Joanna Parypinski’s new novel Dark Carnival follows Dax Howard. Dax is a college student studying astrophysics who returns to his hometown of Conjunction, Nebraska due to the sudden death of his father. When Dax’s mother vanished fourteen years earlier, it drove his father into an exhaustive search for her and eventually to his becoming an alcoholic. He was always convinced she was taken by the strange traveling circus that had rolled into town and vanished the same night as Dax’s mother.
Believing his father’s claims to be the conspiratorial ravings of a broken man, Dax is surprised when his return home begins to reveal evidence to the contrary in the form of old newspaper clippings his father posted inside his childhoood home detailing a similar carnival that popped up and swiftly snuck away across the country, leaving unexplained troubles behind in their wake through the years.
While back home, Dax reunites with his best friend Wyatt Montgomery. Wyatt felt abandoned after Dax left town for college. Since then he’s become a drug addict but still proves a valuable ally for the terrible events to come. Wyatt’s younger sister Sarah joins them as well, uniting them into an interesting, fun trio.
From here onward, things go from bad to worse for Dax and his friends as they incur the wrath of a local, grief-maddened Sheriff, discover a strange cult of kids who follow a strange, anemic-looking, girl named Savanna, and find themselves dealing with an ancient, cosmic entity that’s as alien to our world as it is emensly powerful.
Dark Carnival is a great novel that really keeps the pages turning. The characters are well-developed with each possessing their own foibles and attributes. Wyatt, for instance, can be rash and his drug addiction often proves an issue, but he’s also incredibly loyal to both Sarah and Dax.
Joanna definitely knows how to bring the chills and dosen’t hold back with the murderous terrors that befall the denizens of Conjunction. This is particularly evident during my favorite part of the novel when Dax and Wyatt go in search of an abandoned town nearby called Pastor’s Grove to find answers. A few forgotten, dilapidated structures still remain moldering deep in the forest, and the things that lurk inside it are unforgettably terrifying! Give Dark Carnival a read if you’re a fan of supernatural, weird/horror.
You can read my recent interview with Joanna Parypinski where she talks about writing Dark Carnival among other things here: https://horrordelve.com/2019/06/16/13-questions-with-joanna-parypinski/
Dark Carnival Amazon Kindle:
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