cover image Mr. Wicker

Mr. Wicker

Maria Alexander. Raw Dog Screaming, $14.95 trade paper (236p) ISBN 978-1-935738-66-4

Convincing in its haunting whimsy, Alexander’s emotionally complex faerie tale comments on grim reality with chilling metaphors. A suicide attempt leads failed horror novelist Alicia Baum to the Library of Lost Childhood Memories and Mr. Wicker, a sinister man who arouses both her passion and her disgust, before she returns to life. She ends up in the care of Dr. Farron, a gentle psychologist researching the concept of bogeymen. Alicia strives to recover missing childhood memories as increasingly violent accidents befall her friends and family, and she grows more and more convinced that Mr. Wicker is not only real but intimately connected to her past. Alexander (By the Pricking) makes the impossible feel probable, anchoring fantasy in everyday struggles. Alicia’s spitfire defiance and charming vulnerability, and the eventual romance between her and Dr. Farron, inject warmth into chilling encounters between a world that shouldn’t exist and undependable reality. Illness, loss, and heartache color this splendid, bittersweet ode to the ghosts of childhood. (Nov.)