* If you didn't catch the first installment: Fear Park #1 - The First Scream *
Something is very wrong at Fear Park. People keep getting hurt - or killed. Dierdre Bradley knows this is the worst time to fall in love. But she can't help herself. Robin Fear is so intense and mysterious. He always acts as if he has a big secret. He does. Robin wants to destroy Fear Park. And he has a plan - a plan that will cost Dierdre her life!
This book picks up almost immediately where the first one left off. Dierdre and Rob have just attended Paul Malone's funeral and are now staring down at the grave in which he was buried. *sob* Dierdre has obviously moved on incredibly quickly. I guess she's managing her grief by spending every waking moment with her OTHER lover. Some people would call you a horrible wench, Dierdre. And in case you're wondering, yes, I am one of those people. As the two walk away from the grave, Dierdre carries on about how awful this whole situation is and how she'll never be able to enjoy Fear Park again. Who the hell cares about the stupid park?! Your boyfriend was decapitated and all you can talk about is how you'll never be able to ride the roller coaster again? You're hard to like, Dierdre. Rob then brings up a curse that is supposedly on the land that Fear Park was built on. He says he doesn't think the park should reopen. Unfortunately, no-one cares what he thinks. Dierdre informs him that her father, Jason Bradley, is definitely reopening the park which pisses him off. Rob stands there thinking about what he'll do if the park reopens: "I'll do whatever it takes to ruin things for Jason Bradley. To make his life miserable. I'll kill again if I have to. After all, I already killed Paul. And all those kids back in the '30s. Why not someone else?" Such a villain. Something I'm wondering: how does he still look so youthful after all these years? A good skin cream or just some wicked strong black magic? Oh well. Anyway, as Rob (I think I should start calling him Robin) stands there holding Dierdre in his decrepid arms, he thinks "She's so trusting. She has no idea I'm responsible for Paul's hideous death. She thinks I'm her friend. She thinks I'm more than a friend." Is it wrong of me to find this guy extremely likeable? Dierdre rambles on about Paul while Robin rolls his eyes. Suddenly Dierdre cries out: "There he is! It-it's Paul! Here he comes! It's Paul!" Robin looks up and sees someone coming toward them that certainly looks exactly like Paul. They both stare in horror at the figure and then Dierdre bursts out laughing when she realizes that it's just Paul's brother, Jared. Damn. I so wanted a zombie revenge scene.
Turns out Jared is pissed off; he blames Dierdre's dad for Paul's death. Robin is quite pleased with this news because it takes the heat off him. No-one actually suspects him of anything YET, but who cares? Jared tells Dierdre that he's going to have a little chat with her father and then takes off running. Robin assures Dierdre that Jared is all talk and continues to walk with her down the sidewalk. As they pass a parked car, Robin sees something nasty: "That face! That face reflected in the car window! One half of it was his. Robin Fear's pale, young face. Straight brown hair. Intense dark eyes. The other half was his, too. But the sight of it sent a shiver of horror down his spine. Wrinkles like cracked, dried-up gullies twisted through the sagging flesh of his cheek. Deep lines at the corners of his eye and mouth looked as if they'd been gouged with a knife. His cheekbone jutted out from under the skin. His eye was sunk deep behind a ridge of bone. And his skin! The deep bluish-purple of a bruise, his skin sagged and rippled and seemed ready to slide off his skull. Staring into the car window, Robin could almost smell the stench of decay." That's gotta be the best passage I've read in a while. I mean, can you imagine looking into the mirror and seeing THAT? Robin silently freaks out because he's afraid that Dierdre also saw his reflection. But when he glances over at her, she's staring straight ahead, lost in thought. Robin realizes that he has to get the hell away from her before she sees the rotting half of his face. He covers the nasty part and pretends he has a terrible headache and has to get home quick. He races home to ye olde mansion to perform the immortality spell that has kept him young and strong since 1935. He begins chanting in the library and the purple smoke fills the room. As he chants, he spreads some cream from an urn on his face and immediately feels his skin begin to tighten and smooth. So it WAS a skin cream. A nasty smelly one from a damn urn, but a skin cream nonetheless. As he finishes the spell and the purple smoke fades, he hears a shuffling noise at the library door. Uh-oh. He nervously opens the door...it's Meghan Fairwood. What the hell?!? Turns out Meghan was the one person he decided to "bring into immortality." Oh good. I'm just faking happiness--Meghan was annoying as hell. They kiss which must be revolting--corpse breath! They also take a trip down memory lane, remembering the hatchet murders. I know you're dying for some visuals: "And then Richard Bradley spotted Robin. Jealous because Meghan liked Robin, Richard picked a fight. Out of control, Richard swung the hatchet and just missed Robin's head. The glistening silver blade whistled as it swept through the air and sliced into another boy's throat. Richard's next swing finished the job. The boy's head flew off. Blood spurted like a fountain from the boy's ragged neck. His head rolled onto the leaves and wood chips." And we can't possibly forget the classic moment when all the kids become bloodthirsty killers: "The kids shrieked in a murderous frenzy as they whipped their deadly blades at one another. Blood and hunks of flesh flew through the air, spattering the tree stumps, the ground, the faces and arms of everyone in the clearing." Gruesome. I think Stine took a lot of pleasure in writing this...
