Like the old song says, I love a parade. Who doesn’t? The Halloween parade that opens this destined-to-be holiday classic by Peter Crowther is both terrific and terrifying. By Wizard Oak, published in a limited numbered series by Earthling Publications, is the wonderfully warped story of a small town called Magellan Bend. Once upon a Halloween, something very bad happened…something not many recall. The witches came and terrible things occurred: children were devoured and all traces of their being with them.
Now, eight years later, the only survivor of that incident has awakened from a long nap and things are growing dark once more. The witches are coming back for what they left behind, for who they left behind, and it’s up to him and his girl—along with a good witch—to save the day.
With By Wizard Oak, Crowther has crafted a bizarro fantasy that paints the most deliciously vile witches I have read about in a long, long time. These grody bitches are nasty business. Led by an elephantine witch named Great Depression, the army of black clad, pointy-hat-wearing hags stalk through small-town streets and between the fabric of time on their quest for the one that got away.
I really don’t want to elaborate much more, as it would give away too much, and while this is not a perfect book, it does deserve the service of some secrecy. It offers hokey humor and great word play, subtle creeps and balls-out scares. The writing style is fluid and flows as a movie playing behind your eyes, which in my opinion, is the way the best books should be. I found myself thinking on these witches all week. How horrible they were, with their cracked skin, sores and warts, and their scabrous fingers and mouths. Dear sweet lord, those mouths!