Monday, April 21, 2008

The Dead Lifeguard (Super Chiller)

Book Description:

The lifeguards at North Beach Country Club know they're lucky. While other kids are flipping burgers they're sunning themselves by day and partying by night. So what if some people say the place is cursed, haunted? This is the life! And then, one by one, the lifeguards start to die horrible deaths. Someone -or something- evil is stalking them. They all know how to save other people's lives...but who will save theirs?

The Lifeguards of North Beach Country Club:

Lindsay Beck - Lindsay has short blonde hair, blue eyes, a nose that is too short, and a face that is too round. People always tell her she's cute, though, don't worry! Lindsay is a returning lifeguard, but no-one can find her on the list! And the ID she was sent is two years old! And we'll get back to this later!

Danny - (no last name) Danny is the red-haired head lifeguard who gets a kick out of referring to himself as "the big enchilada" (is he a CRAB enchilada? Or just a regular enchilada?) and "the big cheese". Lame! Danny is generally the most levelheaded member of the group.

Pug - (no last name) Yeah, this guy's nickname is PUG. We never learn what his real name is...and I'm not sure I really wanna know anyway. Pug is described as an "all-American dude. He's got curly blonde hair, dark eyes that crinkle at the sides (he's 17 years old and already has crow's feet?) and a big friendly smile. He looks as if he's never has a serious thought in his life." He's probably never had a thought period. Pug wears a red bandanna everywhere. 'Is he a pirate?' one might ask. Yes. A butt pirate with a beer fetish.

Cassie Harlow - The stereotypical dumb blonde with a hot bod and a voice that's described as "sexy and whispery". Marilyn Monroe wannabe!! Oh, and she's afraid of big scary thunderstorms. Don't worry, baby, Pug-daddy is here...

Arnie Wilts - With a name like that, he's just GOTTA be cool! Not. Arnie is a "little runty guy" who wears a dangly earring and enjoys making truly AWFUL jokes. An example: "Arnie said he liked to swim in lightning storms. He said he got a charge out of it." Horrible! All the other lifeguards are with me. Pug shoves Arnie into garbage cans a few times throughout the book...awesome.

Deirdre Webb - All we get is a detailed description of her hair: short, straight, sleek, shiny, and black. Phew. And she has "amazing pale blue eyes." According to Danny, she's totally hot. Her personality? WHAT personality?

May-Ann Delacroix - She has auburn hair, cold dark eyes (huh?), and is very tall. May-Ann is standoffish and quiet when she isn't waxing psychotic about all the ghosts that supposedly haunt the country club. May-Ann is totally into mice. Seriously. She brought her own mouse, Munchy, with her along with all her mousey figurines and stuffed toys. Uh, no comment.

Spencer Brown - Spence has straight, dark brown hair that he wears in a ponytail. He also sports dark and solemn eyes and a serious face. As exciting as dirty dishwater!

Pete Harris - Not technically a lifeguard, Pete is the "hotshot athletic director" who has tons of energy, a flattop, and is a total showoff. He interviewed all the lifeguards when they applied for the positions...and Pete obviously didn't do a good job of background checks because one of them has a case of mistaken identity and another is a murderer who STOLE someone's identity! Good work, Petey.

"Mouse" - 'Mouse' is the stupid nickname of one of the lifeguards listed above. There are short chapters in the book in which Mouse talks on the telephone to his/her dead friend, Terry. And by "talks on the telephone" I mean that Mouse listens to the dialtone while yapping on incessantly about death and who's going to die next and all these murders are for Terry and blah blah blah. That Mouse was always such a hoot! Mouse's identity is revealed at the end of the book, of course.

My Description:
Can I just begin by saying that I really liked this one, even if the ending WAS incredibly convoluted? Anyway, the first chapter of the book is from Mouse's point of view. The highlights? "What's up Terry? How's it going? I know you can't talk so just listen...Guess what? I passed the test. What test? The blood test. Ha ha! [Not funny! Lose the terrible jokes!] Just a joke, Terry. I passed the lifeguard test." And the rest is basically Mouse saying that he/she is going to kill the lifeguards one by one. A cheery opener!

