Yet another misleading cover. This book would have doubled in awesomeness if Santa DID kill.
Sure, she promised to be nicer after last year's horrors. But a rich, spoiled gorgeous girl like Reva Dalby always thinks she can have anything--or anyone--she wants, and never, never pay. But now it's payback time. Someone is out to kidnap Reva. This year, Santa is bringing Reva a little holiday fear. And just around the corner is the biggest, most gruesome Christmas gift of all--murder. And it's all hers!
Despite having many of the same elements as the first book (scheming teens, creepy mannequins, bitchy Reva) this book doesn't suck as hard as the first one. In fact, it hardly sucks at all! At least it seemed that way while I was reading it. All the events take place a year after the events of the first book...
On the first page, we're introduced to Paul Nichols and Diane Morris. They're a young couple with a lot of stress. Paul, who Diane calls 'Pres' because he looks like Elvis Presley (he's referred to as 'Pres' for the rest of the book), is an unemployed high school dropout. He and Diane live together in a rat-trap apartment. Diane is a senior in high school who also has no job.
As Pres is driving home late one night, he starts thinking about how shitty his life has become. He mulls over the fact that he got fired from Dalby's Department Store not long ago for stealing on the job. When he gets home, he and Diane discuss what they're going to do for money. Rob a bank? Hold up the Pick & Pay grocery? No, they're gonna rob the Dalby's giant house. But then Pres changes his mind and decides he wants to do something even dumber: kidnap Reva Dalby and hold her for ransom. Seriously? No, seriously? Diane is enthusiastic about it because it'll be like the movies! This chick has thing about criminals and even has fantasies about she and Pres being on the run like some modern day Bonnie and Clyde. I'm not sure if she knows how most criminals end up...
The next chapter opens with Reva behind the perfume counter at Dalby's being her usual bitchy self. She's more crabby than usual because her little bro, Michael, got to go to St. Croix with a family they know and Reva wasn't invited. Wonder why? Instead, she's stuck working over the break. In this chapter alone, Reva is bitchier than she was throughout the entirety of the first book. A man who is dressed kind of shabbily comes up to the counter and asks for some assistance in choosing a perfume for his wife. Reva tells him she's on break. Before walking away, she tells him he'd have better luck in the bargain basement. She laughs as he storms off, but the "joke" is on her--Arlene Smith, her supervisor, is standing right behind her. She tells Reva that she was incredibly rude and her father will be notified about this. Reva doesn't care because her dad is pretty much her slave. Arlene walks away and Reva watches a plump woman trying to squeeze between aisles. "How about eating a salad once in a while?" Fortunately, this bout of bitchdom is interrupted by Kyle Storer, a new employee who is not mentioned again. Kyle saunters up to Reva decked out in his chinos, black boots, blue & white checked Western style shirt, and blue string tie. As Zoolander once said, he thinks he's too cool for school. But he isn't and Reva proves it by asking "What are you supposed to be?" and "accidentally" spilling water on the front of his pants. Reva-2 Kyle-0.
After Kyle is shamed into walking away, another new employee, Francine, comes in. She works the perfume counter, too, and apologizes for being late. Reva says she's taking a break (thought you already had one?) and leaves Francine to deal with the customers that are piling up. As Reva is walking away, she thinks about last Christmas and how she vowed to be a nicer person. Looks like that's working real well. Reva thinks she would act a lot nicer if she were lying on a beach somewhere. Kindness doesn't come from a beach. Mother Teresa never sunned herself in a bikini and look how she turned out.
Reva goes to the stationery department to chat with her dear old cousin, Pam (who I'm sure you remember). Pam is chatting up a very good looking guy named Victor Dias. Reva is instantly jealous and plants herself directly between the two. Pam introduces her to Victor rather than slicing her with a letter opener like I would have been tempted to do. Victor is obviously into Pam and doesn't pay a ton of attention to Reva. He heads back to the stockroom and Pam confesses that she thinks he's "the One". You've known him for two weeks, lady! Reva ignores her, showing off her nails instead. They're painted purple with a black dot in the center (someone mentioned this in the comments on the first book. BurtonFanatic maybe?) and Reva says it'll drive Arlene Smith crazy. Why? It isn't really that daring or anything. Reva asks Pam what she thinks of them and Pam says "Here's what I think of your nails!" as she plunges a letter opener into Reva's chest! Oh wait. It's just a gag gift and retracts as soon as it hits something. Thanks for getting my hopes up for nothing, Pam.
