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Book Review: When Halloween was Green by Bernard K. Finnigan

Well, I really hoped to get this out closer to Halloween, but life likes to get in the way, so you're getting a nice Halloween review 10 days before Christmas. Oops. But if you're anything like me, no time of year is the wrong time for Halloween, and when it's Halloween being taken back by ancient Celtic monsters--well, I'm a simple girl. I like my Irish ancestry, I like mythology, and I like all things dark and twisted and terrifying. So yes, I went straight after this book when I found it.


When Halloween was Green by Bernard K. Finnigan


When Halloween was Green is a supernatural action/horror debut by small-press author Bernard K. Finnigan, a tale of how far Halloween has come from its origins and of the ancient monsters who once haunted it coming to remind us puny mortals of what the holiday should be. I met the author at a local Comic Con and bought the book because it sounded right up my alley, and this is my purely honest opinion. I was not given an ARC or otherwise free copy in exchange for this review.


Blurb: The scare in Halloween is gone from Middle America. With its celebrity-obsessed culture preferring glitter, pirates, and princesses, Keith and Benny MacCool's frightening haunted house attraction isn't what it used to be.When the few remaining Halloween enthusiasts in town start turning up dead, the MacCools unearth the source of the problem: something has awakened from Halloween's distant past. The Celtic monsters and legends of old Ireland have discovered modern man has dumbed-down every tradition that once protected mortals on the scariest night of the year. And they have plans this Halloween.But Keith and Benny have survived a lifetime of personal demons and possess insider knowledge of every Halloween fright ever devised. When the sun sets on October 31st, the MacCools are the only ones who can confront the Celtic horrors not witnessed in 2000 years. Things are about to get scary—fast.


Review: The premise of this book is absolutely fantastic. I was pulled in right from the start when I heard about it. I love a little gore, a little horror, a little action, and the concept of bringing some lesser-known mythology to the spotlight was really cool to me. Not to mention it's all Irish (and if you guys can't look at my last name and a picture and tell how Irish I am, I can't help you). The story was a fun little adventure, though certainly less scary than I would have sometimes liked and drawn out more than I felt was necessary. While it was slow to start, once things really got going I found myself wanting to keep going. I read most of this book in a day!


This book's downfall, though, comes in the writing itself. On the whole I felt this book was one that got halfway to what it could have been and then stopped. The writing becomes flat and bland often, the author has a habit of reiterating information that's already been established, and sloppy editing runs throughout. A few inconsistencies towards the end in particular pulled me out of the story. There were loose ends that I wish were tied and rules I wish were established. Overall, another draft or two of close editing to tighten things up would have pushed the book into much better territory.


If you're like me and can stand the just okay writing to enjoy a different and entertaining story on a day stuck sick in bed, and have a real need for some of that Celtic lore that gets so often overlooked, maybe give When Halloween was Green a shot. But I can't say I'll be rereading anytime soon.


Buy When Halloween was Green