Clown in a Cornfield

HarperTeen. Aug. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780062854599. $17.99. HORROR
Quinn and her father leave behind bad memories in Philadelphia to start anew in Kettle Springs, MO, where the town mascot is a creepy clown logo from a long-shuttered factory. There is a strange tension between the teens and the adults of Kettle Springs, and the conflict between the old and new ways is reaching a breaking point. A homicidal maniac, dressed as Frendo the Clown, uses a community celebration as cover to end this conflict by taking out the “troublesome teens,” with their cell phone videos and disrespectful attitudes, one youngster at a time. Cesare’s (Mercy House) latest is a slasher story filled with compelling characters—including those readers will root for and those they cannot wait to see meet a bloody demise. The immersive atmosphere, nail-biting action sequences, and satisfying social commentary results in a thoughtful, campy, and just-plain-fun read for horror fans, especially those who crave a retro feel but still want a story set firmly in the present.
VERDICT While this title is marketed to teens, adult readers familiar with the classic horror slasher movies of the 1980s and 1990s should find it appeals. For more modern genre gems, see Stephen Graham Jones’s The Last Final Girl or Gretchen McNeil’s Ten.
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