sawyer, JR, Tim, Shanna, and Danielle fished a pasty mannequin they dubbed Manny out of a mucky pond. For one glorious summer, Manny was one of them—the (cherished) butt of their jokes, a willing participant in their irreverent teenage antics. Then they forgot about Manny. Neglected him. The group's changed (Danielle's dating some loser outside the squad, for one)—and so has Manny. Now, Sawyer knows he's out for revenge. Stephen Graham Jones' writing is just so. damn. entertaining. This was the gory black humour I saw also in The Only Good Indians, but somehow even campier. Like, I should not be sniggering at a sentence containing the words “strangled,” “decapitated,” “burned” AND “drowned.” I shouldn’t laugh about little boys discovering their brothers crucified to walls. And I definitely shouldn't be cackling when Sawyer calls one of the victims a “raging pube.” Here's the terrible (awesome) thing: Night of the Mannequins made me do ALL those things—with relish. And for all you cool cats and kittens who’ve read this and know the twist—(view spoiler)[Sawyer is such a ridiculous murderer I kinda find myself rooting for him??? Demented conviction that he’s saving families and babies and all?? I mean, seriously. Crucifying Tim to spare his parents the excruciating pain of believing their son committed suicide. Disabling his own parents’ cars so they won’t be able to call after him when he runs (because, in his words, “What kid can not stop running away when he hears that?”) And let's not forget this gem: I strode after JR like the killer I am, far too dignified to resort to running. The dude is WHACK and all the funnier for it. (hide spoiler)] Part cautionary tale against reading into everything that happens to you, part ABSURD and brutal slasher... This book is utterly ridiculous and so, so good. Thanks NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    I saw the title of this book and then saw the mostly positive reviews that said it felt like a slasher flick with a sense of humor. "All right," I think. "So we got a killer mannequin story. Should be fun." No, if that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere. There's no way to discuss the plot without spoilers, so... (view spoiler)[The plot is about a teenager who plays a prank, it goes wrong and he comes under the delusion that the mannequin used in the prank has come to life... he also believ I saw the title of this book and then saw the mostly positive reviews that said it felt like a slasher flick with a sense of humor. "All right," I think. "So we got a killer mannequin story. Should be fun." No, if that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere. There's no way to discuss the plot without spoilers, so... (view spoiler)[The plot is about a teenager who plays a prank, it goes wrong and he comes under the delusion that the mannequin used in the prank has come to life... he also believes it is now the size of a godzilla-like monster living in the lake. After some thought he decides it is going to kill all of his friends and their families. In order to save the families, he'll kill his friends himself, so only they die. Okay, so the sense of humor people keep mentioning... I guess it comes from the kid's delusions, but honestly it's so over the top that it was amusing the first time, but the continuation of it started to get annoying fast. Secondly, any sense of suspense was pretty much cut off because he flat out says his friends are dead in the first chapter, so we're just getting pages of our narrator planning out how to kill them, safe in the knowledge that he will succeed. As it is clear that the mannequin killer is in his head from the start, there is no sense of suspense about thinking "what if he's right?" and no clever plays or twists with the idea. So what are we left with? It's honestly such a jumbled mess that I don't even know what the hell it was even supposed to be. A story about a violent teenager justifying his actions with the most far fetched and stupid story imaginable. Now maybe this is just me, but the ridiculousness of his story takes away from what could have been an interesting psychological horror story where the killer tries to justify his actions. Horror and comedy can work together when executed right, but the humor is so childish that it never seemed particularly amusing and took away from every scene it is used in. Maybe this is just me, maybe others see something redeeming, but this is one of the few books I've ever read that seems to fail at everything it attempts. (hide spoiler)] What we get is a little over 100 pages of annoying characters, sentences constructed to sound like an awkward teenager for the entire narration and a story that I honestly don't know why I bothered finishing. I've seen this author repeatedly praised in a lot of horror circles, but from this one book, I honestly can't tell why. 1 out of 5 stars is generous.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Char

