Quinn and her father just moved to Kettle Springs from Philadelphia after her mother’s death, wanting to make a fresh start. Quinn soon finds herself in the middle of the town’s war between the adults and teenagers, with the adults blaming the kids for everything that has gone wrong. While getting to know her new peers, a masked intruder shows up, ready to get revenge on the high schoolers.
Why this book?: I’m not good with slasher horror movies, but I wanted a scary book and a slasher horror BOOK sounded like exactly what I needed.
CONTENT WARNING for the review: discussed/mentioned gore and violence.
I was expecting a lot of things when I picked up Clown in a Cornfield, but to be honest, I was not expecting what I was given. When you pick up a book about homicidal clowns, you’re of course expecting to get homicidal clowns, right? And not to confuse anyone, but you do get homicidal clowns in this book–you get more then a few. What I wasn’t expecting was the phenomenal, expertly developed mystery that brought the clowns and their motive into the story, and how well Cesare went about bringing the hilariously stereotypical horror scenes to fruition.
One of the things that bothers me about a lot of horror stories is that there is often an easy solution to the issue at hand or that there isn’t really a reason as to why there’s a homicidal maniac. I’m not saying that for every real life crime like this, there is going to be a reason, but if you’re going to create a story around an event like this, you’re going to want to follow the general rule of thumb when it comes to crafting a story–conflict and resolution. Something like that can be easy to forget when you’re just making a cliche slasher book, where the primary entertainment value is in the various ways people are brutally killed. Cesare took an issue that many small towns can relate to and developed a (hilariously over-exaggerated?) horror plot out of it. And damn, was it hilarious to read. And he did it so well. Not only did he develop both sides very well, but even though I kept thinking how overly-exaggerated this was, I couldn’t help but think that it wasn’t, really. It was still believable, which made the story that much more horrifying.
Clown in a Cornfield starts off fairly slowly, to be frank, and I was a couple pages away from DNF-ing this masterpiece before I decided to give it one more chapter. And I’m glad I did, because once the party started, it really didn’t slow down until I turned the final page. Cesare kept the characters going, let the moments come in waves, making you think it was over before it picked up again and shocked you with even more. I just couldn’t stop reading. The slow start and awkward build up to the start of the chaos was the main aspect of the story that kept me from enjoying this book completely, but I can say without a doubt that the second half of this book is utterly fantastic and does not slow down.
Picture me surprised when, with the epilogue being played in my headphones, you suddenly learn that there is a BIG OPENING for a sequel, and checking Goodreads shows that there will be one. I feel like the sequel will be fairly different from this one, mostly focused on the family aspect that was hinted at in the very end. But I am still interested to see how Cesare will bring the second one about while still keeping it to theme. The characters will be the biggest drawing factor, because they were all so well developed and entertaining. I just wish some of them were built up more, such as the history between … well I’ll just say the endgame couple. We got to know a little history, but the ending with them was a twist that I wasn’t expecting (but LOVED).
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
This is a hilariously over-exaggerated (or is it?) slasher horror book that dives into all the tropes you can think of. Killer clowns? Check. Isolated cornfields? Check. CHAINSAWS? Check! I am so glad that I decided to continue reading this book, that I decided “one more chapter” and got to read this. It’s honestly a five star read without the first 30-40% nearly putting me to sleep.
Would I Recommend?
Yes, absolutely, but ONLY if you’re looking for slasher horror and are looking for that kind of gore. If you’re not comfortable with gore and violence and various other horror tropes, I would stay away from this one. Another thing to be aware of is there is a scene in which they are setting up a murder to look like a suicide by hanging, so read with caution.
Published: August 25th, 2020
Page Count: 346
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Quinn Maybrook just wants to make it until graduation. She might not make it to morning.
Quinn and her father moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs to find a fresh start. But ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.
Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.