After work, Reva makes her way to her father's office on the sixth floor. Mr. Dalby mentions that Arlene spoke to him about Reva's rude behavior and he hopes that she'll change. Reva just tells him she doesn't wanna work at the store. He tells her if she makes it until Christmas, he'll take her "somewhere warm" (hell?) in February. Reva is all smiles after that. Mr. Dalby, you DO understand that you're nothing more than a puppet, right? Reva leaves the office and walks toward the employee elevators. Her father practically tackles her and tells her the elevators are messed up and she can't use them. Oh good, thanks. She makes her way out and when she gets to the employee parking lot, she starts running because she thinks someone is chasing her. She gets to her car and realizes that she heard two other employees going to their cars; no-one was following her at all. Lay off the shrooms, woman. They're known to make a person paranoid. As Reva drives home in her red Miata, she thinks someone in a Plymouth is following her and they actually are...
It was Pres, as we find out in the next chapter. He and Diane are eating burgers and fries at Freddy's, a coffee shop in town. A coffee shop that serves burgers and fries? Progressive, I guess. Pres tells Diane that he's figured out the Dalbys' schedule and he knows the perfect time to kidnap Reva: early in the morning after her father has left for work and she's still in bed. The only obstacle is King, the guard dog, but Pres is confident he can outsmart the dog. They decide to go through with the plan the next day.
Scene: late at night; River Ridge, the popular Shadyside makeout point. The players: Victor, Reva, and their hormones. Yes, Reva is scamming on Pam's man. Victor is uncomfortable and tells Reva they shouldn't be doing this. But of course he goes ahead anyway...sloppy makeouts, if you know what I'm saying. Reva thinks to herself "Victor is too good looking for a loser like Pam." Ouch. Poor Pam.
The next morning, Pres and Diane are staking out Reva's house from their junky little car. They see Mr. Dalby pull out of the driveway and Pres prepares to make his move. Diane keeps saying "This is just like the movies!" Even in movies, the criminals don't always get off scot-free! Diane waits in the car and Pres runs toward the house. He encounters the giant dog and throws some bacon down in an effort to distract the thing, but it attacks anyway. Pres pulls out the chloroform soaked rag that he planned to use on Reva and clamps it over the dog's mouth and nose. It falls limp to the ground and Pres continues on his merry way. He uses the pistol he brought to break the windowpane on the kitchen door. He reaches in, unlocks the door, and quietly enters the house. I don't know why he bothers being quiet since the shattering glass had to be fairly loud. He creeps upstairs, stopping briefly to sniff around Mr. Dalby's room (silk sheets, big screen TV, huge bookshelf) and then making his way to Reva's. He opens her door and says "Good morning!" Idiot. The bed is empty. As Pres is flipping out, Diane is also flipping out: she hears police sirens getting closer and closer. She realizes that Pres must have tripped a burglar alarm that alerted the cops. Inside, Pres also hears the sirens and realizes the same thing Diane did. These two couldn't possibly have believed that rich people like the Dalbys would only have a guard dog to protect their shit. Pres runs out of the house and dives into the car. Diane doesn't drive away immediately, though. She wants to know where Reva is. Pres screams at her to DRIVE and she finally pulls away.
Reva is at work, annoying Francine. Turns out Reva rode with her dad which is why Pres couldn't find her. God, Reva really hates Francine...making comments on almost every aspect of her appearance. Since I can't resist...
1) "Reva, I want to show you something," Francine said. Why don't you get your nose done, Francine? Reva wondered with a sneer. Then maybe you could talk through your mouth and people could understand you.
2) "I like what you've done with your hair," Reva told Francine. "Oh I didn't have time to wash it," Francine glanced up fretfully. Why bother? Reva thought nastily.
3) "Is that a new lipstick you're wearing?" Reva asked her. "I'm not wearing any lipstick," Francine replied. So that's why you looked like you died 3 weeks ago, Reva thought.
