Review: Midnight on Beacon Street by Emily Ruth Verona

Midnight on Beacon StreetMidnight on Beacon Street by Emily Ruth Verona
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Midnight on Beacon Street is a bit of a pensive novel, set in 1993. It follows a babysitter, Amy, who must overcome her own anxiety in order to protect the children she is responsible for on one hell of a night.

The scene is set as Eleanor Mazinski heads out on a date night, leaving her two children, Mira and Ben, with the sitter, Amy. Amy is 17-years old and skilled at taking care of children. Mira is stand-offish, but Ben is sweet and she knows she’ll be able to win him over with a little patience.

The evening starts out normally enough, but takes some uncomfortable turns, escalating in their danger level.

By midnight, there’s a dead body, a pool of blood, and a race for the kindly neighbor’s house to call for help. How did things go so wrong? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Midnight on Beacon Street turned out to be a very different story than what I thought it was going to be, and unfortunately, in this case, that’s not a good thing.

While I appreciated many different elements of the story, such as the many nods to classic Horror films, I can’t say that I enjoyed it. For me, it sort of plodded along in an awkward way, with the tension only arriving at the final, climactic scene; too little, too late.

From the start, it felt odd to me. The way the perspectives were presented, the back and forth in time, it just didn’t flow the way I would have wanted it to.

Around the halfway point, I was enjoying it, but damn was it slow. There was a ton of character work and the build-out of their emotions and motivations, but not in a way that I personally found to be compelling. Nevertheless, I was still anxious for the excitement to start.

Sadly, it just never took off for me. It didn’t seem to be able to establish a fluid narrative flow. The back and forth was a lot and it just felt way more literary than I was hoping for.

On a positive note, it almost felt like a Stephen Graham Jones work at times, in regards to the way it explored the Horror genre. As the synopsis says, it did feel like a love letter to Horror, which I love to see.

Even though it wasn’t done with the same finesse as SGJ, it was still a solid effort and that was definitely my favorite aspect of the book. Without those elements, this probably would have been a 2-star read for me.

I know that this will work for a lot of Readers though, so please don’t let my jaded-old opinion sway you. If this sounds interesting to you, please give it a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose and in fact, you could find a new favorite.

Thank you to the publisher, Harper Perennial, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Even though this wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, I would be interested in picking up more from this author.

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