I’m always on the lookout for something spooky to read. I am desperate for that book that sends shivers down your spine, or keeps your mind racing at night thinking of all the twisted possibilities that lurk in the shadows. The local bookstore was reorganizing their displays and happened to have a large quantity of books thrown together, and it was in this massive pile that this particular book caught my eye–the bargain price stick on the bottom of the cover also caught my eye, but that isn’t nearly as important. I grabbed this book and added it to the growing stack of books in my arms before heading out of the store and back home to shelve the newest additions to my collection. Despite being a bargain price, this book was full of exactly what I had been looking for.
“Clown in a Cornfield” by Adam Cesare centers around Quinn Maybrook and her recent arrival in the small town of Kettle Springs. After the loss of her mother, Quinn and her father move to the quaint little town of Kettle Springs where her father has taken over the town’s medical practice. As Quinn settles into this new town, she learns that there is a tension that is rippling just beneath the surface.
After the loss of a young girl during a late-night party, the town became enraged with the foolish antics of its younger generation. Silly pranks, dangerous stunts, and growing viewers on a YouTube channel have promoted groups of teenagers to continuously bring chaos and calamity to Kettle Springs in the hopes of building internet fame. Tired and exasperated, the older generation of locals were at a loss when it came to ways to keep their quaint community rooted in its traditional values.
As another party rages on in an abandoned barn in the middle of one of Kettle Springs massive corn fields, revelry turns to chaos. As an unknown assailant enters the fray dressed as Frendo the Clown, the towns lovable mascot, bodies begin piling up as the teenagers of Kettle Springs learn that they are being stalked through the cornfields and, for many, this party will be their last.
I loved the overall premise of this book. I won’t give too much away because I don’t want to spoil any of the plot twists, but I thought that the dynamic between the victims and the culprits was interesting, and I thought that the culprits went to incredible lengths to justify and execute their desires. At first, I thought the characters were a little shallow, but as the story developed the characters turned out to be more complex than I had originally thought.
One of the things that I didn’t care for was the ebb and flow of detailed imagery. I understand that if you gave every scene a high-level in-depth sensory detailing then a book would easily double in length, but there were some scenes as the book approached the climax that I wish Cesare had spent more time with, really letting the reader visualize and appreciate the masterful chaos that was unfolding on the page. However, with that being said, there were plenty of scenes where I felt like the amount of detail was spot on. This was certainly a book that I had no problem visualizing in my mind as I read.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the horror genre or a fan of classic slasher movies. This book gave nostalgic slasher vibes. I thought that it was an excellent thriller that kept me turning pages as countless twists and turns unfolded before me. If you are looking for a fun read with screams and scares–alongside some humor and heart–then I wouldn’t hesitate to get your hands on Adam Cesare’s “Clown in a Cornfield.”