Damn. And she doesn't even have the guts to say it to Fran's face. She just messes with her and pretends to like her...come to think of it, that's pretty much what she does to everyone. Fran goes to help a customer (she's doing her JOB, Reva. Take note.) and Reva stands there thinking about Victor. The last guy she mooned over (Mitch Castelona) ended up with a knife shoved in his back so if she really cares about Vic, she'll back up. A blond woman who comes in often but never buys anything comes over to Reva. Reva asks if her coat is real chipmunk or imitation, but the woman thankfully doesn't hear her. She asks Reva for something different "a little sweet, not so tart." Reva takes some spray deodorant from a gift case and sprays it on the woman's wrist. The woman asks what it is and Reva says "Arrid Extra Dry". Zing. Once again, the woman doesn't hear and Reva tells her it's actually called "Arid Nights" The woman leaves and Reva walks over to the stationery department to visit (i.e. harrass) Pam. Pam tells her that she's going out with Victor later and Reva is amused because she knows she'll find a way to get Victor to herself.
That night, Pres and Diane (everytime I write their names like that, I think of that song by John Mellancamp..."something something about Jack and Diane..." Ok, I'm done.) take a drive to Reva's house. Pres the Mighty Stalker knows that Reva usually gets home before her father, a prime time for greedy kidnappers to make their move. Unfortunately, the Dalby home is crawling with cops when they arrive. Why? I have no clue. It wasn't like someone was murdered. Diane starts to drive away, but an officer stops them. Uh-oh. "You've got a headlight out." You could have told me that five seconds ago BEFORE I pissed my pants, officer. They drive off, pulling into McDonald's for some cheeseburgers and criminal conversation. Pres has a new plan: "We'll take Reva from the department store." Hello, sir. My name is LOGIC. Let's be friends and I just might save your ass. Seriously, though, there are security guards everywhere! How can he think this will work? Pres says they'll create a distraction and when everyone is busy with that, they'll grab Reva. Diane tells him they'll need Pres's brother, Danny, to drive the car so Diane can create the distraction and Pres can nab Reva. They decide to carry out the plan the next morning.
Reva arrives 25 minutes late to work the next morning and promptly makes a mess at the perfume counter with her muffin and coffee. Francine reprimands Reva and Reva just rolls her eyes. *SMACK* Reva adjusts her giant, floppy blue hat. The hat was the reason she was late in the first place--she wanted it to look perfect because she might spot the almighty Victor. Enter Pres and Diane. They're walking close to the perfume counter when Diane drops to the floor, pretending to look for a contact lense (THIS is their distraction?) and Pres asks Reva if she'll help Diane because he isn't wearing his glasses and can't see to help her out. They obviously didn't think this through because...well, it's just lame. Pres grabs Reva's arm and tries to drag her away from the counter, but Arlene shows up and Pres and Diane take off.
In the car, Danny tells Pres that they should just kill Reva. Unfortunately, if they just kill her, none of them will get money. A criminal record, yes. But no cash. They all argue as Danny drives and Danny almost crashes into a truck parked on the side of the road. Pres tells him to watch the road and shut his face. Danny responds by running a red light. Good one, slick.
Later that night, Pam calls Reva. She tells her that Victor broke their date. Reva tells Pam that you gotta watch out for the good looking ones and did Pam see the way that Vic was checking her (Reva) out when they first met. Reva revels in upsetting Pam...but Pam gets suspicious when Reva mentions that Vic only broke two dates. According to Pam, Reva would have no way of knowing that...unless SHE was the one who was with him. Reva hangs up then and skips back to the living room where she curls up in front of the fire with Victor for some tonsil hockey.
At the same time, Diane is a few miles away, talking on the phone to Danny. She tells him that Pres got arrested for fighting. But don't worry--Diane and Danny are going by themselves to fetch Reva. Danny will catch Reva in the stockroom and Diane will drive the getaway car. I have to give them props for being determined. Diane drives to Dalby's Department Store to wait for Danny who should have already positioned himself in the stockroom to wait for Reva. Diane, for once, is incredibly nervous and keeps thinking about all the ways this could go wrong. Finally someone is considering the possible consequences of this plan! Diane pulls into the loading lot behind the store where she'll wait for Danny. As she's sitting there revving the engine, she glances at the rearview mirror and spots a cop walking quickly toward her car. The universe does not want this plan to go off smoothly...or at all.
