Eight Days in October


Not for me 😔

The bulk of Eight Days in October feels like being on the receiving end of a lecture you didn't deserve instead of reading a horror novel.

A haunted city on the brink of collapse, a family legacy shrouded in ghosts, men driven by honor and revenge in a world that recognizes only decay. These are the circumstances of Eight Days in October by DM Schwartz, a horror novel that pulls gently from weird fiction to tell the tale of Adderlass, a city built to end in ruination, along with the lives that will intersect inside it.

At least, those should be the stakes of the novel, and there should be plenty of mystery surrounding Adderlass and the supernatural events that occur within it. However, Eight Days in October is more content with expounding at the reader rather than letting events unfold. More time is spent re-hashing Winston Churchill's role in World War II than a scene wherein Simon Cubbins finds spectres in his great grandfather's mansion.

This is amplified with the introduction of the Nagasaki father/daughter duo. Their introductory chapter is rife with references to stock Japanese culture: samurai, Bushido, honor, explanations of Buddhism, that it becomes rather uncomfortable to read through. Suddenly there is a yakuza wielding a katana and it feels incredibly stereotypical without a hint of self-awareness.

At the same time, the setting of Adderlass remained nebulous and hard to mentally pin down. This too seems unintentional and not with the purpose of creating a mystery. Adderlass is supposedly a city created using ancient evil artifacts, and it's mentioned that this is why it has fallen into ruin, rife with drug use and prostitution. There are federal agents investigating the goings-on, people seem to be living their lives there, but is it a modern city? Is it a city infused with medieval architecture crumbling next to hastily-built projects? It's difficult to care what goes on in a place so devoid of, well, anything.

There are a few strong chapters in Eight Days in October from DM Schwartz, but these brief moments aren't enough to carry the remainder of the novel. These chapters would have been better suited to short stories in a more focused collection than small pieces of a whole they can be divorced from entirely. The bulk of Eight Days in October feels like being on the receiving end of a lecture you didn't deserve instead of reading a horror novel.

Reviewed by

Hi there! I'm Bill, a writer from the east coast. I have a passion for horror, sf, and lit fiction.

I see myself as a writer first and foremost, and the goal of my reviews is always to inform the reader, while also giving the type of perspective to a fellow writer that I too would welcome.

The Request

About the author

When not writing or seeing hospitalized patients, DM Schwartz (MD, MBA) enjoys mountain biking, making short films and spending time with his wife and their four children, four dogs, three ferrets and sole beard dragon. view profile

Published on January 11, 2021

110000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Horror

Reviewed by