"This pitch-perfect horror experience can be enjoyed as pure entertainment for its fun retro slasher style, but teen readers will also fully appreciate the sly underlying social commentary."
Booklist (starred review)
"With this novel, Cesare is going to create a new generation of life-long horror fans."
Clown in a Cornfield delivers everything the title promisesand more. More carnage, more mayhem and a sly social commentary that cuts to the bone. A must-read for horror fans."
This party starts early, and it does not stop until all the bodies have hit the floor.”
"Cesare’s cinematic eye means the set-pieces are loud, brash, and dramatic (it’s no surprise that there’s a film adaptation in the works). Given what we are all experiencing now, there’s something wonderfully pleasing, nostalgic, and even therapeutic spending several hours cheering on Quinn – smart and brave as she takes on [...] killer clowns."
"Tense, modern and gory, Cesare's
Clown in a Cornfield is simultaneously classic and fresh. This is thrilling, old school horror for a new generation."
"There’s a lot to love about Adam Cesare’s new novel,
Clown in a Cornfield. First, the title. Holy crap. Then the front cover. Double holy crap. Also consider it’s already received blurbs from people like Clive Barker, Stephen Graham Jones, and Paul Tremblay? Triple holy crap. People are going to be talking about this novel all year. Get ready for it."
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.
Gr 9 Up—Quinn and her father move from Philadelphia to the heartland following the overdose death of her mother. Her dad has taken over the practice of the recently retired town physician—office and turnkey home included. Quinn quickly finds herself aligned with the town mischief-makers. Following an explosive Founder's Day parade—replete with denizens in Frendo the Clown costumes and pranks gone horribly awry—the town teenagers head to a cornfield to celebrate in their own way. The party begins normally enough with loud music, cheap beer, and barn dancing, but it quickly escalates as Quinn and her new friends soon discover they are not the only ones who are walking the rows at night. Suddenly, there's a clown in the cornfield and this Frendo definitely isn't there to make friends. But just as they defeat this clown, dozens of heavily armed Frendos come out of the corn taking deathly aim. Cesare brings the slasher film to the page. Once the clowns make their appearance the book kicks into high-gore gear. Fans of the genre will not be disappointed—there's no shortage of the usual tropes. Not much in the way of character development, but readers probably aren't coming to this one looking for much other than the chills and thrills in a quick read. Quinn's ethnicity isn't stated, and partygoers are a mix of races and sexual orientations. VERDICT If blood and guts and teens taking on a murderous clown posse are in your readers' wheelhouse, harvest this one for your collection. Otherwise leave it on the stalk.—Elaine Baran Black, Georgia P.L. Svc., Atlanta
A group of teens find themselves under siege by killer clowns in a tiny Midwestern town.
Moving from Philadelphia to tiny Kettle Springs, Missouri, wasn’t high school senior Quinn Maybrook’s idea of a fresh start after her mother’s death. After the town’s only doctor abruptly quit, Quinn’s ER doctor father, Glenn, took over his practice, a deal that included the deed to his rickety old house right next to a cornfield and the shuttered Baypen corn syrup factory, complete with a creepy mural of Frendo the clown, who also serves as the town mascot. Quinn notes the town’s dated feel and the palpable tension between teens and adults, which is especially stark at Kettle Springs High. Quinn meets cool kids Cole Hill, whose father owns Baypen, and Janet Murray, who loves to stir things up. When Quinn joins them at a party in a remote cornfield, the fun turns to terror: A murderous army of Frendos armed with crossbows crashes the party. Cesare’s twisty prose and believable, easy-to-root-for characters makes this blood-drenched tale of extreme societal unrest disturbingly plausible. Dark humor peppers this clever homage to retro-horror classics, and Cesare barely lets up on the gas once the bloodletting begins. Most main characters, except Janet, who is described as generically Asian, seem to be white.
A pulse-pounding thrill ride for retro-horror fans who are not faint of heart (or stomach).