The night time is the right time - for murder.
Gretchen Davies and her friends all know Fear Island is an awesome place to have a party. You can dance all night, share secrets with your best friends, fall in love... Or die. Because there's a madman loose on the island. A killer who plans to spoil the party. The birthday girl gets to go first, of course. Who's next?
Gretchen and her friends Hannah, Gil, Jackson, and Patrick are in Gretchen's blue minivan waiting for the light to turn green. I think we can all agree that minivans kick ass. Maybe this party won't be so bad after all! (It will.) They're on their way to "kidnap" their mopey friend Cindy who thinks they completely forgot about her birthday. Little does she know that she's about to be dragged off to Fear Island against her will for a party everyone will soon regret. Happy birthday, Cindy, you poor pathetic wretch. Gretchen looks at Jackson in the rear view mirror and thinks about how creepy he is and how she's only known him for a short time. She's been receiving weird calls where the caller immediately hangs up when she answers the phone. She thinks it's Jackson because of his creepy ways, mostly his shifty eyes. And yet she allowed him to enter the sacred realm of her blue minivan and tag along on a suicide mission to Fear Island. It must secretly be love...or something that doesn't even remotely resemble love. Either/or.
So they show up at Cindy's house in the middle of the night like sneaky bandits, let themselves into her house, and snatch her off her bed while she completely freaks out. Patrick pulls out a gun and points it at Cindy's head. Once she screams bloody murder, he starts laughing and says it isn't even loaded. Asshole. They blindfold Cindy and she calms down when they tell her they're taking her somewhere for her birthday. These people seriously SUCK. Couldn't they just take her bowling or something? Anything would be better than frigging Fear Island. They may as well shove her head in a toilet or make her eat dog food. Anyway, they all get in the van and Gretchen asks Patrick why he's carrying a gun. He says a prisoner escaped from upstate and was recently seen in the Fear Street Woods. Since Shadyside cops are absolutely useless, the guy is probably still wandering around. Hell, he could camp out in front of the police station and they still wouldn't catch him. They'd probably bring him coffee and crumpets. Patrick goes on to say the guy killed three teenage girls...just like the ones in the van right now! OOOO! The group considers going somewhere else just to be safe, but of course they decide to go to Fear Island anyway because they're not afraid of dying at the hands of a madman. Plus, they worked really hard at getting the cabin ready. Meaning they swept the floor and dusted for cobwebs.
The idiots take a rowboat across Fear Lake to the cabin. On the way, Patrick pretends they're being chased by Jaws (who would never lower himself to this) and the girls talk about Gretchen's boyfriend Marco who she didn't invite because she secretly can't stand him. They finally reach the shore and Gretchen gets to the cabin first, just as it starts to rain. The lights aren't working and as Gretchen enters the dark cabin, someone grabs her. It's Marco who decided to surprise everybody by butting in where he isn't wanted. Gretchen is pissed because he scared her--she thought he was the psycho killer. Don't we all wish?! Gretchen admires Marco's hot body and thinks about what an ass he is. Everybody else enters the cabin and no-one but Cindy (who's a little blonde harlot according to Gretchen) cares that Marco is there which she shows by running into his arms.
The group cook hot dogs in the fireplace. Hannah and Cindy are bitchy with each other over Gil who is currently dating Hannah but once dated Cindy for six months. Gil blatantly flirts with Cindy in front of Hannah. Instead of roasting Gil's chestnuts over the open fire, the girls just bicker with one another over stupid shit like whether Gil likes ketchup or mustard on his hot dog or if Gil prefers Coke (THE MASTER) or ginger ale. WHO THE HELL CARES?? Hannah flees to the kitchen and Gretchen follows. Hannah can't stand Cindy and hates her even more since she won a scholarship Hannah desperately wanted which is a bitch because Cindy's family is pretty rich and she probably doesn't need that scholarship like Hannah does. Hannah tells Gretchen that she wishes Cindy was dead. Good news! In a few hours, she probably will be!
Cindy decides it's time to open her presents which is a lesson in futility for all of us. No matter what you buy for a rich girl, she'll treat it like it's a steaming pile of dog doo because she's got better or can get better. Anyway, Gretchen bought her earrings ("Great earrings."), Hannah got her a bottle of perfume ("Too bad it makes me break out."), Gil and Jackson chipped in together and bought her two tickets to a rock concert ("Cool gift." She drops them to the floor like they're covered with boric acid.), and finally Marco's gift, a box full of slasher movies which sounds pretty good to me, but not to Cindy: "Ohhhh. Gross! Yuck! Ugh! How can any normal person watch that stuff?" Go to hell, Cindy. Patrick says he'll take them and Cindy gives them to him right in front of Marco who is rightly pissed. Almost everyone is appalled at how rude Cindy is being. Except for Patrick who said he didn't wrap her gift so he'll give it to her later. Just admit you didn't buy her anything. No-one will blame you, trust me.
