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Book Review: Dark Harvest by William Malmborg


Ahhhh, Fall.

Pumpkin spice everything, cool crisp sheets on an inviting bed, ghosts, goblins, cool nights, sweaters. Well, you get the idea and of course the first few days of a new school year.

For a class photo assignment, Holly has decided that she wants to focus on scarecrows and on Saturday, September 1, 2012, she and her new boyfriend Ethan head out into the country in search of scarecrows for her to shoot.

However, they never return.

Two weeks later, Scott, her ex-boyfriend pulls into a diner where he meets waitress Sophia and gets her opinion on a photo of Holly that's on social media. She agrees that the picture would place her at the diner, but can't remember the couple.

Sophia asks her aunt if she remembers the couple and Scott tells her why they would have been in town two weeks prior. Her aunt tells him that she remembers them and she sent them to the hardware store, where owner Ray might have helped them out.

Scott goes to the hardware store and he does remember Holly and thought it was strange that she wanted to photograph scarecrows but to each his own.

That morning, Jonathon Turner wakes up from an unfit sleep. He was afraid that the scarecrow in the field was going to come into the house and kill him.

Later that day, he goes into town, where the townspeople sort of avoid him like the plague, due to his extremely religious family. He goes into the hardware store and talks to Ray and Ray tells him that a young man had stopped in earlier looking for a missing couple. Ray had casually mentioned that he mentioned his house and he should be on the lookout for him in case he should happen to stop by.

Scott goes to the one cop police department and talks to Deputy Taylor. He tells him about the disappearance of Holly and Ethan and that he's talked with the police, but they weren't willing to look into the disappearance.

Deputy Taylor tells him that he'll look into it and get back with him. He suggests that Scott check into the local motel and sit tight.

When Jonathon gets home, he chains the scarecrow tighter still fearing that it will come off of it's post in the middle of the night. As a child, he remembered an incident with a scarecrow prior to his older sister Naomi's disappearance.

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The next morning, Scott is upset that Deputy Taylor hasn't gotten in touch with him and all of his calls have been going directly to voicemail. He goes back to the diner for breakfast and tells Sophia that he hasn't heard anything yet and wants to know who the former police chief was.

Her aunt gives him the name and address and Scott goes over to the former chief's house. He fills him in on the disappearance and now Deputy Taylor is missing.

Chief Delevan makes a few calls and tells Scott to stay away from the house. If there's any foul play, he should let the deputy handle it.

As the day goes by, he convinces the chief to go with him to the house and the chief goes missing in the corn field. After two hours of waiting, Scott gets a call from Sophia and she tells him that since she's off of work now, she'll come to the house and wait with him.

Since Jonathon has "found" the chief in the cornfield, he gets into his truck and spots Scott on the side of the road.

Scott and Jonathon talk for a minute and he notices a shotgun on the passenger side of the truck and begins to get nervous. Thankfully, Sophia pulls up and Jonathon leaves. He keeps a watch on them as the two leave in her car.

Back at the motel, Scott can't stand not doing anything and his calls to the police seem to go unnoticed and he tells Sophia that he's going to go back out to the house and look around for any signs of the deputy and chief.

But what he discovers at the Turner homestead is enough to possibly kill him.

This is fairly a fast read, but, I did lose interest in the story, due to the sloppy editing which threw me off many times.

In the beginning, the story goes between September 1 (the past) and September 15 (the current day). It's also broken down by the character names as what would be the chapters. It's the days that will probably confuse you the most.

I had an idea about the scarecrow that haunts Jonathon and I was correct.

Besides the date issue, I think this would have worked a lot better as a novella. There were times when it did drag a bit, but it does hold your interest and is a good late Fall type of book.

I think this would make a pretty good movie as well since the suspense is there and the characters are pretty believable with good dialogue, but there are many pages with a lot of narrative.

If you're looking for something to read on a rainy Saturday this might hit the spot.

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