The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares: Novellas and Stories of Unspeakable Dread

Joyce Carol Oates, read by Adam Verner and Christine Williams. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, nine CDs, 11 hrs., $34.95 ISBN 978-1-61174-601-3

In this chilling audio edition of the latest collection from the prolific Oates, the author offers up a selection of seven dark and psychologically thrilling tales that delve into everything from kidnapping and ritual sacrifice to twins, childhood trauma, and plastic surgery run amok. Of the two narrators, Adam Verner shines the brightest, capturing the tone and rhythm of the author’s prose and demonstrating a keen ability to switch between emotions—something that makes him a perfect reader for these twisting tales. Christine Williams provides workmanlike narration, but her reading lacks the emotional punch and range displayed by Verner, and this makes it feels flat by comparison. A Mysterious Press hardcover. (Nov.)