Next, they all decide to put on a CD and dance instead of sitting around thinking about what a little shit Cindy is. Gretchen thinks for the 365866372th time that Jackson is acting creepy because he's staring at her again. Shut up, Gretchen. After dancing, Gretchen goes outside for more firewood and Gil and Hannah walk to the dock. Gretchen goes behind the cabin and overhears Jackson and Cindy talking in the kitchen. She can't make out what they're saying, but they sound pissed off. Then she hears a SLAP which can only mean Cindy finally got SERVED. Don't worry, Cindy. Your face will feel better when it stops hurting. Gretchen decides to ignore this because if it's serious, Patrick and Marco will break it up. And because everybody hates Cindy so who the hell cares if someone pops her in the mouth? Gretchen bumbles through the darkness until her flashlight goes out. Then she starts to panic, rushing back to the cabin. Some doucher pops out of the darkness and grabs her. It's Marco, but Gretchen was positive it was the escaped prisoner and she's angry at Marco all over again. Apparently the dummy didn't learn his lesson the first time he pulled this crap. Gretchen takes the opportunity to tell him she doesn't want to see him anymore. He responds by pulling out a switchblade and hacking at the bark of a tree. "I'm angry." You don't say! The two walk back to the cabin which is totally empty. It starts raining again so Gretchen assumes everyone will show up soon. She goes into the kitchen and finds the slashed body of Cindy on the floor. The party has begun, children.
Marco comes running at the sound of Gretchen puking all over the crime scene. Then Patrick enters with blood all over his shirt. He says he cut his hand and then wonders aloud how the escaped prisoner got in. They go into the living room just as Gil and Hannah come in. Gretchen tearfully tells them that Cindy is dead. They're shocked and Hannah starts crying. Why are these people acting so sad? We KNOW they're smiling on the inside. They discuss calling the police, but Patrick informs them that there are no phones on the island. How convenient. They decide they can't go home because the storm has gotten worse. Would you rather face a damn thunderstorm or a homicidal maniac who might make a lampshade out of your supple skin? Exactly. Jackson comes in with a load of firewood, then heads for the kitchen to make sure Cindy is really dead and it isn't just a joke. The girls insist that they all need to get help, but Patrick keeps contradicting them with excuses. He thinks they should stay in the cabin until morning because he has a gun and can defend them. No comment. Then they all scare themselves shitless with the idea that the killer could be inside with them. I get the impression that the cabin is pretty small so where would he be hiding, in the walls? Plus, Gretchen has been in here for a while. Wouldn't she have noticed if he were there? Wouldn't he have already killed her? Anyway, they search the house and find nothing. A few moments later, Gretchen sees movement on the porch. She steps out and it turns out to be Jackson who went out earlier to prowl around making sure the killer isn't close. As if he could do anything if he actually found a hardened killer in the bushes. Gretchen goes back inside with yet another reason to think Jackson is a weirdo. Marco and Jackson go into the kitchen to make sure the murderer isn't hovering about. They're gone for about 1.5 seconds when Gretchen gets worried, puts her ear to the kitchen door, hears nothing, and screams "The killer IS in there! He killed Marco and Jackson!" Is she completely insane? Silence doesn't automatically equal death. Maybe they're just sharing an intimate moment. Jackson and Marco come running and explain to the stupid Gretchen that they were just checking the cupboard. Gretchen asks Marco about the fight he had with Cindy earlier and he says he never fought with her. Gretchen never actually saw who it was. She heard them and thought it sounded like Jackson. So she assumes he's lying and he's the killer because he's a freaky creepy weirdo who keeps giving her LOOKS. Did she ever think that maybe she has something nasty stuck in her teeth and THAT'S what he keeps staring at? Never mind. Shut your rusty trap, Gretchen.
