I’m a little late to the party on this one, I’m afraid. I really enjoyed it nonetheless. Adam Cesare’s debut novel is a contemporary slasher, tossed with coulrophobia and dashed with teenage anguish. The story has us peering through the eyes of newcomer, Quinn, who is trying to leave the drug-related death of her mother behind in the city as she embraces the rustic, down-to-earth existence that is living in Kettle Springs. Almost immediately, she’s thrown into the company of local bad boy and rich kid, Cole, and his friends, who have a penchant for misdeeds, pranks, and sticking it to their elders. They soon find that someone is no longer going to take their adolescent high jinxes in stride anymore and that a lesson must be taught to the younger generation; one that they’ll never forget.
I was reminded fondly of Wes Craven’s Scream series while reading. This was definitely a page turner and I blazed through the majority of it in one afternoon. Cesare does a brilliant job encapsulating Gen Z kids, their reliance on cell phones, trending, followers, and social media all while being subject to a small town and it’s conservative way of life. While I wouldn’t necessarily say that I identified with any of the characters, I did particularly enjoy Janet as a character, mainly because I thought she was one of the best ones fleshed out and wasn’t your typical Queen Bee popular girl.
I will admit though: it’s not hard to guess what the twist is in Clown in a Cornfield. I made a prediction about 1/2 way through about who I thought was going to be behind everything, who a possible traitor was, and what twists I figured were in store. I was right for the most part. That could just be my own personal expectance of an ending like Scream, where I had no idea who the killer/killers were going to be in each film. Clown in a Cornfield doesn’t hide that fact from the reader, in fact it showcases it pretty openly only a couple chapters after the killing begins. It even alludes to it pretty strongly in the first chapter where a murder happens. That being said, it was still a very fun ride to get to the end to see who survives and who doesn’t.
There is an ending that leaves room for a possible sequel should Cesare ever decide to write one, though I think it’s probably better left the way it ends here.
Since I’d just finished a book fraught with teenage murder, I decided to read Matthew Lyons debut novel, The Night Will Find Us. I finished it in a matter of hours. I’ll have a review for that up next week!
Until next time,