    A night at the movies, a prank gone wrong and a town turned on its head. I never know what to expect from Stephen Graham Jones, and this novella is no exception! Told in the first person, Sawyer explains how his group of friends found an old mannequin in the mud near the river and how they dug him out, dressed him up and put him in a bunch of different situations. They named him Manny. As teenagers often do, they quickly tired of him and now he, (it?), resides on top of Sawyer's dad's old motorcy A night at the movies, a prank gone wrong and a town turned on its head. I never know what to expect from Stephen Graham Jones, and this novella is no exception! Told in the first person, Sawyer explains how his group of friends found an old mannequin in the mud near the river and how they dug him out, dressed him up and put him in a bunch of different situations. They named him Manny. As teenagers often do, they quickly tired of him and now he, (it?), resides on top of Sawyer's dad's old motorcycle, parked in their garage. Manny is resurrected though, to play a prank on a movie theater manager. A prank that, tragically, goes wrong and now Sawyer has to right that wrong-and soon. Will he be successful? You'll have to read this to find out! It's really hard to discuss this tale without spoilers, but, as usual, Stephen Graham Jones threw me a curveball. Everything I thought this story was about was wrong. What I thought was going to happen? I was wrong. What I thought Sawyer would do? He didn't. Why? I can't tell you, you'll just have to read it. Easily read in an hour or two, I've often mentioned that I think the novella form is one of the best ways to present a horror story. Every word has to count, every action leads to the next. It's tight, it doesn't waste time, and when it's done well? It's a perfect little package of darkness that leaves you thinking for days. Bravo, once again to Stephen Graham Jones! Highly recommended! Available on September 1st, but you can pre-order here: https://amzn.to/2XZTtdv *Thank you to NetGalley and Tor for the e-ARC of this novella in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*

  10. 4 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    ‘I’d read Frankenstein in AP English, so I knew you don’t just walk away from your creations. Not without consequences.’ Growing up is hard to do. The friendships that seem unbreakable begin to wither and rust, things that once meant so much to us fade into oblivion, and we press on into the unknown. This can be frightening, especially for those who have difficulty being malleable against the tides of time. Then throw in a little murder… Stephen Graham Jones delivers a blissfully succinct horror s ‘I’d read Frankenstein in AP English, so I knew you don’t just walk away from your creations. Not without consequences.’ Growing up is hard to do. The friendships that seem unbreakable begin to wither and rust, things that once meant so much to us fade into oblivion, and we press on into the unknown. This can be frightening, especially for those who have difficulty being malleable against the tides of time. Then throw in a little murder… Stephen Graham Jones delivers a blissfully succinct horror show with Night of the Mannequins’, a twisted and gruesome little gem that sparkles with all the after-school-special teenage horror tropes and coming-of-age narratives while simultaneously blotting them out in blood splatters. This is horror with a literary monster roaring inside, and Jones pitch perfect delivery plunges its dagger straight into your heart. Sawyer is a kid on the cusp of maturity spending his days with his tight-knit friend group and feeling the tug of time beginning its inevitable unraveling. When a prank goes wrong--the mannequin from their hilarious joke gets up and walks away--Sawyer decides he must take it upon himself to do the unthinkable in order to spare others. ‘This is what I do,’ he tells himself, ‘I save people.’ Jones perfectly captures the voice of a teenage boy and this unreliable narrator quickly invades your own head to toy with your emotions as he is both sympathetic and unbelievably menacing and monstrous. Which is one of Jones’ most impressive tricks, is that, while knowing that Sawyer is indeed murderous you can’t help but feel for him and empathize with his struggles of the loss of innocence, the fraying of friendships, the impossible battle against the inevitability of time. It is this sense of inevitability that is really striking in Jones’ delivery--once the gears have set in motion it feels there is no turning around and no stopping until the cataclysmic finale. It feels like this is a tragedy rooted in us all. While we simultaneously sympathize and fear the narrator, he does the same for Manny the killer mannequin. Manny, having been a favorite toy and prank prop for the friends for years has been discarded as their interests changed, much how Sawyer feels the discarding of friendships approaching.’He remembers everything in perfect detail, he’s been watching us walk back and forth through my garage for the last three years, never giving our old best friend a second glance.’ There is a very human heart beating in all the gore, one that probes at the fragile places in all of us. Jones breathlessly mixes horror and psychological insight to praiseworthy success and all in a bitesized novella. This book is a super fun read and I will definitely be reading more of him. 4/5 Also check out Richard’s great review which inspired me to read this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    This was so much fun. I have to figure out how to review it without spoiling anything, because the entire story was super different from what I initially expected, but I had a blast reading this. RTC

  12. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Fun, twisted, weird, sad. Like all of Stephen's stuff. Summed up by this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEJSe... Fun, twisted, weird, sad. Like all of Stephen's stuff. Summed up by this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEJSe...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Emma☀️

