Dan Crocker's latest novel, The Cornstalk Man, is a brilliant new
classic-to-be in the tradition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Kristen
Bakis' Monster Dogs. Crocker, like them, is an author who won't look away
from horror's highbeams.
Crocker's version of the Monster is a psychological surgery: whip-stitched
pieces of the people most intimately real to young Rebecca Thompson; her
family, particularly Momma, vengeful and beloved.
The Cornstalk Man emerges from boogie-man stories by brother Will, a myth
that parallels the dark secrets the children must bear. Yet as the Cornstalk
Man lurks in the corners of their minds, another Monster leers into the
mirror, stands over their beds where, in Crocker's sleight-of-words, "you
can see the zipper on the monster's suit." And, as the saying goes, there's
one in every family.
The layers of relationship that Crocker conjures scintillate, thrill, and
threaten. This is not only a riveting bildungsroman but a map of how to
survive growing up.