A Night in the Lonesome October

Review From User :

Review updated yet again (and again) on November 1, 2018

A group read with some of my greatest friends: OhWell, Sarah, and Tadiana.

First a disclaimer: I lost count to the number of times I read the book. Seriously. I still find something new with each reread. I would also like to welcome Sarah to the light: she finally found the way and saw the truth.

The most common cover of the book is so perfect I cannot help showing it here.

Half of the fun in most of Zelazny's books is to figure out what is going on. For this reason I have to be as obscure as possible. Imagine Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Count Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein, Rasputin, Larry Talbot (if you do not know who he is, I am not giving a spoiler), and some other well-known and interesting characters gather in one place waiting for the Halloween night when they are supposed to do something. The tale is told from a dog's POV who for some reason reminds me of following:

Are you confused Sorry, this is the best I can do. If you are really lost everything will be explained later in the book.

The tale is fairly lighthearted with quite a few jokes and puns, but when you stop to think about it, the plot is actually quite spooky. It takes a real master writer of Zelazny's caliber to make it work - and it does work, even when it seemingly goes over the top. The author pays homage to the creators of all of the characters I mentioned above as well as Poe, Bradbury, and Lovecraft (Cthulhu makes a brief appearance as well); I am sure I missed somebody.

After I finished reading the book the first time I was wondering why in the world I have not read it earlier - several times. This exact question remained during my second read as well. After the initial confusion there came a moment when I realized I really do not want to put the book down. Fortunately, Zelazny was also the master of packing a lot of thoughts and plot movements into a very limited number of pages, so I still had several hours of much needed sleep left when I finished reading - going to bed before that was totally out of question. Only during my last reread I finally got enough sleep and only because we read one chapter a day (there are 31 chapters total) and the chapters are fairly short. It is safe to say the book became my traditional Halloween read. I am afraid at least one of my friends caught the came bug. Sorry.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a spooky Halloween read, look no further.

Heck, if you are looking just for any good read, look no further as well. Just read the book. You will not regret it, but if you have not read it yet - you are missing a lot.

Loyally accompanying a mysterious knife-wielding gentleman named Jack on his midnight rounds through the murky streets of London, good dog Snuff is busy helping his master collect the grisly ingredients needed for an unearthly rite that will take place not long after the death of the moon.
Expand text… But Snuff and his master are not alone. All manner of participants, both human and not, are gathering with their ancient tools and their animal familiars in preparation for the dread night. It is brave, devoted Snuff who must calculate the patterns of the Game and keep track of the Players – the witch, the mad monk, the vengeful vicar, the Count who sleeps by day, the Good Doctor and the hulking Experiment Man he fashioned from human body parts, and a wild-card American named Larry Talbot – all the while keeping Things at bay and staying a leap ahead of the Great Detective, who knows quite a bit more than he lets on.

Boldly original and wildly entertaining, A Night in the Lonesome October is a darkly sparkling gem, an amalgam of horror, humor, mystery, and fantasy. First published in 1993, it was Zelazny’s last book prior to his untimely death. Many consider it the best of the fantasy master’s novels. It has inspired many fans to read it every year in October, a chapter a day, and served as inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s brilliant story “Only the End of the World Again.”

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