The Girl In The Corn: Jason Offutt
Reviewed By Steve Stred
First a quick apology to the author and publisher. I got my release date mixed up on this one, thinking it was the end of January. My sincere apologies, I would’ve had it read prior to the release date.
This book, initially, didn’t seem like my cup of tea, to be honest. I saw the cover online and was feeling meh about the title and synopsis. It wasn’t until I saw fellow reviewer (and friend) Tony Jones’ review on HorrorDNA that I really questioned my feelings! When Tony said that the only book recently that he could think to compare it to was Shaun Hamill’s ‘A Cosmology of Monsters’ I was hooked.
And let me tell you, not only is that an apt comparison – I’m 100% delighted to have pushed any reservations away and taken this for a spin.
What I liked: The story follows Thomas, a young kid living on a farm. Within only a few pages he meets a fairy-like creature in the family cornfield and from there we’re off and running.
It’s hard to really say much more of the following events without running into serious spoilers and even what I’ll call setup-spoilers. What I can say is we get an apocalyptic doom approaching (which wouldn’t be out of place in even a Marvel movie) a well done antagonist and a complicated love interest.
Thomas was an easily likeable character, one you root for but also annoys you slightly, which I found worked really well.
That doom I mentioned? It was great to see how others around our main character saw glimmers and slices of it and how its tendrils really slinked out and grabbed ahold of them.
What I didn’t like: I found a few parts to come off a bit under-whelming and feeling under-described or glossed over. A specific example would be with the character Bobby, when we first meet him. It was completely odd. He goes with his parents to camp, people are having sex in a tent beside them. He meets a kid, the kid touches him inappropriately and suddenly we get massive violence. Then he tells the cops about it when they arrive. I’ve seemingly summarized the events, but truthfully, not much more detail is given and it just seemed a bit deflating.
Why you should buy this: The book’s psychological elements are great and seeing how the story rolls out and this prophetic event grows in volume and nears, you get sucked along and drawn right in. Offutt has done a great job of taking a seemingly basic idea – boy sees fairy in corn – and world builds in a way that most fantasy authors would be jealous of.
At the end of the day, this was a really fun, brutal book, with lots of twists and turns that had me hooked and excited to see what happened.
The Girl In The Corn
Beware of what lurks in the corn.
Fairies don’t exist. At least that’s what Thomas Cavanaugh’s parents say. But the events of that one night, when he follows a fairy into the cornfield on his parents’ farm, prove them wrong. What seems like a destructive explosion was, Thomas knows, an encounter with Dauðr, a force that threatens to destroy the fairy’s world and his sanity.
Years later, after a troubled childhood and a series of dead-end jobs, he is still haunted by what he saw that night. One day he crosses paths with a beautiful young woman and a troubled young man, soon realizing that he first met them as a kid while under psychiatric care after his encounters in the cornfield. Has fate brought them together? Are they meant to join forces to save the fairy’s world and their own? Or is one of them not who they claim to be?
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak fiction.
Steve is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve has appeared alongside some of Horror’s heaviest hitters (Tim Lebbon, Gemma Amor, Adrian J. Walker, Ramsey Campbell) in some fantastic anthologies.
He is an active member of the HWA.
He is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife and son.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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