Hannah-Beast – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5 stars)

Hannah Talbott’s death has haunted Amanda for 34 years. Halloween in particular brings back these memories; after all it was just supposed to be a prank! No one was supposed to get hurt! But now, Hannah Talbott is engrained in the town’s local history, and children dress up as “Hannah-Beast” every year, never allowing for Amanda to escape the nightmare. But this Halloween feels different; is Hannah finally out to seek her revenge? And will Amanda pay the price?

In a heartbreaking tale about bullying and guilt, we follow two stories: Amanda as she tries to survive another Halloween. But this time, she is balancing her daughter’s teenage angst without her husband by her side. It is obvious from the beginning that something is haunting Amanda, and her own trepidation is evident throughout the narrative: she can’t stand the Hannah-Beast costumes, and each time one rings the bell for candy, her memories drag her back into that fateful night. The second narrative is Hannah’s, 34 years ago, showing a young girl longing to fit in, and how really…she was never a beast. Just a victim of bullying, blamed for the destruction of a barn, who didn’t see any way to escape…like a beast, trapped in a cage. 

As a note: if you do not like violence, death, or suicide, this story won’t be for you. It does not have a happy ending, and it drags the reader through Amanda’s own paranoia in a remarkably vivid way. The horror is within Amanda, not in a beast. 

While most of us have never caused someone’s death (whether directly or indirectly), I am sure we have all had a moment in our life that haunts us. Hannah-Beast plays on that, and most of us might start reflecting on a moment where we wish we could have spoken up, wished we hadn’t caved to peer pressure, and wished we could forget about that day. 

Hopefully, it won’t lead us to Amanda’s fate. 

Hopefully, we won’t be scared when a little girl says “boo!”

What’s it about?

The fate of a lonely girl becomes part of a town’s shameful secret history in Thriller Award winner Jennifer McMahon’s terrifying story of guilt, retribution, and one tragic Halloween night.

Thirty-four years ago, on October 31, poor Hannah Talbott took part in a scavenger hunt gone violently wrong. The mean girls made sure of it. To this day, for a haunted local mother, the most unsettling Halloween costume of all is an urban legend they call Hannah-Beast. It’s a reminder of the past she can’t forget. Especially tonight when it’s come back, so close to home.

Jennifer McMahon’s Hannah-Beast is part of Dark Corners, a collection of seven heart-stopping short stories by bestselling authors who give you so many new reasons to be afraid. Each story can be read in a single sitting. Or, if you have the nerve, you can listen all by yourself in the dark.

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