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Midnight Picnic Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Word Riot Press (February 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977934330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977934331
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,043,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Antosca's second novel, a campy page-turner set in contemporary backwater West Virginia, 22-year old Bram becomes obsessed with a murder after a child's bones are discovered in the woods behind his home. The ghost of the dead boy, six-year-old Adam Dovey, soon appears to Bram and urges him to help get revenge against Jacob Bunny, the introverted, kind-hearted, ex-con alcoholic who 23 years ago drowned Adam. Bram's initial reluctance gives way, and before long, Bram torches Jacob's cottage, killing him. Just about then the narrative begins to fall apart, as Bram and Adam wander through a netherworld exurbia in pursuit of dead Jacob's soul. The further they go, the campier the novel becomes, accented by half-baked riffs on the soul and journeys into strip clubs and back alleys that read like an ersatz hybrid of David Lynch and Brian Evenson. It's a demented little novel that'll appeal to readers into weirdness for weirdness's sake. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Antosca’s first novel, Fires (2006), was praised for its darkly inventive exploration of small-town scandal. His latest work plumbs deep into horror territory in an unsettling story about a murdered child and its restless ghost. Living above a bar is the only excitement punctuating the mundane existence of Bram, a gas station attendant living near a West Virginia forest, until he stumbles across the bones of a small boy. Within hours of Bram bringing the bones back to his apartment, the deceased Adam’s ghost materializes and persuades Bram to help punish his killer, forest-bound hermit Jacob Bunny. But the fire that dispatches Bunny in his cabin satisfies Adam only superficially. For Adam, the real punishment awaiting Bunny will happen in the same afterlife domain both inhabit—a shadowy, midnight world of lost highways and perpetually lit mini-marts that Adam ushers Bram into for an unholy purpose. Antosca’s searing and disturbing minimalist prose creates a vividly original portrait of haunted souls, and marks him as one of horror’s rising stars. --Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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In many ways a good short book is better than a good long book, and this is a case in point.
mikamoto
I recommend it to people who like things dark and creepy with a very unsettling yet strangely comfortable mood.
Michael Smith
His prose is dry, eloquent, simple in its working the way that any master at work can seem simple.
Eric Shonkwiler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Smith on March 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
I recently discovered nick antosca when a website compared his first book Fires to early bret easton ellis novels (and b.e.e. is my favorite author) so I thought I would check it out. Especially since bret takes so damn long to write a new book. Anyway, Fires was one of those books that I could not put down that made me simultaneously wish what I was reading was turned into a really good indie movie and also just be so excited that what was written was so gripping and entertaining that I was even more content by the fact it was taking place in a book.

Needless to say, nick has far out done himself with midnight picnic. I am not even going to try to give a summary of the plot, because I feel like that would not do the book justice. I recommend it to people who like things dark and creepy with a very unsettling yet strangely comfortable mood. This is very different from Fires, but in my opinion it's even better. Nick is definitely a writer that I plan to follow from now on and I really hope he has a very fruitful and successful career.

Movies, music, and tv shows are great but for your dollar, books are still the best form of escapism. Especially for how things are nowadays. Please do yourself a favor and check out this book so you can enjoy something that's different and unique and utterly fascinating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sabra Embury on February 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Bram pulls into the parking lot half asleep and the crunch of gravel under his tires becomes the crunch of bones. Something screams."

These two introductory sentences, regular compound and micro, foreshadow much of what's to come in Antosca's dark story of a lonely man's vigilante misadventure into dimensions of ghosts, superimposed onto dim/glowing landscapes of strip malls and blackberry trails.

Juxtaposed: bone-chilling images borrowed from monstrous childhood nightmares and innocence invoking sympathy from tragic events--ravaging mortality into realms of complacent immortality.

From the beginning, to "Midnight Picnic"'s compelling back-seat journey into a satisfying conclusion, Bram's indignant obligation to find a child killer and destroy him is a fantastic ride into the unknown.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robyn Y. Demby on October 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nick Antosca's Midnight Picnic is about a man who has come upon a child's bones. When Bram brings them upstairs and into his room, it draws the spirit of the boy who the bones once belonged to. This boy introduces himself in such a disturbing and unsettling way, it speaks volumes about the author's creativity. The boy's ghost takes a reluctant Bram to help him get revenge; a journey that eventually leads Bram into another dimension where the dead roam.

Nick Antosca's skillful technique with conflict lured me right into the first page of this thriller novel: The main character, Bram, pulls into the parking lot of a bar and runs over a dog. When the dog drags himself away, Bram is astonished when he can't find him. This also left me astonished, as well as panicked. I realized from the very beginning of this novel that if Antosca can pull different emotions from a reader from the very first chapter, I was in for a ride. I found chapter one an appetizer because it warmed me up for some unsettling, "edge of your seat" narrative that kept me reading until the very end.

One of the skills I see in Nick Antosca's writing style that lends to this fascination is his poetic way with words. Phrases like, "Trees move without wind...black depths, things sliding across the dark," empowers him to make the eerie sound beautiful. Another passage that moves me is the following:

Something's descending over him like a fog, muting his
feelings, softening his thoughts. It is as if the life of this
world is wallpaper and he has seen the corner of it peeled
away, then pressed sloppily back into place. Still, he can
see the edge of something else....life imperceptibly displaced,
a painting hung at a wrong angle (34).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kaolin Fire on October 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Midnight Picnic is GUD contributor Nick Antosca's second novel, but is written with such assurance and skill that it might more easily be his twenty-second. On the first page, Antosca draws the reader in to unwilling protagonist Bram's world, which is about to get uncannily strange.

Bram's living a mundane, drab existence over a bar called Moms until the night he comes home tired and accidentally runs over the bar's dog, Baby. His attempts to succour the injured animal show him to be basically decent, but ineffectual. He wants to do the right thing, yet gives up when it becomes too difficult. This is the issue Bram will have to face up to as the story continues.

The skeleton of a young boy is found, and his spirit makes a connection with Bram that takes him on a nightmare journey into the land of the dead. Here, he learns far more about himself--and the dead and living--than he ever thought possible. However, at heart, Midnight Picnic is not a ghost story. It's a tale of redemption and the healing effects of time.

The central premise is that, given time to reflect, we can all come to a realisation of where we have gone wrong in our lives. No matter how despicable our crimes, redemption is possible, but it comes not from outside, but from the person themselves, from their changed relationship with themselves and the other dead. It's a powerful message in a book that refuses to label anyone as evil.

Only Adam is depicted as incapable of this process, perhaps because he died too young. For him, time to reflect has only bred hatred; he is locked into childish ideas of right, wrong, and punisment.
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