Without spoiling, we review a horror crime novel hybrid, “Harvest Moon” by J.D. Oliva, which is on Kindle, and also has Special Edition successfully funded on the Kickstarter crowd funding site before September 19th, 2020. Free preview is also provided by the author via Kickstarter, the link to which can be found below the review.
Please read on to know why we think that this is one of the best horror crime novels about werewolves & serial killers, especially if you love the holidays season.
Fear sweeps through the Windy City, and with every new slaying, a grizzled, retired detective falls closer into madness.
Retired detective Jack Shane is determined to prove he’s still got what it takes. Five years after his faceoff with the fierce Pentagram Killer, the grizzled cop is on the hunt for a copycat perp—one who’s carving their victim’s hands with bloody stars.
Plagued by PTSD and strange hallucinations, his investigation uncovers an unreal truth— the murderer is a crazed werewolf.
Jack’s unsettling visions drive him into a tormented spiral as he desperately tries to solve the crimes before a hired assassin executes the vicious culprit. But when the lead investigator is fatally torn to shreds, Jack keeps a single silver bullet loaded in the chamber…because his estranged son is the predator’s next target.
Can he return from retirement as a success, or will this ill-omened case be his death?
Harvest Moon is the suspenseful prequel to the supernatural thriller Books of Jericho series. If you like gritty mysteries, stunning twists and turns, and horrifying monsters, you’ll love this after-dark probe
Spoiler Free Review:
Harvest Moon by J.D. Oliva is a 266 paged horror novel that combines the thrills, and suspense of crime novel with werewolf horror. Werewolf is a popular subject in the horror genre, but very few manage to deliver truly suspenseful and intriguing tale as this novel. It is the prequel to the horror novel “Conspiracy Theory:, and follows the story of Jack Shane, former veteran cop, now back to service thanks to the reemergence of serial killer’s method in the recent murders happening in Chicago.
The horror novel starts with murders, and thus, introduces the crime story element from the beginning. The murders are strange as the way the victims are killed is brutal but Pentagram on their palm was the signature of a serial killer who terrorized Chicago years ago. The scariest thing is that Jack Shane had killed the serial killer years ago, and the killings had stopped for 5 years but re-emerged now. The readers, along with the characters of the novel wonder about the same thing, which is, how can a dead serial killer return? Jack was once the best Detective in the USA who brought down the biggest serial killer ever seen by the world. Thus, the CPD (Chicago Police Department)’s Chief Frank Harlan makes the risky, and somewhat illegal decision to bring back Jack Shane from his retirement, and have him help the police investigate the murders as the investigation. It was a risky decision as the encounter with the Pentagram killer had left Jack with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and almost killed him. Newer cops on the force, like the young expert, Prentice aren’t too happy to have a traumatized former cop meddling with the case. Some trusted veterans like the forensic expert, Ortiz has Jack’s back. Some new cops like Watkins also admire Jack for his expertise.
The novel also tells us about what’s happening in Chicago, as the murders span across the city. With many murders being connected with the people who knew Jack Shane, or were the survivors of the serial killer’s attempts to murder them. It’s just a few days till the Christmas Eve, and the murders have made the holiday season scary for everyone in Chicago. The media is also clueless but excited, with some celebrity gossip peddling newspapers also trying to get a piece of the cake due to the interest of young journalists like Dana O’Brien, who was just managing the social media of the brand established by her uncle. To kick start her journalism career, she decides to make the latest murder investigation as the big break in her life despite her uncle disapproving this decision. She also befriends Jack Shane’s son, Chris Shane in an attempt to get some lead, and a source from which she could get her foot in the door. The readers also get acquainted with Jack Shane’s family life, which was badly affected due to the traumatizing end to the investigation years ago, and the struggle he had for years, and still find living the life rather difficult. Chris also had a difficult time growing up, as his mother left his father, and him due to Jack Shane’s psychological problem landing him to years of therapy. Now, quitting the wrestling dream, and struggling in his 20s, Chris Shane is trying to help his father feel better by living with him but that’s when he hears of his father returning to the same kind of murder investigation that ended up traumatizing him forever.
Nothing is as it seems as the patterns of murders show the old Pentagram MO (Modus Operandi), but with human organs missing, and to top it, there are wolf footprints near some murder scenes. This is when Jack Shane thinks that this is something worse, and work of a werewolf. This claim makes Prentice, and others think that he’s as crazy as people claimed. The readers also introduced to many other characters that link to the main story, like Jericho, the contract killer now working as the Private Security Firm owner, Dr. Gaftman who is the official psychotherapist of Jack Shane assigned by the CPD which affected Jack’s thinking patterns as much as the serial killer did, and Chris’s funny childhood friend called Zach who is the only true friend Chris is left. We also see the plight of the relatives of the murder victims, who are frustrated with the killer still killing others, and not arrested yet. Author also shows how stressful it is to be a police, and how it affects their health, not just Jack but police people in general.
