Essential October Reads: Brian James Freeman

It’s become an annual tradition here in October Country to share my Essential October Reads, those works that best capture the essence of the Halloween season for me. This year I’ve asked some of my favorite authors to share their own Essential October Reads with us. 

Today we’re joined by author/editor/publisher Brian James Freeman with a look at a haunting tale of loss that he says is perfect for the season.

When I’m asked about Halloween books every October, The Night Country by Stewart O’Nan is the first title that comes to mind, probably because it’s the one book I will read each and every year.

Stewart O’Nan is one of the best writers working today. From his first collection (In The Walled City) and his first novel (Snow Angels), I was hooked. He’s successful with everything he decides to write including non-fiction (such as The Circus Fire or Faithful, co-written with Stephen King), a novel in stories (Everyday People), and even a novel written in the super tricky second person (the terrific A Prayer for the Dying).

The Night Country could be his most powerful book to date.

From the opening lines (“Come, do you hear it? The wind–murmuring in the eaves, scouring the bare trees.”), this is a book that’s both lyrically written and a real page turner.

I don’t want to get into the plot too much, but The Night Country is a story about death and life after death — both for the dead and for the living. This book is about people who are haunted by their pasts, both literally and figuratively.

This is a book about ghosts and broken dreams and people trying to put the pieces back together after a tragedy.

The story is poignant, evocative, powerful, touching, and chilling.

It’s not a happy read, but it’s an important one.

I highly recommend you give The Night Country by Stewart O’Nan a try this Halloween, or anytime you’re in the mood for a dark, carefully crafted novel that blurs the line between literary and genre.

Brian James Freeman may be one of the busiest men on earth. In addition to his many duties at Cemetery Dance Publications (including working as the managing editor of Cemetery Dance magazine), he’s the owner of Lonely Road Books and a prolific writer to boot. His latest novella is The Painted Darknessand he’s just published a short story (“Monster Night”) as part of Cemetery Dance’s “13 Days of Halloween” eBook celebration.

More Essential October Reads


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