The Corn Witch: Christopher Beck
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I’m going to start off this review with a massive negative here, Mr. Beck.
You completely failed me by not releasing this as a novel.
There, I said it.
This is the second go-around I’ve had with Christopher’s work and this, a folk-horror/witch horror piece was superb. Absolutely a blast.
This should’ve been a novel! God! Ha!
What I liked: Going in, you know exactly what you’re getting from the title along. ‘The Corn Witch’ leaves nothing to ambiguity and Beck makes sure that he doesn’t disappoint us with that. We arrive to find a young family; husband, wife and son, having just moved into their new home near an empty field. Soon, though, the son hears a voice and from there Beck brings the scares and the horror ten-fold.
The characters in this were all great, even the crazy old man who makes an appearance, his back story brief but necessary. The corn witch herself was spot on and the various attacks that we see were fantastic and cinematic in scope and delivery.
The ending was great and definitely left me wanting to know more.
What I didn’t like: OK, maybe my starting with a negative isn’t ideal, but this one is too short! It needs to be a novel. Expand everything, you coward! Ha! Let’s learn more about the witch and more about the place.
I will say this though – the one thing that I did find initially tough to follow was at the start, the corn witch speaks but no quotation marks are used. I found it made it difficult initially to follow whether it was the witch speaking or purely a sentence.
Why you should buy this: I mean, this thing is called ‘The Corn Witch.’ If that alone doesn’t intrigue you, then knowing that Christopher completely delivers a stunning story should push you over the edge. Every aspect of this was fantastic and I loved that we got a defined beginning, middle and ending.
The Corn Witch
The soil was bad.
Most of the crops the settlers planted didn’t take root. Those that did, wilted soon after breaking ground. Still, they tried to get something, anything to grow: turning the soil again and again, sowing seeds, and waiting.
They hoped. They begged. They prayed.
Mae answered their cries of help. She helped to fill the barren fields with tall and healthy stalks of corn that kept the settlers and their families fed and helped them to provide… but not without a cost.
They forgot about her.
The cost proved to be too great. A plan was formed to not only to forget about the field and the corn, but to forget about Mae.
They almost succeeded…
(with a cover by Adrian Baldwin)
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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