Inside the store, Danny is crouched behind some wooden crates in the stockroom. He's getting very itchy and the reader is informed that this only happens when he's really nervous. Thanks for telling me...I guess? There are no security guards around which I find strange because aren't they usually swarming the place? I guess the universe is cooperating in one respect at least. Danny is starting to get a killer headache. His headaches make him angry and he basically Hulks out when he's angry. Just as he starts praying for Reva to hurry the hell up, someone besides her walks in. This woman starts shouting at someone outside the stockroom and Danny's headache gets a little worse as he silently wishes for the woman to SHUT UP. You wouldn't like him when he's angry, lady. Finally, she leaves and Reva comes in a few seconds later. By now, Danny is about to go completely insane from the pain pounding through his skull. He picks up the heavy wool coat he's going to throw over Reva and quietly creeps out from behind the crates...
Out in the car, Diane is freaking out because she thinks the cop is going to bust her which isn't logical because this guy has no way of knowing what they're doing. The officer taps on the window and asks Diane what she's doing in the loading lot. She doesn't say anything at first. Then she tells him that she's just waiting on someone. The cop tells her that she'll have to park elsewhere. Diane doesn't really want to move because she's afraid Danny won't be able to find her so she asks the officer if she can stay put, her friend won't be much longer. He says "There's no waiting back here. Move it. Now." Asshole.
Inside, Danny is sweating bullets as throws the coat over Reva's head. She struggles of course, but Danny just keeps punching her in the back everytime she tries to squirm away from him. He tells her to stop fighting him, but that only makes her fight MORE. He finally hits her in the head, knocking her unconscious and drags her limp body out of the room. I somehow get the feeling that he's done this before.
Outside, Diane is STILL trying to convince the officer to allow her to stay put. She tells him "My...uh...father is very sick. He works here in the stockroom and I have to take him to the hospital. That's why I stopped back here. He'll be out in one second. If you only let me-" He cuts her off, saying "You can wait over there, young lady. I'm getting a little tired of repeating myself. Now, put the car in gear and pull over to the other lot. Don't make me write out a ticket." The message finally gets through Diane's thick skull and she starts to pull away. The sound of crunching metal and shattering glass makes her put on the brakes thinking she's hit something. I think you would know very well if you had hit something, Diane. The sound is coming from across the parking lot. The officer runs off to see what the uproar is and Danny dives in the car at that precise moment, screaming "GO GO GO!" Diane is so slow on the uptake. She just sits there and stares in shock at Reva. She tells Danny that she can't believe he finally got her. Danny tells her to shut up and GO! As she drives away, Diane can't help but say "It's just like in the movies!" *sigh*
Back at Pres and Diane's apartment, Danny and Diane are sitting in the kitchen talking about what they've done. They've tied Reva to a chair and blindfolded and gagged her. They laugh together about the fact that she won't eat and how much of a pain she has been. I never thought I would feel sorry for Reva, but I do. A tiny bit. Diane prepares to leave and find a payphone to call Mr. Dalby and start making negotiations. She goes to the Division Street Mall and finds a booth in the Doughnut Hole restaurant. She tells Mr. Dalby that they have his daughter, she's safe, and they'll be needing a million dollars if he ever wants to see her again. What Mr. Dalby says is fairly shocking: "My daughter, Reva, is sitting right here with me." Say what? Diane is flustered, saying "Mr. Dalby, don't play games with us!" Dalby says "Let that girl go! That girl is not my daughter! You will not get a penny from me. You have kidnapped the wrong girl!" All that work and for what? A girl who isn't rich!
I think you may have figured out who the chick is: Pam. We get Pam's POV for a moment. She's pretty ticked off because she KNOWS these people wanted Reva instead of her. "And now I have to DIE because of Reva?" She wasn't fond of Reva before, but this is just the icing on the shitcake. Danny and Diane are arguing in the next room. Danny is extremely pissed at Diane. He doesn't understand how she couldn't have known that the girl wasn't Reva; after all, Diane saw Reva that day at the store when she had her "contact troubles". Diane defends herself by saying that Reva had that giant blue hat on (wonder if Victor liked it?) and Diane couldn't see her hair nor very much of her face. Plus, Diane was crawling around on the floor pretending to look for the non-existant contact lense; she didn't see Reva for very long. Danny finally accepts this and cheers himself by saying that maybe they got a rich girl after all! Nah. Pam tells them her name and that she's Reva's poor, long-suffering cousin. Danny is pissed off and wants to kill Pam. Two words, Danny: anger management.
