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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. May have typical labels and markings. Good readable copy. Worn edges and covers and may have small creases. Otherwise item is in good condition!
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Midnight Picnic Paperback – February 15, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Word Riot Press (February 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977934330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977934331
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,676,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Antosca does a great job of creating mood and emotion in this creepy novel about a dead boy who enlists the help of a living man to get revenge on the man who murdered him. It's a fast read, but the overall effect is quite chilling and otherworldly. It's not for the fainthearted, but for those who want a modern-day version of the Twilight Zone in book form. Very well done.
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Format: Paperback
4.5*

As Bram pulls into the parking area of Mom’s bar, he hits Baby, the old deerhound that lives there. It’s the early hours of the morning and pouring with rain. Bram is devastated as he tries to find the injured dog and get her to a vet. But his car has died and the dog manages to drag herself into the crawl space beneath the building. Bram decides the kindest thing is to put an end to her suffering so he goes to a friend’s to borrow a gun. When he returns the dog has gone, presumably into the woods and when the storm intensifies Bram makes the choice to look for her in the morning. When he enters his room over the bar he finds Marian, his sometimes girlfriend who has the other room, in his bed.

'It takes a while for him to fall asleep. He keeps thinking of the dog out there. The storm is worse, the wind keening and jolting the window in its frame. It sounds like it’s uprooting things out there, laying siege to something. When he does sleep, after a while, his dreams are eerily quiet, full of silver half-light. He is walking in the woods. He is a child.’

Although Bram doesn’t realise it yet, the dream has a huge significance and when he ventures into the woods the next morning looking for Baby a bag of bones is found. The bones of a child. Bram takes them to his room. Later a young boy, Adam Dovey, appears asking for help, explaining to Bram how he was murdered. He wants Bram’s help to punish the man who murdered him. So begins Bram’s surreal journey into darkness.

The characters are well defined and the descriptive version of the afterlife seems to be more of a purgatory than anything else.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
When Midnight Picnic started with Bram accidentally running over a dog and trying but ultimately failing to aid the dying animal, I was convinced I would hate this. However, the engaging writing, the flow of the language coupled with the haunting atmosphere really pulled me into this dark and sad story.
Bram is basically a decent bloke living a mundane life with an on/off sexual relationship with the depressed girl living on the same floor as him above Moms bar. His accident is the start of a journey that leads Bram to the land of the dead where he follows six-year-old Adam who is consumed with the concepts of right, wrong and punish. Adam was murdered by Jacob Bunny and is seeking help from Bram to settle the score with Jacob. Author Nick Antosca provides heartbreaking vignettes of the tragic lives of these well-drawn characters and portrays a dim and eerie afterlife.
Not so much a scary ghost story, but a highly emotional and unsettling, surreal road trip, Midnight Picnic was utterly spellbinding exploring issues such as loneliness, evil, and redemption. Only four and a half hours long, I listened to this in one sitting. I’m still not sure what to make of the ending, though.
With regards to the narration, it was performed by R. C. Bray. Need I say more? As always, outstanding. His tone matched the tension and eeriness of the story perfectly. Quite often, if a young child is a major part of the story, I find the narration suffers. In this case, I was in awe how authentic six-year-old Adam sounded. There were no issues with the production.

Audiobook provided for review by the audiobookreviewer dot com
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