Review: “Night of the Mannequins” by Stephen Graham Jones

Release Date: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Tor.com Publishing
Genre: Horror

Description

“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?”

My Thoughts

Who doesn’t love Stephen Graham Jones? The man writes horror like no one else. And on top of that, he’s incredibly prolific. He has two books out this year, The Only Good Indians (which was so unsettling I had to stop listening to the audiobook at work and wait for my hold to come through at the library for the print copy) and Night of the Mannequins. While the latter is much shorter than the former, it’s just as creepy and chilling as everything else Jones writes.

The book begins innocently enough – with a teenage prank – but quickly spirals into bloody chaos. The further you get into the story, the more you realize those little moments earlier on that felt off or odd or jarring were actually big clues as to what is about to happen. By that point, however, it’s much too late. The trap has sprung, the knife has cut, and the blood is flowing. 

This isn’t just a story about a mannequin that comes to life and starts killing people. It’s also about a young man losing his tether on reality. Jones crafts the main character, Sawyer, with messy precision. His voice is familiar yet unique; we’ve all known a kid like Sawyer, and Jones does a good job tugging on that recognition and then twisting it into something awful.

If you’ve never read Stephen Graham Jones before, this is a really good place to start. It has everything he does so well: compelling characters, evocative descriptions and settings, a narrative style that hooks you in immediately, and a plot that will leave you on edge and trembling.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.

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