Harvest Nights is a new novella from author Ahmed Alameen due for release in December 2021/January 2022 blending other worldly horrors with immense amounts of suspense and gore.
Mr Alameen first came to our attention through film actually with his 2018 psychological horror, Callous. We enjoyed that tremendously, while being aware he was also an author, so it is really exciting to get stuck into his written word. Even more so when that tale, Harvest Nights is described as Lovecraftian.
Yes, described as a Lovecraftian tale inspired by Native American myths in Colonial times, Harvest Nights certainly has an interesting premise. Anything described as Lovecraftian gathers my interest quickly but also means it comes with expectations. In this, Harvest Nights truly delivers and you feel HP Lovecraft’s inspiration scattered amongst the words and paragraphs plentifully.
Harvest Nights is a story told through a young boy named Chua (Snake). He narrates the story, giving details of a time when a strange shooting start appeared in the sky. This references a real life event in 1811 Colonial America (Great Comet of 1811). During it’s time, days disappeared and the region was plunged into darkness, into constant night. This unending night, we learn, coincides with the weakening of a wall between two worlds, an alien world of monstrous creatures and our world. As hungry creatures push through, Chua and others face a battle for survival against powerful creatures that will stop at nothing to feed.
We start off with Chua waking up and are instantly thrown into gore as a pretty horrific vision scene is described that culminates in Chua ripping out his own heart. Gross. Thankfully he wakes up and the story starts developing. Surveying his surroundings, a landscape of carnage appears where mutilated bodies lie scattered, one without a heart, many without limbs. Chua attempts to make his way off the island, fearfully and erratic in his movements. He lacks confidence and courage and that is the first clue really that he is very young. Just a child really.
Chua seems well versed in myth and legend and seems to be able to name some of the monsters that attack, almost like he knows more, but I put this aside and assumed it was due to the folklore and mythology of his tribe. He names a monster or two in particular he plans to avoid during an inner monologue. Again Ahmed Alameen uses well known monsters from myth to keep the ties between the story and our world cleverly. Chua fears the Dagwanoenyent most and his fear translates through the page to the reader. I had no idea what it was but was now also feeling a little afraid.
As Chua attempts to flee and stay alive, he meets other desperate survivors. At first, a woman called Kima and a man who introduces himself as John Bradbury but is later revealed to be John Colter (Coulter in this story and another tie to our world). John knows of a mansion where they could maybe set up and defend from so they make there way towards it, running into slavers and plenty of monstrous creatures en route. The arduous journey is not without loss and the anxiety and suspense trickles through the pages and paragraphs with each step the characters take.
At the mansion, safety is not a given as the one one thing humanity always guarantees in any crisis, any world and any era is some fanatics. Those who see the terrible times as the words and wrath of a god or those who see the monsters as their saviours. So, now with Chua, Kima, John and a rescued slave called Smith already beaten, battered and desperate, they are taken by these fanatics as sacrifices to their god. As that God, Dagwanoeient approaches and the darkness remains, a grotesque end surely awaits.
Harvest Nights is an interesting story chock full of twists and turns, suspense and horrifically descriptive gore. It is a novella, so is a quick read, at around 22,000 words but it is worthwhile and feels like every word has its place. I very much enjoyed the ties to our own mythology and history and the additional realism that brings. The story is paced nicely and I loved the main twist at the end that I cannot believe I did not see coming. So much so that I reread the story again to lambast myself at all the clues I missed en route to the end. The characters are strong, the horror and suspense pours off each page and the most disappointing part of the story is that it ends.
If I had a complaint, it would only be to do with some odd spelling/grammar though I am aware I have an advanced review version so these issues may disappear in the final copy. There is a lot of over and incorrectly used hyphenating on words like remain (re-main) or animals (ani-mals) and may more. I wondered if this was done purposely to maybe show speech pattern but it wasn’t clear so was mostly annoying to this grammar fiend.
It doesn’t distract from the quality story though so can and should be ignored.
To summarise, Harvest Nights is a gloriously horrific story packed with suspense. It will have the reader biting their nails and sitting on the edge of their seat consumed by the high quality Lovecraftian story unfolding in front of their eyes and in their mind.
Keep up to date with news on Harvest Nights release, and on what comes next from Ahmed Alameen at the links below.
Harvest Nights by Ahmed Alameen
Book Title: Harvest Nights
The Final Score - 9/10