2014 Bram Stoker Award Winner for Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Starred Review, Debut of the Month
“…the fantastic premise of memories so terrible they need to be excised and hidden away makes this a horror novel to anticipate.”
—Library Journal, October 15, 2014
“Convincing in its haunting whimsy, Alexander’s emotionally complex faerie tale comments on grim reality with chilling metaphors. . . 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.”
—Publishers Weekly, September 1, 2014
“This is a valuable novel… Brilliant! Good book.”
— British Fantasy Society, October 15, 2015
“At once mythic and immediate, MR. WICKER by Maria Alexander (pictured) is a vivid synthesis of dark folk tale and modern horror. . .this is a powerful read.”
— Fangoria Magazine, October 27, 2014
“A fast-paced, character-driven story infused with gothic beauty.”
— Dirge Magazine, December 14, 2014
“Suicide, love, lust, lost dreams and twisted purgatories…Maria Alexander’s Mr. Wicker is an original, crafted of startling images and darkly poetic language. Eerily effective.”
—Steven Barnes, author of Lion’s Blood
“Elegant chills, genuine awe, and true tragedy are all ingredients in the spell cast by Maria Alexander’s Mr. Wicker. Anyone who has encountered Maria’s short stories surely expects her first novel to be extraordinary, and she doesn’t disappoint. Mr. Wicker is rich, lovely, and deeply unnerving.”
—Lisa Morton, author of Malediction and Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween
“Mr. Wicker is as deeply disturbing a debut novel as I’ve ever read.”
— Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Code Zero and Fall of Night
What It’s About
Alicia Baum is missing a deadly childhood memory.
Located beyond life, The Library of Lost Childhood Memories holds the answer. The Librarian is Mr. Wicker — a seductive yet sinister creature with an unthinkable past and an agenda just as lethal. After committing suicide, Alicia finds herself before the Librarian, who informs her that her lost memory is not only the reason she took her life, but the cause of every bad thing that has happened to her.
Alicia spurns Mr. Wicker and attempts to enter the hereafter without the Book that would make her spirit whole. But instead of the oblivion she craves, she finds herself in a psychiatric hold at Bayford Hospital, where the staff is more pernicious than its patients.
Child psychiatrist Dr. James Farron is researching an unusual phenomenon: traumatized children whisper to a mysterious figure in their sleep. When they awaken, they forget both the traumatic event and the character that kept them company in their dreams — someone they call “Mr. Wicker.”
During an emergency room shift, Dr. Farron hears an unconscious Alicia talking to Mr. Wicker—the first time he’s heard of an adult speaking to the presence. Drawn to the mystery, and then to each other, they team up to find the memory before it annihilates Alicia for good. To do so they must struggle not only against Mr. Wicker’s passions, but also a powerful attraction that threatens to derail her search, ruin Dr. Farron’s career, and inflame the Librarian’s fury.
After all, Mr. Wicker wants Alicia to himself, and will destroy anyone to get what he wants. Even Alicia herself.