Here's a satire about horror for people who don't like horror novels. David Prill mocks society's love for big-name criminals with a story about a small town in Minnesota where an annual visit (and murder) by a serial killer has become a hilarious tourist attraction--complete with floats in a "Parade of Fear," fake blood running in the streets, inflatable weapons hanging from lamp posts, and a contest to choose the new "Scream Queen." Also, it's an effective coming-of-age portrait of a teen named Debbie Sue, who is charmingly distressed about her inability to be frightened.
From Publishers Weekly
Like Gomez and Morticia Addams, the townsfolk of Standard Springs, Minn., pray for bad weather on Parade Day. For 20 years, a serial killer has annually claimed the life of one resident, and the town likes to honor the occasion with a fair. One of the highlights is the crowning of the Scream Queen. Unfortunately, 18-year-old Debbie Morning is just too Pollyanna-ish for the job. Maligned as the "Girl Without Fear," she visits Gussie, a woman reputed to have swung a dead cat at school, and goes on a field trip to the nasty Cities, all in a vain attempt to acquire the requisite fear quotient to power her lungs. In the inverted society of Prill's nearly unclassifiable second novel (following The Unnatural), locals become disappointed when they can't get a murderer or child molester to appear at the festivities. Instead of Miss Congeniality awards, contestants are a hit when they, well, hit one another. Debbie's father, Arvid, spearheads the campaign to capitalize on death, mayhem and fear. A committee meeting quickly reveals that nobody really wants the killer caught because, as the balance sheet clearly shows, he's good for the economy. Most of the time, this is all so amusing that you barely notice the satirical indictment of society's sacrifice of youth on the altar of commerce. Like the preposterous Q&A pageant segment, in which sincere contestants seek logically to link violence and arsenals to peace and freedom, this little diversion is a hoot.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.