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The Con Season: A Novel of Survival Horror Paperback – August 30, 2016
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About the Author
Adam Cesare is a New Yorker who lives in Philadelphia. His books include Mercy House, Video Night, The Summer Job, and Tribesmen. His work has been praised by Fangoria, Rue Morgue, Publishers Weekly, Bloody Disgusting, and more. His titles have appeared on "Year's Best" lists from outlets like Complex and FearNet. He writes a monthly column for Cemetery Dance Online.
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Top Customer Reviews
The "Con" in the title refers to "conventions," a staple for any horror fan or for anyone who works in the horror field. Clarissa Lane is one of the later, She may have seen her glory days pass her by, but she's still out there, doing what she can all while fighting the effects that years of show business and the natural worries of aging are having on her. After well-meaning mismanagement leaves her dead broke, she ends up accepting an offer to be the Guest of Honor at a newly-launched horror convention that promises to be the most interactive experience fans could ever hope for.
As a huge fan of eighties slasher movies, I can definitely see how heavily they inspired this story, which is best described as a mash-up between Friday the 13th and My Name is Bruce. Without giving too much away, while the majority of the characters fit neatly into the roles you'd expect them to, it's this very sense of familiarity that makes the story so fun to start with. And while they don't all get that much "screen time", with only a couple of exceptions they're explored enough that you still find something to attach yourself to in them.
The villains here also feel all-too real in today's celebrity-obsessed culture, and I had to wonder at times if Cesare hadn't heard of something like this actually happening before, or if maybe his fellow convention-goers might want to keep a closer eye on him in the future. I did find it beautiful that there was no great motivation behind why they did what they did other than they could do it, and had the spare money to waste on doing it. It's quite possibly one of the most realistic motivations I've ever seen for a horror bad guy.
In a move that I personally found both irritating and genius, Cesare doesn't even let you off the hook at the end. While I'm sure he knows what the final outcome was, he leaves it up to the reader to figure out whether it's got the nice PG-13 horror ending, or the brutal and bloody unrated one. I have to wonder how many people who read this will go in either of those directions with it. I picked my ending; and whether it's the same as yours or not doesn't really matter. It adds a touch that makes the story personal to the reader without being overly vague, and I applaud that choice.
All in all, this was a fun, rip-roaring tear that evoked beautiful nostalgia for those bloody slasher days, all while feeling fresh and new. This isn't a story you've seen before, but it feels like one, which for me, was what made it worth the read to start with.
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4.5 / 5 Stars (Rounded Up)
Sometimes when you get hyped up about a work, it's almost inevitable to feel disappointment. How many movies trailers have you watched that convince you to buy in, only to be left cold by the final product, or worse, to find out that the movie completely sucked? It happens.
Thankfully, I came away from The Con Season a happy camper. Certainly much happier, at any rate, than Clarissa Lee, a washed-up and broke B-movie horror actress who, along with a handful of other horror actors and scream queens, agree to take part in the first annual Blood Camp Con. This convention promises to be unlike any other - part fan service, part performance art, it seeks to recreate the aesthetics of a slasher horror movie in real-life, with the celebrities unwittingly the victims.
Cesare uses The Con Season to cleverly deconstruct horror movies and fandom in Scream-like fashion, giving reader's a birds-eye view into the conventioneer's lifestyle, where they are both grateful and spiteful of their fans and their reliance on what is arguably a dark and parasitic relationship of who's using who.
The genre, and its inhabitants as both creator and consumer, are viewed through a glass darkly, allowing for moments of wry satire and bleak, knowing laughter. And although the book has some pretty dark examinations, you can still sense the appreciation Cesare has for his topic. As a horror writer, it's certainly his job to view things in, perhaps, a slightly skewed way, but it all comes from a place of deep affection and an examination of genre conventions (in both the literal conventions and in the tropes of horror works) without being overly reverential or nastily preachy. He's not afraid to skewer those things that need a good stabbing, and he is certainly a well-studied student of the horror genre and its permutations in book and film.
Most importantly, as far as I'm concerned anyway, it's just a fun, highly readable slasher story. Friday The 13th fans should feel right at home here, but it's the commentary that really earns this book high marks.
The sh*t is about to get real up in here.
This story is exactly why I like Adam Cesare’s work so much. You can tell that he loves horror. Movies and the written word. Dude knows his stuff and it shows. My only peeve with this one is that I thought it could have been longer. While the characters were fleshed out well enough, I think there could have been a little more backstory and slasher action at the camp
Overall, a very good and bloody b-movie-esque romp in the backwoods of Kentucky.
The characters really make this book. Cesare is able to quickly sketch in characters and make you believe them and understand their motivations. The characters make the best decisions they can, and often make the smart decision that you don’t expect.
This is a book written by a horror fan, and will be appreciated by horror fans. But, the book is also a well written and well paced thriller that can be enjoyed by non-horror fans as well.
Overall, the Con Season was a quick, fun read that horror and thriller fans would greatly enjoy
Most Recent Customer Reviews
THE CON SEASON, by Adam Cesare had a great premise for fans of 80's style horror.Read more