    You get weird books and then you get this. Night of the Mannequins is a gory slasher in its truest form. Jones managed to take classic horror tropes and subvert them to create a compelling and mind-bending horror. Yes, I did get confused during the first few pages but as soon as I got my bearings, I was having the time of my life. Sawyer’s humor was so dark and witty, I could not help but chuckle during the serious moments. I definitely recommend if you’re looking for a classic horror tale that wi You get weird books and then you get this. Night of the Mannequins is a gory slasher in its truest form. Jones managed to take classic horror tropes and subvert them to create a compelling and mind-bending horror. Yes, I did get confused during the first few pages but as soon as I got my bearings, I was having the time of my life. Sawyer’s humor was so dark and witty, I could not help but chuckle during the serious moments. I definitely recommend if you’re looking for a classic horror tale that will leave you wanting more.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    One, last prank to emphasize the end of summer and then return to things more, serious. NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS is the zany story of a group of teens hunted by an entity named 'Manny'. This novella is only 135 pages long! I can't believe there are reviews that are as long as my arm; too much information given! Look, you don't need to know any of the plot details beyond was is shared on the back of this book: "We thought we'd play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead." You definitely do no One, last prank to emphasize the end of summer and then return to things more, serious. NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS is the zany story of a group of teens hunted by an entity named 'Manny'. This novella is only 135 pages long! I can't believe there are reviews that are as long as my arm; too much information given! Look, you don't need to know any of the plot details beyond was is shared on the back of this book: "We thought we'd play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead." You definitely do not need to know anything about the narrator, Sawyer (except that he's a new favorite voice. He's both disturbing and hilarious). Just know that this is an unexpected, fresh, teen-slasher- tyle, psychological, supernatural horror novella that is perfect to read in one sitting. Bam. That's all you need to know. (Have the popcorn ready, this one reads like a movie)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Beware, some might find spoiler-y content in my wee review below.... What can I say? It's Hallowe'en. This was pret-ty bad, for me. Though, it might just be that I'm not into horror. If this is horror. A kid who has been off his meds for 3 days goes nuts, thinks a mannequin is going to kill his friends. So he starts killing them instead, out of a twisted sense of mercy. It isn't scary, it isn't amusing, and I really didn't enjoy being in this narrator's head. It's short, so it's got that going for Beware, some might find spoiler-y content in my wee review below.... What can I say? It's Hallowe'en. This was pret-ty bad, for me. Though, it might just be that I'm not into horror. If this is horror. A kid who has been off his meds for 3 days goes nuts, thinks a mannequin is going to kill his friends. So he starts killing them instead, out of a twisted sense of mercy. It isn't scary, it isn't amusing, and I really didn't enjoy being in this narrator's head. It's short, so it's got that going for it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael David

    This novella sounded like a fun, creepy throwback...so I jumped on it! This is about a prank gone awry amongst a group of teenaged friends. A prank involving a mannequin...and the bloody aftermath that this prank causes. 2.5 stars for originality, but I didn’t find it scary. I didn’t feel the 80’s slasher throwback vibe that the reviews described. The writing was stellar, and there were some shocking kills that I didn’t expect, but this just wasn’t my cup of cappuccino. ☕️ If anyone has recommen This novella sounded like a fun, creepy throwback...so I jumped on it! This is about a prank gone awry amongst a group of teenaged friends. A prank involving a mannequin...and the bloody aftermath that this prank causes. 2.5 stars for originality, but I didn’t find it scary. I didn’t feel the 80’s slasher throwback vibe that the reviews described. The writing was stellar, and there were some shocking kills that I didn’t expect, but this just wasn’t my cup of cappuccino. ☕️ If anyone has recommendations for really creepy short stories/novellas to read this month, I’d truly appreciate it. To my GR friend, Farrah (who is also reading this), I hope you enjoy it more than I did!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Real Rating: 4.5* of five Stephen Graham Jones channels his inner brat, not for the first time, and with his usual success. He even mentions in his Acknowledgments that a bestie of his complimented him on his teen-voice...in such a way that he couldn't quite tell if it was a compliment. Of course it was, those are the best kind. You don't need a book report from me, read the publisher's synopsis. So while Sawyer is caught in the nightmare of this book's reality, the thing that I loved was how ofte Real Rating: 4.5* of five Stephen Graham Jones channels his inner brat, not for the first time, and with his usual success. He even mentions in his Acknowledgments that a bestie of his complimented him on his teen-voice...in such a way that he couldn't quite tell if it was a compliment. Of course it was, those are the best kind. You don't need a book report from me, read the publisher's synopsis. So while Sawyer is caught in the nightmare of this book's reality, the thing that I loved was how often Author Stephen made my mouth-corners lift and little strangled brays of grudging laughter come out of my throat. I could follow every step of this unfolding tragedy, and there were many because, comme d'habitude, Author Stephen uses this tale to write multiple stories with intersecting messages and lessons that you can totally ignore if you want. Like the best horror/slasher/ZOMG reads, this book delivers Thoughts on America with its hijinks. I can't abide pointless murdery crap. This is NOT that. Everything about this read was satisfying. I understand why Sawyer was so screwed up and so scared. I get the point of a smart kid being alienated by the creepy way his world works and how easy it is to find solutions in Fantasyland. After all, religious people do it all the time. The ending is a kick in the balls, a cry of desperation, a moment of pure need unmet. How much better can a story get?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Boston

