Last year, I partook in a group read (largely with strangers from the internet) of Roger Zelazny’s final novel, A Night in the Lonesome October. Given how my tastes have shifts over the past few pandemic-filled years into stories about dread, anxiety, and horror, this was right up my alley! It’s a fun pastiche of all sorts of “classic” horror tropes — Dracula mixed with Frankenstein, the Universal Monsters’ conception of a werewolf, but also Jack the Ripper, Burke & Hare, a “mad monk,” witches, the animal familiars of all of these beings, and, finally, some Lovecraftian horrors awaiting beyond a mysterious gate.
Each of these characters are embroiled in a “game” of sorts over the course of the month of October, and Zelazny brings them all together for an interesting little competition. And then some — Sherlock Holmes plays a significant role in the story as well! It’s a fun book, and one that’s neither particularly scary nor a fantastic, unassailable piece of literature. But as a “cozy horror” book to read around this time of year, it’s great. I am relishing digging back into it. Especially because it comes baked with a fantastic conceit perfect for group reads — it recounts the events of every day from September 30th to October 31st, making “a chapter a day” a fun reading constraint.
I’m going to start rereading it in a few days and have created a new Google Group for anyone else to join and chat along as we read here:
Please feel free to check it out and join! Anyone reading this is welcome to join us. And if you’re not sure if it’s for you, here is a link to the first week or so, readable for free, so you can get a taste.
Let’s get spooky, friends.