Sawyer and his friends decide to play a prank on their friend Shanna after she gets a job at the movie theater. But when people start dying, possibly at the hands of the mannequin they were using in their prank, Sawyer takes matters into his own hands.
... deeply disturbing ... The author’s touch is both deftly credible and amusing. Sawyer is a convincing and endearing protagonist. This serves to make the novella all the more disquieting. By the time the story crashes to its end, you may well have an empty feeling about inadvertent evil in your stomach and a hole in your heart as well.
The ingredients here are the basic elements of coming-of-age stories...But where Jones takes the narrative is much less expected ... Jones does a particularly good job of illustrating Sawyer’s increasingly tenuous grasp of reality, and of the leaps in logic that allow him to justify the a series of unsettling actions. And while the image of a mannequin turned feral could seem absurd, Sawyer’s reflections on Manny add a great deal of both pathos and menace to the proceedings ... This is, of course, assuming you choose to read Jones’s novel as a tale of obsession and psychological horror; there is the matter of the missing Miracle-Gro, which offers some credence to the notion that Sawyer is essentially the Renfield to Manny’s Dracula. And that’s certainly a terrifying notion all its own ... has its over-the-top moments, but it’s firmly in the tradition of horror rooted in a very real, very relatable anxiety.
Readers will be simultaneously drawn to and repulsed by Sawyer, and entertained by the pervasive dark sense of humor ... a suspenseful, fast-paced novella that keeps readers hooked ... A hotter voice in horror would be hard to find these days, and Graham Jones does not disappoint, delivering another masterpiece.