    First and foremost, thank you to the publisher for this arc in trade for an honest review. Let’s start off with the few things I liked. I liked the unreliable narrator and I liked the idea of the book (no spoilers but a psychopath narrator is pretty interesting). Unfortunately those are the only things I can think of. If it wasn’t obvious, though, I had a few issues with this book. The thing that most sticks out is the fact that by doubling the page count and making this a generic sized novel, i First and foremost, thank you to the publisher for this arc in trade for an honest review. Let’s start off with the few things I liked. I liked the unreliable narrator and I liked the idea of the book (no spoilers but a psychopath narrator is pretty interesting). Unfortunately those are the only things I can think of. If it wasn’t obvious, though, I had a few issues with this book. The thing that most sticks out is the fact that by doubling the page count and making this a generic sized novel, it would have improved tenfold. Every event was given maybe a sentence of explanation, if it got an explanation at all. I spent more time asking “why though” instead of actually enjoying the plot. More description would have saved this in my eyes. Although maybe not. (More on that later) The next thing is the odd writing. Maybe it’s because of the unreliable narrator and I’m just misconstruing it, but the writing just seemed bad. I can’t explain any further but it was just...bad. It was hard to immerse myself in the story with descriptions like “flashing bra” and “oily pee”. Like what does that even mean??? There are a million other descriptions you could have used. I don’t understand. I also had issues with the characters and the complete lack of characterization. They’re probably the flattest characters I’ve read to be honest. Although it could be argued that this is because of the kind of person the narrator is. Luckily, my issues mainly stop there because the ending solved a few of them, but they were still annoying in the moment. I really wish I could have loved this book, but alas.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This was...confusing. And not my idea of horror. I'm new to the horror genre, but most of this just didn't stir any kind of emotion from me at all - let alone fear. I think this is largely in part due to the writing style. It's told in a very conversational tone, often with the narrator justifying his actions through his thought process. This leads the sentences to feel quite disjointed at times, which disrupts the narrative too much for me. I also thought that none of the characters are particul This was...confusing. And not my idea of horror. I'm new to the horror genre, but most of this just didn't stir any kind of emotion from me at all - let alone fear. I think this is largely in part due to the writing style. It's told in a very conversational tone, often with the narrator justifying his actions through his thought process. This leads the sentences to feel quite disjointed at times, which disrupts the narrative too much for me. I also thought that none of the characters are particularly well developed, meaning I didn't really care about any of them. The plot itself is odd. It starts off quite creepy, with a mannequin used in a date seemingly coming to life, but it just diverges into something completely different and unexpected. For me, not in a good way. It almost felt farcical at times. I'm not giving up on Stephen Graham Jones just yet, but don't go into this expecting a typical horror.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS is a novella by Stephen Graham Jones. This gave me a "B-movie" feeling throughout, that was fast paced and full of dark humor. In addition to the horror, there was a strong coming-of-age theme here, that underlies the entire tale. The opening sentence really sets the tone for how our unreliable narrator views things, and instantly grabs your attention. "So Shanna got a new job at the movie theater, we thought we'd play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead and NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS is a novella by Stephen Graham Jones. This gave me a "B-movie" feeling throughout, that was fast paced and full of dark humor. In addition to the horror, there was a strong coming-of-age theme here, that underlies the entire tale. The opening sentence really sets the tone for how our unreliable narrator views things, and instantly grabs your attention. "So Shanna got a new job at the movie theater, we thought we'd play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead and I'm really starting to feel kind of guilty about it all . . . " We have a group of five friends--who have been close for years--now in high school. What begins with our narrator reminiscing about a summer years ago--where one of them found a discarded shop mannequin in a creek--goes on to explain the fun they had staging various pranks with "Manny". It's easy to see that this is viewed as one of the "best years" of his young life. ". . . Is it just automatic to steal any mannequin you happen to encounter? . . . " Now that Shanna is working at a movie theatre, the rest decide to bring "Manny" back for one last prank like the "good days". What happens next sets up a chain of events that I never would have seen coming. ". . . This is what I do, I save people. And dogs. . . ." The story never loses its dark comedic style, even in the midst of more horrifying incidents. That's a strong reason as to why this story was so easy to flow along with. The way our narrator speaks, sees, and interprets things around him give us an added sense of consistency that helps balance out the action. ". . . the way you know you've done good is that the whole town hates you and wants you dead . . . " Overall, an unexpected experience that I had a lot of fun with. Nothing in this novella felt the least bit predictable, and I feel that was why it stood out so well. ". . . If you take the first domino away, do all the others keep standing? . . ." Recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Saswati

