Midnight on Beacon Street

Harper Perennial. Jan. 2024. 208p. ISBN 9780063330511. pap. $17.99. HORROR
DEBUT It’s 1993, and a normally sleepy New Jersey town is experiencing a rash of break-ins. Amy, an anxious kid who loves horror movies from the ’70s and ’80s, is the local babysitter, and tonight she is headed to single mom Eleanor’s house to watch Mira and Ben. Verona telegraphs from the first page that this will not be an easy night, as the story opens at midnight—with Ben covered in blood. Told in short chapters, this intensely unnerving novel moves swiftly, while well-placed flashbacks provide the necessary background details to flesh out the main characters and anchor the story in its perfectly rendered setting. Both Amy and Ben are compelling narrators, whose different perspectives enhance the full gamut of emotions this book elicits. Readers will want to gulp this one down all at once.
VERDICT Verona’s debut is a riveting thriller and a thoughtful love letter to horror films. It will find its most enthusiastic audience with fans of the babysitter final girl trope from any medium, such as the movie Halloween and the novel The Babysitter Lives by Stephen Graham Jones.
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