Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for The Girl in the Corn, a fantasy-horror novel written by J. Offutt.
First thing first, let me thank Lilyan and the publisher, CamCat Books, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
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?
Publication date: 11/01/22
READ MY REVIEW
I had high, high hopes for this book. The blurb was intriguing, the cover promising, and the first chapters were so captivating I was looking forward to seeing how things would pan out.
Then, something happened and left me with more questions than answers.
Let’s try to unravel The Girl in the Corn.
First thing first, I have to say that Offutt’s technical skills are excellent. The prose itself flows well, and there are no mistakes in sight. Same goes with the structure, as it follows the story arc steps to a T.
The issue I have with The Girl in the Corn has to do with the development of the story. For example, the fairy is first established as a villain, then she becomes an ally of sorts later in the game—something I’d cheer on if only she’d been portrayed as an ambiguous character to begin with. Still, I’d let it slide if it wasn’t for other villain moments happening here and there. Thomas, the MC, suffers from a weird characterization, too. There are subplots left hanging, puzzling moments, and loose threads scattered all over, and the flip-flop effect can get quite dizzying.
The antagonist is portrayed as pure evil, which is a good thing given the fantasy setting; the man this unspeakable beast exploits reads unidimensional as well, and that’s a step too far. Two 100% evil characters are too much for a single story.
I have reservations about the horror parts, too. Gore and such may work well on-screen; on printed paper, however, it can give out different, unintended vibes.
2.5 stars on GR.
MEET THE AUTHOR
JASON OFFUTT writes books. He is best known for science fiction, such as his humorous So You Had to Build a Time Machine and his end-of-the-world zombie novel Bad Day for the Apocalypse (a curious work that doesn’t include zombies), his paranormal non-fiction like Chasing American Monsters (that does), and his book of humor How to Kill Monsters Using Common Household Objects. He teaches university journalism, cooks for his family, and wastes much of his writing time trying to keep the cat off his lap. You can find more about Jason at his website,
http://www.jasonoffutt.com. There are no pictures of his cat Gary, and it serves him right.
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