Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12
- Grade: 7
In the gritty steel town of Hamilton, Nate Silva has grown up with the familiar racket of football games from nearby Ivor Wynne Stadium. But now strange noises and music are coming from the stadium late at night, and the air throbs with the chanting of excited crowds. When Nate sneaks into one of these midnight games, he comes face to face with the fanatical followers of the Resurrection Church of the Ancient Gods, who are using mind control and human sacrifice in an attempt to summon the Great Old Ones who ruled the planet aeons ago. Nate tries to navigate this dangerous new world, but soon he’s pursued by members of the Resurrection Church and is targeted by the murderous Hounds of Tindalos. With the help of the Lovecraft Underground, an outspoken librarian and a being from across the boundaries Nate struggles to keep the old gods away from his city, whatever the cost.
About the author
David Neil Lee is a writer and double bassist. Originally from BC, he spent years in the Toronto art scene and on BC's Sunshine Coast, and currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario. He has just finished a PhD in English at the University of Guelph. In 2012, Toronto's Tightrope Books issued David's first novel, Commander Zero. In 2014, a new and revised edition of David's critically acclaimed jazz book The Battle of the Five Spot: Ornette Coleman and the New York Jazz Field was launched at the New School for Public Engagement in New York City. In 2016, the City of Hamilton awarded the Kerry Schooley award for the book that "best conveys the spirit of Hamilton" to David's Lovecraftian young adult novel, The Midnight Games.
Excerpt: Midnight Games, The (by (author) David Neil Lee)
Looking back at that first night, wiser now (I guess) than I was then, I should have said to Dana, "Turn back – let’s forget about the whole thing. Because if we don’t, terrible things will happen. To you especially."
This is what they call the wisdom of hindsight. We can construct whole fantasy worlds around how things might have been … if somehow we had made that decision instead of this decision. Dana would still be with us, and overall there would have been less fear, fuss and collateral damage. Although Dad and I have never had it all that easy, my life would still be going along in a more or less predictable way.
Or everything might be changed, changed horribly, beyond recognition, and we would all be, if not dead, then thoroughly shafted, and this delicate endangered world that supports us would be doomed. So what if I had kept Dana out of the midnight games, what if I had turned him back, what if we had stayed out of Ivor Wynne Stadium that October night?
"Let’s turn back, Dana, because if we don’t, terrible things will happen. To you especially," I’d have said. He would have looked up at me surprised, his face pale in the distant glare of the street lights.
Dana had led me to a shadowy corner at the stadium’s south end – away from the excited crowd, which I knew from experience was not your standard football crowd, pouring through the front gates: the screaming children and ponytailed women, the men wearing RESURRECTION CHURCH OF THE ANCIENT GODS T-shirts, or baseball caps with the now-familiar logo.
"H. P. has landed in the Hammer! The working-class grit of Hamilton, Ontario, crashes full tilt into the unspeakable gothic dread of Lovecraftian horror in The Midnight Games, and the results are enjoyably weird and wild. Featuring an unlikely assemblage of heroes (possibly including Providence’s favourite son himself), countless Hamilton touchstones and a clever take on Lovecraft that doesn’t shy away from the author’s more troublesome qualities, David Neil Lee’s novel is a very funny and unexpected addition to the Cthulhu mythos and the horror genre." – Evan Munday, author of The Dead Kid Detective Agency
A unique story!I love that it's based in my hometown, and oddly enough, in my neighborhood. Taking a trip through the neighborhood in this book is different though. We don't have any crazy happenings at the former Ivor Wynne Stadium, that I know of anyway, and I live right across the street from it so I should know.
I'd be scared out of my mind if the things in the book happened in my neighborhood. Geez.
Which brings me to the only downside I felt about this book. I felt it was geared for an older crowd, like 16+. Being a mom of two grown kids, I can say I wouldn't want my 12 year old reading a couple of the parts in here. 16 year old, yeah, ok. Realistically they experience more, but a 12 year old may still get nightmares.
Other than that, it was a unique tale that borders on sci-fi and horror. A little graphic here and there but nothing too bad.
I hope you all will read it. It's a fresh story from an author who lives locally. Gotta love that!