The night drags on a little longer. Gretchen continues to be paranoid. Hannah and Gil fight about Cindy. The fight ends with Gil screaming that he was going to break up with Hannah to date Cindy again to which Hannah screams "I hate you!" Then they both scream that they wish the other were dead. Gretchen finally tells them to stop. Then the wind blows the door open and EVERYBODY stops. Jackson accidentally left it ajar. They all talk more about killers and Cindy and Jackson tells them to follow him to the kitchen because he wants to examine Cindy's body closer. They follow and Gretchen notices that Cindy is (was?) clutching a baseball cap in one hand. Jackson asks who it belongs to and Patrick says it's his. KILLER! Patrick doesn't know how it got there. LIAR! Hannah cries some more. SOB FACE! Gretchen theorizes that maybe Cindy was going outside and grabbed Patrick's hat so her hair wouldn't get frizzy in the rain. IMBECILE! A few moments later, Gretchen finds a bootprint on the kitchen floor in some flour that Detective Gretchen assumes was spilled when the killer lunged for Cindy. She checks the bottoms of Patrick's boots which are by the door...they've got a coating of flour. KILLER!!! Patrick continues to swear up and down that he did not kill that teenage girl, but no-one believes him this time. They tie him to a chair and prepare to search his things for evidence. Gretchen finds a note from Cindy in Patrick's backpack that proves absolutely nothing: "Patrick, I can't keep our secret anymore. I'm going to tell my parents--no matter what happens. Don't try to stop me. Cindy" They're convinced that Patrick killed her over their little "secret". Then they find a big bloody knife in his sleeping bag. Well, damn. I guess Patrick killed her after all. This party sucks.
The group confronts Patrick with the evidence. Predictably, he denies being a stone cold killer. He says someone is trying to frame him and the killer must be one of them. The only solution is EVERYONE KILL THEMSELVES NOW. Please? Fine, be that way. Didn't know living was so important to you... Also, I thought the damn killer was supposed to be that "escaped prisoner". Patrick is a terrible liar. Anyway, these idiots are now unsure that Patrick murdered Cindy which is why Patrick is definitely the killer--he's smarter than them and can get away with it. He asks to see the note that Cindy wrote and he claims it's a fraud because the 'i' in 'Cindy' isn't dotted with a heart and Cindy always did that. Of course she did. I'm not going to bother with the rest of this unbearable and completely useless conversation because it solves nothing. They continue to question themselves and whether or not Cindy wrote the note and blah blah blah. They end up untying Patrick and then Hannah goes missing. She left...a note. "I can't stay here one more second with a killer. I'm too frightened." You have got to be kidding. Or shrooming. Gil, Marco, and Patrick run outside to look for her. Gretchen has to pull on her boots and Jackson stays behind with her. She considers bashing him the head with a log if he tries anything, but he speaks before she can make a move. "I guess you suspect..." Gretchen freaks out and flees before he can finish. She runs blindly through the forest and falls down a hill. Jackson falls on top of her. He helps her up, she confesses to being afraid of him because he looks at her too much, and he says he only does that because he really likes her. They hike back up the hill and suddenly hear Hannah screaming her head off. They run to the cabin where Gil, Marco, and Patrick are dragging Hannah inside. They accuse Hannah of being the killer and she *sigh* denies it. Gretchen decides all this is making her lips quite dry and she digs through her purse for some delicious Chap Stick. She spills the purse's contents and spots an old note. She reads it and is suddenly positive that she knows who the killer is. Obviously it's Patrick. Gretchen's note is an old one from Patrick and the handwriting matches the Cindy note. Patrick weakly attempts to deny it yet AGAIN which nearly causes my head to explode into bloody chunks, but he finally realizes this is pointless. He calmly pulls out his pistol and says he just might kill them all. He rambles crazily about how Cindy knew a secret about him and teased him over it, but that wasn't really why he killed her. He stabbed her to death because she didn't return his feelings about her and wouldn't date him. "I gave Cindy a birthday party to die for." Yeah...but why did you do it with so many people around, dumbass? And you left so much evidence. You are the worst murderer in Shadyside history, Patrick, and that, sir, is truly pathetic. Truly. Patrick killed Cindy after she slapped him for trying to kiss her.
A moment later, Patrick turns the gun on Gretchen, but he doesn't get the chance to shoot because a police officer magically appears in the doorway. He and his partner get the gun away from Patrick and cuff him. He asks why the cops are here and one of them tells him that Patrick's father told them that Patrick stole his gun and the cops came to get it. Patrick was in trouble once before for setting a fire in Waynesbridge. That was his BIG secret. Cindy didn't even know about it. She used to tell him he looked dangerous, though, and he assumed she was talking about the fire. The book ends with Jackson and Gretchen watching the sunrise and not thinking about the fact that if those cops hadn't shown up, their guts would be nothing but splatters on a wall right now. "Party's over." I hate you, Gretchen.
Conclusion?: This is just a fucking abomination. A plague. A disease. I'm pretty sure reading this thing has taken years off my life.
Next time: "Twisted" Sorority sisters + murder = a hell of a mess.