Night of the Prowler by Jon Athan is my first dive into his world of slashers, but certainly not my last! It isn’t that I was unaware, and in fact I own many of the titles of his previous slashers. Such as, Butcher Road, Camp Blaze, Spit and Die, The Social Media Murders, and Do Not Disturb. Am I proud that this was my first, no. However, if you aren’t so much of a fan of some of the heavier topics Jon writes about that are rooted in very real life scary issues I suggest you check out some of his slashers, psychological horror, and other various types of writing he has tackled.
Night of the Prowler felt like a perfect slasher for me to start with in Jon’s catalog. I actually used to work at a gas station/convenience store, and I experienced and saw some crazy things. Therefore, I could really relate to the main character Zoe. My mom hated that I worked at a gas station. She always feared I’d be shot, or robbed, or beaten because of all the meth heads, and I WAS IN UNIVERSITY! So I cannot imagine a mother’s fear for a teenager.
Night of the Prowler starts off in a great way. Of course, as I mentioned the main character Zoe is getting ready to work a night shift at Hanson’s Fuel Center. Her mother, Catherine, is not pleased and is worried. The 90s nostalgia starts off quick in the story with throwbacks to songs, and culture references. I love that!
Zoe calms her mom down, and lets her know she won’t be alone. That either Collin or her manager Randy will be there. Much to her surprise when she arrives Zoe realizes Collin has just worked a shift, and she finds out that Randy had a family emergency. So she will be at the gas station all alone! She is at least comforted that she has her trusty Sony Discman to get her through her shift. However, her batteries soon die, and she doesn’t have money to buy any. With Randy keeping a hawk eye on the inventory she has no choice but to try an old radio.
This is when she hears that a lunatic has escaped from the asylum not close, but not far from where she is. Her mind runs wild! However, she finds a station that is alright. As the customers come and go one finally arrives that fits the description of The Prowler! Zoe asks a frequent customer to stay until he leaves, and luckily he does.
At this point in the story Athan has already started a great story using two points of view. One being Zoe the other The Prowler. After, the weird man leaves Zoe begins getting strange, and lewd phone calls. She is sure it is the weird man that she knew was The Prowler, because he asked for an application! The phone numbers to Hanson’s are right at the top!
As The Prowler causes devastation and death where he goes, Zoe fears that their paths will cross and meet sooner than the morning comes. Will Zoe be in for a nightmare? Is it all in her head? Or will she be just another number left on the killing floor?
This novel was fantastic! It was fast paced, gory, and fun to read. Some of the kills are over the top, but that is the fun of it! It is just like classic slashers that many love, including myself. There is a lot of vibes I got that The Prowler played off of classic slasher films. Such as body language, weird quirks, and more. I actually caught one big one that Jon mentions in his letter to the readers at the end. I really love that cult classic! However, he says many influenced Night of the Prowler, and if you know Jon Athan he loves his Urban Legends which also have influence here!
Overall, I must give Night of the Prowler by Jon Athan four and a half stars out of five stars. I only noticed a couple small things, and that is if my time period is correct. I broke it down that this takes place around 1995 to 1996 period frame, now if I’m wrong I apologize Jonny. However, if I’m correct there is a mention of an LED lantern, and these were not readily available until around the early 2000’s. The other would be that Zoe has mixed tapes (cd’s), which again if the time period is what I think a CD burning drive for a computer at the time was fairly pricey (around $1,000.00). Nevertheless, I do remember mix CD’s floating around, so it could be a friend that gave it to her. These are such small details I only deducted half a star, and if I am wrong I’d give a full five stars. I’m round up to five anyways. The story was fun, not bogged down, the kills were awesome, and the finale was absolutely fantastic! I cannot wait to read more of the slashers by Jon Athan, and as always Jon’s writing was superb, his anatomy is always on point, and he paints a fantastic picture with words. Until next time, my friends.