The next chapter opens with Lindsay arriving at North Beach Country Club. It's pouring rain outside and Lindsay can't find her ID card to get into the gates. She can see the guest house where she'll be staying with the other lifeguards for the next few weeks and she can also see several of the lifeguards through the window. They're just sitting around talking and laughing. She glances over to the nearest pool and starts to scream and totally freak out. A girl's lifeless corpse is floating in the pool. Yeah, I suppose that's reason enough to freak out. Lindsay screams and shakes the gates hoping someone will look outside and see her. And they do just that: Danny and Arnie run outside to see what's up with the Lindsay. She tells them about the girl, but when they look at the pool, there's no corpse to be found. The guys drag Lindsay inside where May-Ann gets her a towel and everybody else grills her about why she was screaming and such. Give the girl some time to calm down, people! Lindsay answers their questions and then to break this serious mood, Pug cracks a shitty joke: "Hey, lifeguards aren't supposed to get wet! It's against union rules or something." Shut up, Pug. Please. We already have to listen to Arnie's crap. We don't need you adding to it! Anyway, Danny checks the list of lifeguards and Lindsay's name isn't there. When Lindsay shows Danny her ID card, he tells her that it's two years old, even though it was just sent to her a few weeks ago. Uh-oh. May-Ann, in an attempt to ease the tension, tells Lindsay to come to her room so she can put on some dry clothes. Lindsay goes with her after asking the crew if any of them were here last year. She gets two responses: "We're all new." and "Arnie is new to the PLANET!" *sigh*

In May-Ann's room, May-Ann feeds Munchy while Lindsay changes into jeans and a sweatshirt. They're pretty close already...I don't think I'd be changing with a stranger in the room. While these two are in this room, the others are laughing their asses off at Pug while he roars like an animal. Then the girls hear Deirdre make some comment about Lindsay, although they can't make out exactly what she said. Lindsay and May-Ann go back out into the common room and everybody shuts up quick. May-Ann uses this moment of silence to tell Lindsay that she knows who Lindsay saw floating in the swimming pool. "You saw one of the dead kids." Is anyone gonna cut Lindsay a break...or maybe cut May-Ann's tongue out of her head so we don't have to listen to this shit anymore? Guess not. A big burst of thunder and lightning break through the silence that followed May-Ann's comment. And then the lights go out. Oooo...spooky! But then they come back on. Darn. May-Ann tells everyone that the club is cursed with bad luck because people die mysterious deaths there every summer. I doubt they're so mysterious...I think that some lifeguards have been getting it on in the guest house rather than watching the hapless swimmers and when the swimmers drown and die, the lifeguards concoct stupid stories about curses and bad luck to cover their asses! No-one buys May-Ann's stories so they all start making stupid jokes ("Didn't know how to swim, only knew how to get a tan!") I hate lifeguards. As they're all laughing like a bunch of hyenas at a bunch of jokes that couldn't possibly be mistaken for funny, the front door opens and in walks...the creature from the dirty swimming pool! I mean, it's just Spencer Brown. Damn, I wish it was a monster because this Spencer is so boring. Lindsay gets excited because she recognizes him from years passed. Spencer just stands there and FINALLY says hey to her. Pete arrives shortly after. Danny gets so excited, he practically humps Pete's leg. Pete asks if everyone has found a roomate and yep, it looks like they have: Spencer with Arnie, Danny with Pug, Cassie with Dierdre, and May-Ann with Lindsay. Pete turns his attention back to Danny and Danny has to run to his room to rub one out QUICK! Just kidding--Danny simply explains that Lindsay wasn't on the list and such. Pete tells Lindsay that she's going to be an alternate in case one of the others falls ill (or dead.) Finally, Pete leaves...and the next chapter is a Mouse chapter. Thank God these are short. In this one, Mouse pretty much says the same as usual: Terry is dead, Mouse is a lifeguard, it's raining and someone has to die. Smiles all around. Anyway!