    DNF @ 30%. Really weird writing style, can't get into it. DNF @ 30%. Really weird writing style, can't get into it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    4.5 Stars What an entertaining and unexpected novella! This started out as a classic coming of age narrative, but quickly evolved in a brilliant slasher story. The writing and characters were both excellent as I have come to expect from Graham Jones. His work always has a literary flair, but this one leaned more into the genre fiction with a gripping narrative plot.  As a novella, this was the perfect length. Horror works so well in the short form and this one maintained it's suspense from start to 4.5 Stars What an entertaining and unexpected novella! This started out as a classic coming of age narrative, but quickly evolved in a brilliant slasher story. The writing and characters were both excellent as I have come to expect from Graham Jones. His work always has a literary flair, but this one leaned more into the genre fiction with a gripping narrative plot.  As a novella, this was the perfect length. Horror works so well in the short form and this one maintained it's suspense from start to finish. From the premise, I initially expected some killer dolls horror, but this story was very far more psychological in nature. I would love to say more about the plot, but it's best going into this one without knowing too much. I would highly recommend this one to just about any horror reader. I think this one of those stories that will appeal to a wide audience. Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher, Tor.com.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for a review. This is a short, sweet smack of a novel that opens with one of the greatest lines ever: "So Shanna got a new job at the movie theater, we thought we’d play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead, and I’m really starting to feel kind of guilty about it all." You get everything you're going to need to know from this line - you're instantly in the story and aware that this is going to be a little bit funny as well as a littl I received a copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for a review. This is a short, sweet smack of a novel that opens with one of the greatest lines ever: "So Shanna got a new job at the movie theater, we thought we’d play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead, and I’m really starting to feel kind of guilty about it all." You get everything you're going to need to know from this line - you're instantly in the story and aware that this is going to be a little bit funny as well as a little bit horrifying; really, I adore Jones' writing and character voice, and I read this in about two hours with a sort of hybrid between a wince and freaked out grimace on my face when I wasn't laughing out loud at Sawyer's observations (that mannequins would like to eat "bubble wrap and packing peanuts and mayonnaise"; that Tim's dad "for sure had a lot of thoughts"; the gem "Is it just automatic to steal any mannequin you happen to encounter?") while still utterly appalled by his logic. I've read a lot more horror than usual this year (maybe because *gestures broadly at everything*) and a lot of it has been disappointing, but Stephen Graham Jones is on the scene knocking creepily inventive and disturbing fiction out of the park.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rue

