Scarecrows are pretty creepy. Something about them, the fact that they’re almost human but not quite, makes them incredibly eerie. I loved the episode of Supernatural with the murderous scarecrow, and the low budget 80’s horror movie, Scarecrows, always creeped me out as a kid. So when Scott Donnelly asked me to review his upcoming YA horror novel, Killer Scarecrow, I was intrigued.
The book starts out in tried and true horror fashion with a deadly accident taking place. Cash and his friend, Benny, are setting up a creepy scarecrow in front of a massive tree in Benny’s yard as a Halloween decoration. A trio of local bullies come by and begin harassing the friends. When things get physical, a tree branch breaks off, landing on Benny’s head and killing him instantly.
A year later, Cash is still struggling to move on after his friend’s death when gets a Facebook request from someone claiming to be Benny. The three bullies get it too. Meanwhile strange things keep happening in Benny’s front yard where the creepy scarecrow still stands – Benny’s heartbroken father refusing to take it down. It’s not long before the creepy scarecrow starts doing what creepy scarecrows do best…killing.
Killer Scarecrow is a pretty entertaining book. It’s pretty by the numbers in terms of plot, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. R.L. Stine is probably the most famous YA horror author out there, and his books tend to be by the numbers as well; it’s comforting in the way many classic slasher films and their multitude of sequels are comforting. You know what you’re going to get, but it’s still fun getting there.
My only complaints about the book come down to two things. There are some typos and abrupt switches in point of view that are a bit jarring, but I imagine those will be fixed in the final copy. The other comes down to characterization. Cash’s burgeoning relationship with his tutor, Paisley, feels a little forced. Some of their interactions just didn’t register as realistic, and I think that’s because Paisley herself didn’t feel completely well rounded as a character.
Other than those small complaints, this was an enjoyable, fast paced read that I recommend to Stine fans and those, like me, who find scarecrows to be deliciously creepy.
Thank you to Scott Donnelly for sending me a free e-book in exchange for a honest review.