The next chapter opens with Lonnie the cook serving the lifeguards dinner: fried chicken, lumpy mashed potatoes, and steamed spinach. I'm hungry, but not THAT hungry. Cassie and Dierdre flirt with Pug throughout dinner which ruins everyone else's already waning appetites. May-Ann keeps quiet for a while, but she just can't resist some ghost talk. Well, I guess it's better than listening to Arnie crack those lame-ass jokes of his. Lindsay inadvertently gets the spectral convo rolling by asking Spencer (a veteran lifeguard) if he was on duty when a 14 year old boy drowned a few years back. Is she blaming him? Oh well. Spencer says he wasn't and May-Ann pipes up with "The ghosts are here." Cheer up, chipper monkey! It's not so bad! Everyone starts making fun of May-Ann as usual. She gets pissed, but really, what does she expect?! May-Ann and Arnie start arguing, but Cassie (she's over by the fireplace, stoking the fire. Yeah, a fucking fire in the summertime. Idiot.) screams and says "The ghost! There it is!" Everyone turns and nothing is there of course. Cassie laughs at her pathetic excuse for a joke. I'm surprised an airhead like her could fool anyone, but there ya go. May-Ann goes batshit crazy and screams "We'll see who's laughing at the end of the summer!" before running off to her room. Everyone is a little shocked, but they get over it quick. Pug and Spencer start arm-wrestling and Arnie screeches that he'll take the winner. I'll believe when I (don't) see it. The arm-wrestling gets pretty intense and sweaty and when Pug pushes Spencer's arm onto the table, everyone hears a "sickening crack". But don't worry! That was dumb shit Cassie breaking a piece of kindling! Har har har! NOT. I hate Cassie. Arnie says again that he wants to take the winner and Pug responds by shoving Arnie into the trash can. SCORE! Everyone cheers!

After dinner, Lindsay goes to her room to check on May-Ann, but May-Ann isn't there. Lindsay looks at the dresser and thinks it's crawling with mice, but it's just May-Ann's buttload of mice toys. Sick. And oh look! How appropriate--the next chapter is from Mouse! Lifeguards have feelings, too...Terry can't hear (apparently death does that to you)...Mouse is strong and he/she is going to kill all the lifeguards, he/she just has to decide which one goes first. End.

The next day, it's cloudy, but Lindsay has a sunburn. Ouch. No-one is swimming, but the lifeguards are on duty anyway. Later that night, May-Ann and Lindsay have a good laugh about Lindsay thinking the toys were real mice. Then May-Ann leaves without telling anyone where she's going. Alrighty than. Even later that night, after everyone has gone to bed, May-Ann and Lindsay wake up to a strange noise; it's someone crying for help. May-Ann automatically thinks it's the voice of the dead girl, the one Lindsay saw floating in the pool at the beginning of the book. Dead people DO NOT talk, stupid! May-Ann opens the door and sees Cassie standing there with Pug. I'd take a dead girl over those two any day. Cassie bursts out laughing at her little prank. Such a comedienne! Such a fucking loser! May-Ann once again goes berserk and tells Cassie and Pug that they'll be sorry.

The next morning, it's sunshiney and hotter than hell. The club is crowded and everyone is way too busy to worry about ghosts and mice and Danny's gay tendencies. After some hours, Lindsay's shift is over and she starts walking back to the guest house. She runs into Spencer who tells her that some rich lady tipped him a quarter, telling him to put it in his college fund. Hello cheapskate! Spence tosses the quarter into the trashcan and takes off. He should have used that quarter to buy himself a quarter's worth of personality.

That night, Lindsay has a dream in which she goes outside and finds that dead chick in the pool. Lindsay pulls the girl up and realizes that she is staring at a mirror image of herself. The dead look-alike says "I'm Lindsay" Then real Lindsay wakes up drenched in sweat. She suddenly hears a voice softly calling her name. Here we go... Lindsay follows the sound until she's in the dining room. She glances at the fireplace and sees Cassie's lifeless body. Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and introducing MOUSE. Cassie is lying face down in the fire. Lindsay pulls her out and is surprised to see that Cassie's face and hair have been burned off. Well, genius, you found with her fucking head pushed into a lit fireplace. Of course her skin and hair are gone!

The next chapter begins with the police sniffing around the place for clues. Officer Malone questions Lindsay. When Lindsay tells the officer that a voice led her to the dining room, it's obvious Malone isn't buying it. Lindsay gets defensive which doesn't help her case any. Malone asks her if she's been drinking and I laugh. But Lindsay is appalled! The police leave, saying they'll return tomorrow. Lindsay glances at May-Ann and sees that she's smiling. May-Ann is looking prrreeetttyy guilty right about now.

And now we bring you more thoughts from Mouse: "I killed one, Terry. It wasn't that hard. She didn't know what hit her. I did it for you, Terry. I remember how the lifeguards laughed at you." Shut up. Stop talking to dead guys and trying to justify the murder!