The next day, Dierdre finds herself at Fear Park. She walks inside her father's trailer and discovers it's empty. She takes a seat and a few minutes later, she hears the door open behind her. She turns thinking it's her father, but it's that cuckoo Jared Malone. *sigh* Thankfully, he just wants to talk. He apologizes for all the things he said the day before and tells Dierdre why he came here today. He wants to take Paul's old job. I need a moment to process this because it makes no fucking sense. Why would he want to work in the exact spot where his brother was brutally murdered? He could take a job at Pete's Pizza or as one of R.L. Stine's numerous ghostwriters. We get inside Jared's head a moment later: "Not that anybody could take Paul's place, he thought to himself. But if I can just get a job here, I'll be on the inside. The perfect place to cause trouble. Major trouble for Jason Bradley." Ah, yes. Should've seen that coming. Jared just wants to screw everyone over. Mr. Bradley comes in a few seconds later and Jared asks about the job. Unfortunately, good old Robin Fear has already snatched that job up. Jared begs to be hired for any position, but Mr. Bradley says every position is filled. Jared loses his cool: "If you're so sorry, how come you replaced Paul so fast, huh? I know why. Because you didn't care about him. All you care about is the lousy park! Don't even bother making any excuses. They'd all be lies!" Oh the pain! Jared storms out like the whiny little piss he is and once outside, throws a rock and cuts a monkey's head open. I'm serious. The rock flew through a cage in the Monkey Preserve and cut a poor monkey's head. May I ask why an amusement park has a Monkey Preserve in the first place? Oh well. Some guy in a uniform comes running toward Jared and he's totally pissed off. Jared apologizes, but the man just says "Tell that to the monkey!" Would that really make a difference? Are these monkeys intelligent enough to understand the English language AND the concept of regret? Why am I even bothering to ask? Jared finally takes off a few minutes later without apologizing to the bleeding monkey.
Robin Fear saw all of that monkey business and catches up to Jared. Robin tells Jared that he knows how to get back at the man in uniform (whose name is Mr. Gunther). Robin points to a cliff and says that it juts out over the lion pasture. You've got to be fucking kidding me, man! A LION PASTURE?! An amusement park that has lions and monkeys? WHY? None of this makes sense! Even more so than usual! But I'll ignore this little transgression for now and move on before that throbbing vein in my forehead explodes. Robin goes on to say that at 9:30 every evening, Mr. Gunther goes up to the cliff and drops meat down to the lions and that would be the perfect time to scare the shit of him: "The four of you (referring to Jared and friends) sneak up on Gunther, surprise him from behind. Get it? You let him think you're going to push him off that cliff straight into the lions' jaws!" Well, Mr. Gunther, it's been real. We hardly knew you. I can't believe Jared is THIS pissed off. After all, HE was the one who conked the monkey! Gunther was only doing his job!
That night, Jared and a few of his friends sneak into the park and hide, waiting for Mr. Gunther to show up. They finally spot him heading up the cliff with two big buckets of meat. The boys head up to taunt him in an effort to scare him. Why couldn't they just slash his tires or something? They back Gunther against the railing, but stop when they see that damned purple smoke. As it gets thicker, the boys freak out and start to run away. Gunther has become a minion of Robin Fear...he's no longer in control of his mind. He climbs the railing and dives over the cliff. "The crack of bones breaking against rocks rose up through the billowing purple smoke." Ouch. Jared hears other things as well: "A lion snarled. A ferocious roar. Beneath the snarling, he could hear the sickening, wet sound of flesh being ripped from bones as the lions tore into their dinner." After the noise stops, Jared makes the mistake of glancing over the railing at what's left of Mr. Gunther and promptly pukes in the dirt. His friends drag him away. They're almost to the gate when they turn and see two security guards barrelling toward them. Busted. The guards come up, but they're not angry; they're worried because Jared looks like hell and his friends are dragging him around so he must be pretty ill. The boys lie and say Jared is a big fat pig who couldn't resist stuffing his snout with carnival food and now he's sick. The guards buy it and the boys make their escape. I suppose we're all ignoring the fact that someone was just ripped to shreds by lions? Ok then.