Reva is chilling out at home, talking with Victor on the phone. Vic says he feels incredibly guilty because he was with Reva when Pam was kidnapped. Maybe he could have saved her! I doubt it, my friend. Reva doesn't give a damn about Pam, saying "I could have been kidnapped. Can you imagine? It was supposed to be me! If I hadn't convinced Pam to take my shift in the stockroom, it would have been me! What a thought." Yeah, what a thought. I want to warm up my strong hand and bitch slap her across the face until she realizes what a terrible human being she actually is. Reva tells Victor that her father isn't going to pay the kidnappers anything because he believes it only encourages other kidnappers. Her father is a brainless meat puppet so I'm not really surprised. The rest of the conversation consists of Reva whining about how scared she is, re-capping some stupid dream she had, and finally growing bored with Victor for the time being and hanging up. She hears a car door slam and goes to investigate. She finds Pam crumpled at the foot of the driveway. In a rare act of kindness, Reva helps Pam into the house and pours her a glass of water. Reva says she'll call the doctor, Pam's parents, the cops, and the freaking FBI. Pam tells Reva about how scared she was and such. She says the kidnappers mentioned that they had a friend in Canada and were headed there to lay low for a while. Reva is relieved. But her relief turns to fear when she hears footsteps in the hall. Phew--it's just Victor. Pam doesn't even think to question why Victor is at Reva's house. She just runs directly into his open, muscular arms. Barf.
On Saturday, Reva receives a postcard from her little bro, Michael. In case you're wondering: "We took a boat and went snorkeling at Buck Island. Then Josh and I rode the waves into the beach for about two hours! My bathing suit got filled with sand. I miss you. NOT!" Oh to be 7 years old again! Reva is jealous because he's having fun and she isn't. Could have fooled me, Reva. You seem to really enjoy messing up Pam's life. Anyway, that night, Reva drives to the mall to shop for a few Christmas gifts. She is such a cheapskate! She picks things out for others that are cheap and tacky: an ugly tie for her dad and some glass earrings for Pam. While she's shopping, she notices a man in a trench coat and dark sunglasses watching her. She doesn't really pay much attention to him at first. But she does when he starts following her throughout the entire mall. Nothing comes of this...until later at least.
Reva is at work, NOT WORKING as usual. A woman has been trying to get her attention for five minutes, but Reva just ignores her. Of course. Reva looks at the woman and thinks "Look at the nose on this woman. You could hang a coat on it. Haven't you ever heard of plastic surgery, lady?" The woman asks Reva if she could recommened a fragrance because her husband is getting tired of her old one. Reva just laughs and thinks to herself "Then maybe you should take a bath." ARGH! SHUT UP! Why don't you point the finger at yourself once in a while, you piece of shit?! I'm sorry, people, but this chick incites murderous rage within me. Reva sprays some perfume on the woman's wrist and then turns on her heel and leaves the woman just standing there. She goes to talk to Pam. Pam asks Reva if she wants to come over to her house to decorate the Christmas tree and have eggnog and do other Christmas related things that should be reserved only for people you actually care about and NOT people like Reva. Pam is such a masochist. Reva agrees and Pam is excited for some reason.
That night, Reva drives over to Fear Street and pulls up to Pam's house. As Reva is getting a few crappy gifts out of the car, Pam runs outside to greet her. As Reva is making her way up the sidewalk, someone darts out of the shadows and grabs Reva, throwing a heavy blanket over her head. Someone also grabs Pam. The girls are shoved into a car and told not to say a word. Of course Reva doesn't shut her big mouth and keeps telling them that they have to let them go. As they're driving along, Diane, Pres, and Danny are so happy that they'll finally be getting their money. These three are idiots to think they can STILL pull this off! They've already attempted this crap twice and nothing has happened.