The next day, Lindsay thinks about the murder and the fact that she hasn't been receiving phone calls from her family. She runs to call them and gets this message: "We're sorry, but the number you have called is no longer in service." She dials a few more times, thinking she had the wrong number, but she gets the same recorded voice. She thinks that maybe the phone lines got messed up from the thunderstorm a few days ago. She calls the operator, operator connects her, and surprise! She gets the same freaking message. She calls long distance information, but there's no listing under "Mr and Mrs. Austin Beck" Lindsay flips out and runs to find Danny to ask if she can drive his little green Corolla to Shadyside (did I mention Lindsay lives on Fear Street?) He agrees and she drives for an hour before arriving. She parks and runs up to the front door of her home. When she opens it, she calls "Mom!" but the woman standing there is not mommy. Lindsay tells the woman her name, but the woman thinks that Lindsay is LOOKING for someone named Lindsay Beck. The woman says "I'm sorry to tell you, but she died." Lindsay doesn't get it so the woman tries again. "The Becks' daughter died. She died two years ago. Such a terrible trgedy. When I bought this house, the Becks were still shattered. They wanted to move away from here as fast as they could. They just went to pieces." Lindsay freaks out, claiming "I'm Lindsay Beck!" and runs back to the car. She drives around aimlessly for hours before finally going back to the club. It's late, but everybody else is still awake, piled in the dining room. Lindsay slips in through a side door so she won't have to talk to them. She goes to Pete's office and finds her file. She's shocked at what she finds: a newspaper clipping that states "A tragic accident at the North Beach Country Club...Lindsay Beck, 15, drowned...her first year as lifeguard..." Lindsay becomes practically catatonic, thinking "I am the dead lifeguard." Heavy shit right there, kids.

Mouse again. Stupid Mouse. Real busy being a lifeguard...wishing Terry wasn't dead (don't we all!), getting a good tan, ready to kill again, gonna kill everyone, dead is as cold as you can get. Yeah.

A few nights later, everyone is at dinner. Just more of the usual: bad jokes and Arnie pretending to be a bad ass. And some new things: Spencer doing impressions of the rich assholes who frequent the club and NO GHOST STORIES! May-Ann attempts to tell a few, but Pug bites her head off: "Just shut up! We're all sick of hearing about your drowned kids and stupid ghosts! We had a real murder here, remember?" Cha-ching! Everything gets a little heated so Arnie asks Lindsay if she wants to get some fresh air. Unfortunately, Lindsay does and Arnie leads her to a secluded area where he presses her against a tree in a sad attempt to kiss her. Spencer intervenes before Arnie can play any tonsil hockey with Lindsay. Arnie runs off into the woods like the wounded animal that he is. Then there's some weird exchange between Spencer and Lindsay in which Lindsay asks Spencer some questions about the time when she was a lifeguard (she can't remember anything) but Spencer refuses to tell her anything.

The next day, Arnie apologizes to Lindsay and she accepts. Some weird chick comes up to Lindsay and says "I remember you. Are you ok?" Lindsay just stares and the woman eventually walks away. Then Lindsay screams "I'm Lindsay Beck!" Ok! Shit, you don't have to tell me twice. Later that evening, Lindsay takes a walk and comes across May-Ann and Pug having a fight. So what else is new? While Lindsay is blatantly spying, Deirdre comes up beside her to join in. They eventually mind their own damn business and walk on. That night, Lindsay can't sleep so she listens to her Walkman (I miss the 90s) and reads a mystery...until she hears that mysterious voice again. And she follows it AGAIN. Idiot much? This time, the voice leads her all the way to the weight room where she finds Pug's corpse. A barbell is lying on his neck. Suffocated by that which he once loved. So tragic. Pete comes in almost immediately after Lindsay. Once again, the police arrive and once again, Lindsay is questioned by Officer Malone. While standing around waiting for everyone else to be questioned, Lindsay sees a spider crawl into Pug's nose and she promptly tosses her cookies. Why is his corpse still lying there anyway? Oh well.

What's that? You wanna hear from Mouse? Well, ok, if you insist. Score two, his name was Pug, it gets Mouse excited, Pug had a real weight problem (give me a fucking break!), Terry would've hated Pug, Mouse has already picked another victim. There. Happy? Ok.