Robin Fear and Dierdre are also at the park taking a leisurely stroll around the wild animal preserve. A wild animal preserve. In an amusement park. In the middle of scenic nowhere. It still blows my mind. Anyway, as they near the lion section, Dierdre spots her dad. He tells her not to come any close, but Dierdre no listen! She peeks down and sees poor Mr. Gunther's remains. Her dad says he probably lost his balance and fell. Has anyone noticed the big puddle of vomit belonging to Jared? It has to still be there, right? Maybe they think Gunther slipped in that nasty mess. Dierdre tells him he should give up on opening the park because it's obviously cursed, but Mr. Bradley is a stubborn asshole who will never NEVER give up no matter how many people die! I don't get why Robin doesn't kill Mr. Bradley. He's slaughtering all these innocent people instead of going directly to the source of the problem. Suddenly Dierdre is startled by noises that sound like gunshots, but Daddy explains that it's just the wildlife officials shooting the crazed lions with tranquilizer darts. Guess these lions have never tasted human flesh before which is strange considering these are Fear lions. Dierdre and Robin walk away and as he's walking, Robin thinks about the fact that Mr. Bradley STILL hasn't given up. But that's ok because Robin has plenty more "accidents" up his sleeve. They walk past a workstation where someone left a hammer out and Robin can't help but think "...perfect for bashing skulls" so he reaches out and quietly grabs it with plans to use it on Dierdre. He's so nonchalant about murder! He swings, but hits only air because Dierdre has run across the path. There's a dog stuck in the fence and since Dierdre is a good samaritan, she wants to help it. Since Robin is a blood fiend he wants to kill it, but he can't because there are workers nearby. *sigh*
The next night, Meghan is alone at Robin's house. Robin left an hour ago for Fear Park because he HAS TO PROTECT THE BRADLEYS. Yes, that's what he told Meghan he's been doing--protecting the Bradleys from the Fear curse. I may laugh until I die. Meghan has a bad feeling and wants to go to the park to make sure everything is ok. She's hesitant to go because she's only left the mansion a few times since Robin made her immortal and a lot has changed since 1935. But she forces herself to leave because she loves her wittle wuv muffin. *barf* Once at the park, she immediately begins searching for Robin. She looks at the Ferris wheel, but someone else is running it. As she turns away, she spots Robin across the walk and cries out--he's kissing Dierdre. Meghan starts to cry and runs back home. She can't believe what a two-timing backstabber he is. He's a Fear, dear. What did you expect? She vows to pay him back. Oooo.
Meanwhile, Dierdre and Robin are busy exchanging sweet nothings and gazing longingly into one another's eyes. No, I promise not to barf. I already barfed at Meghan and that's enough for one day. *barf* Damn. Anyway, Robin wants to go on the Ferris wheel and Dierdre is hesitant at first, but he convinces her. Of course he has other plans than just a nice ride. His thoughts: "I'll be up on the Ferris wheel with you, Dierdre. Way up in the sky, in that little, swaying car. And I'll send you flying right off the top. You'll make a lovely puddle when you land, Dierdre. A lovely puddle at the doorstep of your father's office! I'm ready to get rid of you." If you aren't genuinely creeped out by this guy, you should be. I think what makes him so damn freaky is how CALM he is. He has a plan and he's going to carry it out no matter what you do to try and stop him. So they get on the Ferris wheel. As soon as Dierdre says "We'll be on top of the world. Together." Robin thinks "The second our car stops up there at the top, you'll be on your way to the very BOTTOM of the world!" Classic. Just classic. I can't help but quote almost everything he says or thinks...forgive me! Unfortunately for Robin, Dierdre decides that she just can't ride--too many Paul memories. She can't ride the wheel, but she can make out with someone else without guilt? Bullshit! Dierdre kisses him and says they'll go on it later after Robin finishes his shift.