They arrive at Dalby's Department Store a few minutes later. They're going to take the girls up to the fifth floor. Reva has figured out where they are so Danny takes their blindfolds off. Pam and Reva are shoved into a small storage closet and tied to two folding chairs. Reva won't stop talking and Danny is growing more pissed off so he simply grabs her arm and BREAKS IT. Reva feels blinding pain, but doesn't cry like a baby as I probably would have done. She does black out, though. When she regains consciousness, she hears Danny apologizing to PRES for breaking her arm. Dirtbag. Anyway, the three criminals discuss leaving the room to find a phone so they can begin harrassing Mr. Dalby for dough. Danny wants to kill the girls first, but Pres and Diane keep reminding him about the MONEY. They decide that Pres and Danny will watch the girls while Diane finds a phone. Diane is about to leave, but Pam calls out to her: "Wait a minute, Diane. Untie me. You promised! You promised if I got you Reva, you'd let me go!" So THAT'S why Pam invited Reva over.
Diane leaves anyway and Reva tears Pam a new one for setting her up. The situation isn't much better for Pam, though, because the teenage delinquents screwed her over, too! They argue for a few minutes. Then Pam starts screaming at Danny and Pres to let her go. She must want a broken arm also. Danny steps over and slaps Pam across the face as hard as he can, snapping her head back. Now give one to Reva! It's only fair! Diane enters the room a few minutes later, saying that they're definitely gonna be rich. They finally made progress. La-di-da. They step outside to discuss what Mr. Dalby said. Pam and Reva apologize to one another, knowing that they'll have to work together to get out of this mess. The cords that were used to tie Pam's hands together are loose and she keeps working at them until she's free. She unties Reva and they make a plan to hide behind the door. When someone opens it, they can surprise them and hopefully get away. Just as they're preparing to hide, Pres opens the door and says "I'll get them." Thankfully, Diane says something and Pres shuts the door. A few minutes later, he comes back. He's shocked when he sees the empty chairs and the girls use his temporary surprise to their advantage, running past him.
Pam and Reva decide to split up. Reva hides behind some creepy mannequins. Pam finds her and Reva tells her there isn't a security guard anywhere near (duh) and they've got to get out quick. Pres spots them then and the chase begins again. Pam and Reva hide behind a pillar next to the employee elevators. Reva tells Pam the elevators are messed and they can't use them. Pres and Diane come running up then. They go into one of the elevators and it actually works. Reva is shocked because she had hoped that Pres and Diane would fall to their deaths. As soon as Pres and Diane are gone, Reva and Pam go over to the elevators with the idea to ride them down and get the hell out of dodge. But before they can get in, the man in the trench coat that was following Reva at the mall steps out. He's holding a pistol and Reva assumes he's working with Diane, Pres, and Danny. But he pushes past the girls and runs toward Pres and Diane. How are they already back up there? I thought they rode the elevator down? Oh well. That fact doesn't bother me. What DOES bother me is the fact that the man says he's from the FBI. Are you kidding me? I always thought the FBI dealt with REAL crimes against humanity. Not a couple of idiotic teenagers who think they're in the movies.
Pam and Reva are relieved because they think this whole ordeal is over. Not quite yet. Danny creeps up behind them holding a pistol and tells them to get moving. He pushes them towards the elevator. Pam grabs for his pistol and Danny wrestles her to the ground. Pam throws the pistol, but Danny doesn't bother going after it. He just says "Keep it! I'm out of here!" If you remember, there are TWO employee elevators. Danny dives into the one that is still messed up. "Reva shut her eyes tight. She heard Danny scream all the way down. The scream ended four floors below in a sickening SPLAT." Damn. The elevator was stuck on the first floor even though the dial thingy said it was on the fifth floor.
The FBI agents (when did more than one show up?) come walking towards the girls with Diane and Pres in handcuffs. An agent drives the girls to the hospital. The agent explains that when the kidnappers called Mr. Dalby for the ransom money, the store's number came up on the Dalby's "number revealer" (or what we modern humanoids refer to as a "caller ID") That's how the agents knew where to look. When they arrive at the hospital, Mr. Dalby and Pam's parents are waiting and it's tears all around. Even Victor shows up! Reva thinks he came for her, but he runs to Pam. Haha. When they get inside the hospital, "Silent Night" is playing on a speaker above the receptionist's desk. The last line of the book? "Silent Night. Of course."