    SO SHANNA GOT A new job at the movie theater, we thought we’d play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead... Now that's the opening I want out of a horror book and that's pretty much all you need to know before easing into this one. For me personally, I love a good horror with a bit of an erratic twist. One noteworthy thing is that the main character is sort of unreliable/childish which works fine with a slasher book dealing with mannequin. The writting here may or may not work for e SO SHANNA GOT A new job at the movie theater, we thought we’d play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead... Now that's the opening I want out of a horror book and that's pretty much all you need to know before easing into this one. For me personally, I love a good horror with a bit of an erratic twist. One noteworthy thing is that the main character is sort of unreliable/childish which works fine with a slasher book dealing with mannequin. The writting here may or may not work for everyone it's like a stream of concious thoughts told through a bored unremarkable teenage boy (Swayer) with a casual tone for all the madness and murders that unfolds. To what I understand Stephen Graham Jones has a skill to take a scene that is fraught with tension and turn it into dark humour. If you analysis it close it does have a bit of social commentary about growing up, losing childhood and all the anxiety that entails. Overall it's a very well constructed novella which works well within the confines of the story. For most parts it did accomplish the "Slasher" aspect of the book which will remind you of old teen (monster) movies with underdeveloped characters. If you are looking for slightly horrific, brutal, funny and nonsensical short read then this one should be on your list. 3.5 ⭐stars

  25. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    So Shanna got a new job at the movie theater, we thought we'd play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead, and I'm really starting to feel kind of guilty about it all. It's not any kind of a secret that I'm here for pretty much anything Stephen Graham Jones lets out into the world; the man really knows his horror, and he plays with tropes like he's the Neo of the genre and gets a secret view into the fabric that makes up a good horror story. But I like to think I'm not biased - or maybe So Shanna got a new job at the movie theater, we thought we'd play a fun prank on her, and now most of us are dead, and I'm really starting to feel kind of guilty about it all. It's not any kind of a secret that I'm here for pretty much anything Stephen Graham Jones lets out into the world; the man really knows his horror, and he plays with tropes like he's the Neo of the genre and gets a secret view into the fabric that makes up a good horror story. But I like to think I'm not biased - or maybe that I am, but only because I'm right, and he's awesome - either way, I'm going to keep reviewing and recommending his books every time one's released. This one, though it's short, packs a lot into it's lines, and it's timeless in that particular good horror way - it could have taken place any time in the last 20 years or so. And the teen voice is - as far as I know anymore, anyway - authentic without slipping into over-jargoning it (yes, that's the technical term). Definitely another winner in the category of "spooky October 2020" reads - just what is it about this year that has the horror writers so inspired, I wonder? ;)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ghoul Von Horror

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Release Date: September 1st, 2020 Genre: Horror Rating: 3.5 ⭐ About the book: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? What I Liked: An interesting idea, a lot packed into novella, the cover. What I Didn't Like: Too many run on sentences, throwaway sentences that lead no where, too short to understand side characters. Overall Thoughts: When I was a child I loved a movie called Mannequin Release Date: September 1st, 2020 Genre: Horror Rating: 3.5 ⭐ About the book: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? What I Liked: An interesting idea, a lot packed into novella, the cover. What I Didn't Like: Too many run on sentences, throwaway sentences that lead no where, too short to understand side characters. Overall Thoughts: When I was a child I loved a movie called Mannequin. It's about a mannequin that comes alive at night when the store closes. A man finds out she's alive and then begins a love story. It is seriously magical. So imagine my surprise and excitement that there was a horror book surrounding a mannequin. Sign me up! It started out rough for me. The writing is hard because there were so many run on sentences. Plus add in that the author would be talking about one thing and side think something else almost every sentence, then jump back with "oh nevermind that doesn't matter." A few times I can see but it happened more then a few times. Once the story started moving though I was swept away in having to know the how's, why's, and what's. Who is Manny? How is he "alive" when he was just a mannequin? This story takes so many turns that you get dizzy. Like I'm now vomiting, great! There are points here the writing is coherent and times when I'm like "what is this dude talking about?" At times it read like he was writing in his own private journal. The idea of the movie playing was confusing to me. They go to a new theater to see it, then Shawna was downloading it before she died, then the narrator mentions his dad has a DVD upstairs, he rents it online, it's playing at the cheap theater for Danielle, then rents a DVD to bring to JR's house, and now playing at the drive in. Final Thoughts: I liked it for certain parts. The ending wasn't that good.. Ehh. The person you thought was dead isn't really dead. Very soap opera twist. I'll read more from his author to test out his tones and stories. One of them I might love. Thanks to the author and Netgalley for the advanced copy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    This is a sneaky little novella that starts as one thing and then slowly reveals itself to be another thing entirely, which is absolutely my jam. As far as what vein of horror novel we're talking about here, this does include violence and gore, and you could look at it as a riff on the slasher novel. But really this is one of those books where you realize with growing dread that everything is very, very bad. I really don't want to say much more than that, because that already feels like verging This is a sneaky little novella that starts as one thing and then slowly reveals itself to be another thing entirely, which is absolutely my jam. As far as what vein of horror novel we're talking about here, this does include violence and gore, and you could look at it as a riff on the slasher novel. But really this is one of those books where you realize with growing dread that everything is very, very bad. I really don't want to say much more than that, because that already feels like verging too close to spoilers. But while this is a short, fast horror novel I wouldn't call it a fun or light one. But if you, like me, enjoy reading stuff that is super-effed-up, there is a lot to love here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jon Recluse