Jared is at his house with his friends watching the news. The story being covered is the Gunther mutilation. Jared is feeling pretty antsy even though it wasn't technically his fault. One of his friends turns off the TV and mentions that Robin Fear is the only other person who knew they were up there that night. Jared immediately stands, grabs his car keys, and says they have to find him and make sure he doesn't tell anyone. You can't reason with someone like Robin Fear! When they get to the park, they tell the man at the ticket booth that they don't want to buy tickets, they just need to talk to a "friend". Do they honestly expect this guy to just let them in for free? He tells them they have to buy a ticket which causes Jared to unleash his berserker rage: "How many times do I have to tell you? We don't want to use the stupid park. We only came to talk to Rob Fear. We're not paying!" Then he grabs the man by the shoulders and starts violently shaking him while screaming "Are you going to let us in now? Huh? You going to let us in?" in his face. His friends pull him away because they think Jared killed him. A couple guards come over and ask the man what the hell just happened. He says Jared tried to break his neck. Uh-oh. The guards kick the boys out and they head back to Jared's house, defeated. Once there, Jared drags a green metal box and says he has a way to get into Fear Park. I'm sure this will be incredibly amusing. Or incredibly lame. Probably the latter...
Back at the park, Robin is just finishing his shift. He notices Jared and friends sneaking into the House of Mirrors. He walks over and spots Jared planting a firecracker next to one of the mirrors and then a dozen more. Jared sees Robin and takes off running. Robin spots Dierdre over by the hot dog stand and tells her she really should go through the House of Mirrors because it's totally awesome. Robin, you sneaky little devil! He says he has to run back to the Ferris wheel to grab his jacket, but she should go ahead without him. But OF COURSE there is a reason why she can't--she has to run an errand for her dad. He just can't kill her--everything is working against him. Robin uses the opportunity to chant a spell...and the entire House blows up. Robin enjoys the screams of pain that emanate from what's left of the House of Mirrors. We get the gory descriptions that have become commonplace with these books: "A body with no head landed with a thump at Robin's feet. Blood poured from the jagged open neck, darkening the ground. Robin stepped aside so he could keep watching the deliciously gruesome spectacle. An arm. A leg. A hand. Ragged pieces of flesh. Legs chopped off at the knee. People stabbed and bleeding. Crying and moaning. Screaming for help." This book is a cancer! A sickness! Yet I keep coming back for more. Go figure. Robin smiles when he sees Mr. Bradley and Dierdre come running to the scene. He puts on his best sad face and jogs up to Mr. Bradley: "Mr. Bradley! Listen to me! I got a good look at the guys who did this! There were four of them. And I can describe them to the police!" He's going to frame Jared and friends! Will it never end? I don't know why I ask--there is a third book after all.
Dierdre asks her dad why the police have surrounded Robin and he announces that Robin saw the guys who did it. The police are taking him to the station to speak with a sketch artist. Mr. Bradley tells Dierdre to go on home and when she gets there, she spots a white envelope that's been shoved beneath the front door. She dismisses it and makes herself some cocoa. A few minutes later, she picks it up again and opens it. Inside is an article dating back to 1935. The headline reads "Bloodbath! Shadyside Youth Hatchet One Another To Death!" Oh 1935. I do not miss you. Dierdre looks at the photo accompanying the article and reads the caption: "Seconds Before The Tragedy, Doomed Teens Smile For The Camera" Lo and behold, she spots Robin Fear directly in the foreground. How much does she love him NOW? The chapter ends there so I can't answer that.
After Robin is done at the police station, an officer drives him home. Dear old (and I do mean OLD) Rob is feeling pretty damn good because he's sure Mr. Bradley will close the park now. He goes inside the house and finds it dark which is strange because Meghan always leaves a light on for him. Cheating, murdering bastards don't deserve to have a light left on, sir. Robin goes through the house searching for Meghan who is nowhere to be found. Suddenly he hears a loud voice coming from the living room. He enters the room and sees that the voice was coming from the TV. He turns and spots Meghan in the doorway. But this isn't the sweet Meghan he once loved. She's now a homicidal maniac brandishing a large kitchen knife. She charges toward him and stabs him in the chest while screaming "I'll never forgive you! Liar! Liar! I'll never forgive you!" But the wound doesn't affect him. He draws the knife out of his chest and says "There's no blood, see? No blood and no pain. Did you forget that I'm immortal? That we both are? What's the matter with you anyway? What did I do to deserve this attack?" Like you don't know! Meghan says that she saw him kissing another girl and Robin is ready with another lie: "I got close to her to protect her family, don't you see? I figured if I got close to Dierdre, I could get her to persuade her dad to shut the park down. That's what I'm working for, Meghan. To get the park closed before more innocent people die." Liar! What a blatant, bold-faced lie!!! He drives me crazy! Robin comforts Meghan, but he's thinking about how boring she is and how she clings to him like a leech. Well, who the hell else does she have? NO-ONE. Everyone else she knows is old or dead so shut up, Rob. He thinks about killing her also. Of course.