Challenges of being a journalist is also shown in the form of Dana O’Brian’s story. The novel also touches on the fact that there’s no magic formula to the perfect parenting as seen by the different situations of rich but indifferent father of Dana, and Chris’ parents who tried their best but the murders destroyed the family forever. Without preaching, the novel also provides some references to spirituality, Christianity, and belief system as Chris & Jack, both couldn’t really live the ideal lives they had hoped for. Author also shows his empathy as there’s a mention of how paramedics, and essential workers never truly have a relaxing holiday season as the emergency can come anytime which makes them give up their family time for their duty.
The novel’s best thing is that it’s not just a simple murder horror novel. It provides backstory, and describes the behavior patterns or the work of even the smallest characters without wasting pages or making the reader feel bored. The author, J.D. Oliva, is not just a storyteller, but an observer, and a biographer whose writing style feels like we are hearing what the characters think, do, and also some input by the author about the real life Chicago, the contemporary modern things like Netflix, smartphones, SpongeBob cartoon, and even the social media’s effect on the real world. This writing style helps bring the characters alive, and makes us care for them. The story progress at an appropriate pace, and the situations keep getting more exciting with every chapter. The story’s questions affect the readers as much as the characters, and things stay unpredictable as well as surprising till the very end. The book has many scary scenes, some gory details, and some strong language, but no suggestive themes. It can be safely read by teens, and above.
In conclusion, providing an unforgettable reading experience through the combination of crime thriller, and werewolf horror sprinkled with intriguing characters, “Harvest Moon” by J.D. Oliva is an enjoyable, thrilling, and often subtly funny horror crime novel which will be loved by horror, and crime fans alike. 266 pages provide a lot of content, and also a few pages of the free preview of the “Conspiracy Theory” horror novel. Available on Kindle, and now on Kickstarter to provide exciting rewards, this is a horror novel that deserves support by horror fans not just for the horror but also the life tales provided within.
About the Author, J.D. Oliva & his works:
Author, comic writer, filmmaker, podcaster, and wrestler, J.D. Oliva has worn a lot of hats. His novels include Hawk Hallow, the supernatural, superhero VisionQuest series, and the Books of Jericho series. He also co-hosts the Superhero Speak podcast and The StoryBuilder podcast. J.D. enjoys creating fiction that bends the familiar suburban reality to reflect the darkness of an underling paranormal world.
As a Kickstarter creator, J.D. has run successful campaigns for his graphic novels Deluge and Red Sunrise. This is his first fiction Kickstarter campaign.
J.D. lives with his wife and son in Davis Junction, Illinois. He runs a production company, Video Infinity, and coaches wrestling at DeKalb High School. He keeps himself pretty busy.
What are the Books of Jericho?
What if John Wick worked on The X-Files?
The Books of Jericho series spins off after the shocking conclusion of Harvest Moon. These stories focus on Harvest Moon’s breakout character, Ethan Jericho. Jericho is a modern-day ronin—an international assassin whose work often puts him in conflict with the supernatural.
In these four books, Jericho uncovers a conspiracy of a reptilian invasion, battles a doomsday cult for the missing pages of the Devil’s Bible, hunts for a serial killing mind-control worm, and is trapped in the icy tundra on the run from the savage Wendigo
Our Reviews of the other J.D. Oliva Novels:-
Kicktstarter Archive / Legacy Page (FREE Preview Link Provided on the Page!!)
Purchase on Kindle (Amazon Page)
Who is Ethan Jericho? —Get your FREE copy of Conspiracy Theory- Limited Time Promo Page!
Connect with J.D. Oliva:
Amazon reviews of HARVEST MOON! :–
“If you like a good werewolf story you will love this book. This is a character driven honest to goodness werewolf tale that is well written and scary as all get out.”
“This is a good one with a significant twist at the end. More of human element thaN the supernatural but engaging to the end!”
“This is EXACTLY what you want from a well-written story! A non-stop action thriller that I couldn’t put down and you won’t want to either! “
“Suspenseful, thrilling, unique!”
“This was a mystery that kept me hooked from the beginning to the end!”
“I love stories about werewolf but the usually they fall into the same story line pattern. This one, however, is so unique that I didn’t see the twists coming. And that is exactly what made this a terrific story! I can’t wait to continue the series with Ethan Jericho and Cherry Vale Security.”
“Brilliant, Simply Brilliant!”
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