The next evening, Lindsay takes Danny's Corolla for a drive. A few miles down the road, she looks in the rearview mirror and there sits Arnie in the back seat. She freaks out and pulls over. Arnie starts acting all creepy so Lindsay gets out, goes around to Arnie's side, and pulls him out of the car. And leaves him on the side of the road! Lindsay drives back to the club and finds everyone in the pool. She tells everybody about Arnie: "I dropped him off on the highway. He'll probably hitch a ride. He'll be here soon. I hadn't driven that far." I can't help but laugh at how non-chalant everyone is about this. A few minutes later, after getting into the pool, Lindsay starts sobbing. Everyone comes over to see what's up. And she drops the bomb: "I'm not Lindsay! Lindsay is dead! I'm Marissa Dunton and I killed Lindsay two years ago!" Holy shit. Didn't see that one coming! Supposedly her memory came flooding back to her as soon as she got into the pool...ok. Her story is so convoluted: "Lindsay and I were friends. We were roomates in the lifeguard dorm [two summers ago]. She was from Shadyside, too. One afternoon, soon after the club opened, we had a stupid argument. We were standing at the edge of the pool...we started wrestling, playfully as first, but it quickly got more intense. Lindsay was wearing a blue bikini. I shoved her. I didn't mean to hurt her (that's what they all say) or anything. I was so angry, but I never meant to hurt her. She fell. She hit her head on the concrete. Her head-it split open. She sank into the pool. The blue water filled with blood (very descriptive). It was an accident. A horrible accident." Afterward, this Marissa chick has to go to a mental hospital because she assumed Lindsay's identity out of guilt. She completely forgot she was Marissa. But after a few years of therapy, she was back to good. Until, of course, she ran away to North Beach Country Club to once again become Lindsay. She mentions that her parents are probably worried sick about her. I think that's the least of your worries, sweetheart. Spencer speaks up and says "Why did you kill Cassie and Pug?" Marissa's reply? "I don't know." Whoa! But wait, we've still got about 15-20 more pages to go, so no, the murderer isn't Marissa. She quickly says "I didn't kill them! At least, I don't remember." Oh good. That clears things right up.

Danny says he needs to tell Pete about this and races off to do so. Marissa goes to use the phone in Pete's office to call her parents. Spencer follows her inside and asks if she needs him to go with her to the office. Uh no? Marissa goes into the office, but before she can pick up the phone, it rings. Spencer comes in and asks who could be calling after midnight. Who indeed? Marissa picks up (speaker phone is on so Spence can hear) and a woman's voice says "This is Mrs. Brown. I must apologize for not calling sooner. You must be wondering why my son Spencer never showed up for his lifeguard job." HOLY SHIT, BATMAN! The woman explains that Spencer was murdered and she is just now getting over it enough to be able to call the club and explain. The woman breaks down and hangs up. Now who the hell has been pretending to be Mrs. Brown's son? You guessed it, baby--MOUSE! Marissa runs after him and when she finds him in "his" room, he tells her "I had to be a lifeguard for Terry. Spencer had to die so I could be a lifeguard." I didn't know that lifeguard positions were so coveted. Mouse then tells Marissa that he's going to have to kill her because she knows too much. She was next on his list anyway so it all works out! Marissa finally remembers who Mouse is--a guy named Jack Mouser (lame) who worked in the kitchen with the guy named Terry. Apparently, all the lifeguards (including Marissa) made fun of Terry and Jack (I hate calling him Mouse!!) They both wanted to be lifeguards and the REAL lifeguards tricked them both into thinking that they could by doing dives and holding their breath and running around the pool in their flip-flops. Ok, if those two were stupid enough to think that's all you have to do to become a lifeguard, then they deserved to be made fun of. Get this: when Terry realized that it was all a joke, he went home and killed himself. Are you fucking kidding me?! Look, I'm sure being a lifeguard rocks. But I don't think it rocks so hard that a person would KILL themselves over it!

Somehow Marissa and Jack have found their way outside next to the pool because the next second, Jack is trying to drown Marissa. He grabs her and plunges her head into the water, holding her down. She thinks she's going to die and goes limp. Jack lets go and Marissa pops up and pulls him into the water with her. They struggle for a bit until everyone else comes running out of the guest house and helps Marissa out a little. Danny and Pete hold Mouse down and the sirens from the police cars are heard in the distance (someone already called the cops?) Marissa tells May-Ann that she has to go call her parents and tell them that she's ok. The end.

Wow. I honestly didn't see a lot of that coming.

Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns (Goosebumps #48)

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