Jared and two of his friends are hanging out in a delapidated mansion watching the news on a tiny portable TV. The sketches of Jared and friends pop up on the screen and Jared silently freaks out. He and his friends are in hiding now, trying to get out of Shadyside. Why are they still there? They're waiting on the fourth friend (Steve) to meet them. Unfortunately, he's late so they're sitting ducks. I say leave his ass. One of the boys (Joey) says his uncle has a secluded cabin upstate that no-one ever uses so they can crash there for a while. Sadly, the police have set up roadblocks all over the freaking place so they probably won't be able to get all the way upstate without getting caught. Jared suddenly has an idea that cheers him up. Robin Fear knows that Jared and friends only planted firecrackers, not a bomb like the news is saying. So Robin can vouch for them. Oh Jared. Little do you know, my friend! Out of the blue, the boys hear a pounding at the door and someone shouting "Open up! It's the police!" Squee! Run! Oh, never mind. It's just Steve. Jared is pissed off at the little joke, but gathers the boys around so he can tell them about Robin Fear. They all agree to head to Fear Park later to find Robin. No comment.
Robin is busy cleaning up rubble from the explosion. He's interrupted by Dierdre who comes up to him holding the article. Ooo...this is gonna be good. Wonder what lies Robin will tell? Robin panics a bit and realizes that it must have been Meghan who slipped Dierdre the article. Robin simply tells Dierdre that the boy in the picture is his grandfather. And that's it. No big deal. Dierdre tells him to call her later and leaves. Robin runs to a payphone and calls Meghan. He pretty much rips her a new one even though she keeps protesting that she knows nothing about any article. Robin hangs up the phone and makes up his mind to kill Meghan very soon. As he's about to walk away, someone grabs him and says "Don't make a sound." Is Robin finally about to get some overdue justice? The person drags Robin into the equipment shed and shuts the door. It's only Jared and the boys. Jared explains the situation and Robin plays nice, saying he'd be glad to help them. HA. He says he'll put a padlock on the outside of the shed so no-one can get in and he'll run and call the police. Those poor idiots aren't going to know what hit them.
Dierdre is sitting in her father's office as she rips up the article and tosses it in the trash. The phone rings and when Dierdre picks up, she hears "Stay away from Robin Fear. He's not your friend. We have to talk. Do you hear me? We have to talk before it's too late!" Then the person hangs up. Mysterious...or something.
Robin bursts back into the shed and tells the boys that he called the cops and told them everything. He says the cops didn't believe any of it and they're coming to kill them. Damn! The boys freak out and want to leave NOW, but Robin tells them running would be the worst thing to do. He convinces them that they need to take a hostage. And the hostage should be Dierdre Bradley. These boys are eating right out of his hand and he knows it which is why he's screwing with them! This is painful. He tells them to stay put while he lures Dierdre to the shed. He spots Dierdre coming out of the office behind her father. Robin has a momentary lapse in which he questions whether he should kill her or keep her. And we don't know what he's going to do because Stine has to end every damn thing on a cliffhanger! Although I'm pretty sure Robin will attempt to kill her.
Robin and Dierdre are walking along through the park even though it's starting to rain. She says maybe they should go inside the office, but Robin has an idea that he thinks is much better: seek shelter in the equipment shed. Guess he decided to kill her after all. Was there ever any doubt? Anyway, they go inside the shed and the door slams shut behind them. Rob falls on the floor and pretends to be unconscious for some reason...I guess just to freak Dierdre out which it does. She sees Jared and the boys and realizes who they are: "You're the ones! You killed all those people! You set the bomb! You killed Robin, too!" God, she's dumb. She struggles toward the door, but they knock her out with a blow to the back of her head. When she regains consciousness, she's tied and gagged. She gazes down beside her and sees Robin lying there with his eyes closed and she starts to sob because she believes Jared killed him. *sigh* Dierdre manages to get out of her ties and removes her gag. Robin pretends to come back to consciousness and Dierdre motions for him to be quiet because the boys haven't seen them yet. She leaps for the window, but Jared spots her and pulls her back. As she sits on the floor beside Robin, the dreaded purple mist floats into the shed. It wraps around Jared and the boys and stretches their skin over their bones so tightly that their skin tears apart. Jared's neck stretches until his head pops off. The smoke fades away once it's done with Jared and the boys. Dierdre gazes around in horror at the bones and eyeballs and such that litter the room. She tells Rob that she HAS to convince her father to shut this place down. Rob simply replies "I'll help you, Dierdre. Then I'm going to take care of you. Real good care of you." I bet he will.
Conclusion? I'm speechless. This thing is crammed with so much crazy junk that I don't even know what to say about it. I'm shellshocked!
Next time: "Fear Park #3 - The Last Scream" Let's finish this sucker.