    A group of friends, and a juvenile prank involving a mannequin that goes off script has one of those involved wondering if they have unleashed something....unexpected. When the target of the prank is killed in an accident....it falls to him to stop what they have begun....at any cost. There are many paths to madness....belief in a killer mannequin may be the least of them. A disturbing coming of age tale that will haunt your dreams. Highly recommended. This was an eArc from Netgalley and Tor.com. Exp A group of friends, and a juvenile prank involving a mannequin that goes off script has one of those involved wondering if they have unleashed something....unexpected. When the target of the prank is killed in an accident....it falls to him to stop what they have begun....at any cost. There are many paths to madness....belief in a killer mannequin may be the least of them. A disturbing coming of age tale that will haunt your dreams. Highly recommended. This was an eArc from Netgalley and Tor.com. Expected publication: July 14th, 2020 by Tor.com

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Fowlow

    A group of teens stumble upon a mannequin which quickly becomes the highlight of their summer. After a series of pranks, Manny the mannequin is stored away and forgotten until a few of the teens decide to pull one big amazing prank. They devise a plan to dress Manny up and post him up in a seat at the theatre their friend works at. They even go as far to purchase Manny a ticket. The night finally came and it was time to put their plan into motion. Once Manny was in place everything was happening A group of teens stumble upon a mannequin which quickly becomes the highlight of their summer. After a series of pranks, Manny the mannequin is stored away and forgotten until a few of the teens decide to pull one big amazing prank. They devise a plan to dress Manny up and post him up in a seat at the theatre their friend works at. They even go as far to purchase Manny a ticket. The night finally came and it was time to put their plan into motion. Once Manny was in place everything was happening according to the plan... until it wasn't. Everything started falling apart when one of the teens is caught without a ticket stub and is asked to leave the theatre. With the prank kiboshed, the remaining prankster stays to finish the film. And thats when it happened, the entire groups life changes in an instant when Manny stands up during the end credits and hobbles out of the theatre. Manny the mannequin is ALIVE! WHAT... A... WILD... READ... Stephen Graham Jones is one of those writers who is a must read in the horror genre because the concepts are so crazy. NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS is so bizarre but not at the same time. The book is YA and although I say it's bizarre, it's really not because you need to place yourself in that YA mindset. What seemed out of sorts to me wouldn't be so crazy to a YA. That's what I thought made this book so good. Stephen Graham Jones has a way of placing you in the character's shoes effortlessly which creates an exceptional reading experience and that was especially the case in this novella. Jones is a magnificent storyteller and im very thankful for his rise in the horror community. This story, much like Jones's others, has a wide range within the genre that can appeal to most readers. NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS dabbles in YA, psychological, slasher, coming-of-age horror and even a little cosmicism. I'm definitely anxious to read more of his books especially the stabby, slashy kind. I think horror fans will bask in the glory of this mind-bending YA tale that will emotionally choke the life out of you. Stephen Graham Jones is a master of horror literature and has made a true fan out of this voracious reader. I honestly can't wait for what Jones has in store us next. Whatever it is, I'm certain it'll appeal to all those who are true fans of the genre and are passionate about horror fiction. NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS by Stephen Graham Jones ⭐⭐⭐⭐ FOLLOW ME Www.twitter.com/thebookdad Www.instagram.com/The_BookDad Www.goodreads.com/andrewfowlow

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    Night of the Mannequins is a juicy and juicy witty psychological horror, told in the perspective of the main character. After a prank involving a mannequin in a movie theater goes awry, a group of friends and their livelihoods are changed forever. This book is at times scary and at times a satire of the horror genre. It definitely is a fun quick read that horror fans will enjoy. I left it wanting more of the story, but I also really felt that it was a solid novella.

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