Friday, May 23, 2008

Silent Night 2

Yet another misleading cover. This book would have doubled in awesomeness if Santa DID kill.

Book Description:

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!

My Description:

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."

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Book Description:

The perfect suntan. Soaking up the rays. Fun on the beach. That's what Claudia Walker had in mind when she accepted her friend Marla's invitation to spend the weekend at her cliffside beach house. Little did she know that horrible accidents - fatal accidents - would occur on the beach and in the house. But Claudia knows they're not "accidents." She's sure somebody is out to get them...out to kill them. The week of "fun in the sun" has turned dark and deadly!

Main Characters:

Claudia Walker - the auburn-haired leading lady.

Marla Drexell - tall, strawberry blond hair, preppy, and quite rich.

Joy Birkin - she's described as exotic-looking with "slightly slanted green eyes, olive skin, dark, full lips, and straight black hair." She likes to flirt, as you'll see later on.

Sophie Moore - short with light brown hair and wire-rimmed glasses. Sophie is definitely the "baby" of the group, the one everyone else looks out for.

My Description:

Wow, some incredibly convoluted things take place in this one. Even more so than usual! Oh, and that scene on the cover doesn't happen.

The book begins with Claudia waking up on the beach. Her friends buried her in the sand and left her there to experience high tide, apparently. She fell asleep and doesn't know how long she's been out there. All she knows is that she has a wicked sunburn and can't figure out how she's going to dig herself out. As she's lying there, Claudia thinks about how she came to be on the beach in the first place. A few weeks earlier, she had received a letter from Marla that I will transcribe for you here:

Dear Claudia,

How the heck are you? I know this is short notice, but I'm inviting you to the first annual reunion of Bunk 12 from Camp Full Moon. The four of us had such a short time together last summer that I got to thinking it would be great to see one another and catch up. (None of us has been terrific in the letter writing department, especially me.) My parents will be away the first week in August. They told me to invite some friends to stay at our summer house on the beach so I won't get lonely. So how about it, Claud? Can you come? It'll be just the four of us from Bunk 12--you, me, Sophie, and Joy. I hope you're having a really boring summer in Shadyside, so you'll say yes. I promise it won't be boring here! Please come!


First of all, what kind of parent allows their teenage daughter to invite whoever the hell she wants to their home? She'll be alone for the whole week and although a week doesn't seem like such a long time, plenty can happen *cough* orgy freak fest *cough* Anyway, Claudia is excited by the prospect because her summer has totally sucked thus far: she broke up with her boyfriend and lost her job a week after that. Plus, she hasn't seen her friends since camp and she misses them (WORD). When she calls Marla (why didn't Marla call instead of sending a letter?) to tell her that she's excited to see her and the beach house, Marla tells her that it's just a "quaint little shack". Oh, Marla, we all know you have money falling out the ass. You don't have to pretend with us!

Two weeks after receiving the letter, Claudia is on the train to Summerhaven to visit Marla. AGAIN with a train (remember College Weekend?) No-one takes the train anymore! Seriously! I've been on a train one time and it was on a field trip in 6th grade and it was a novel concept and not something that someone does everyday. At least not around here. Anyway, Claudia gets off the train and spots her friends (they haven't changed since camp) and Marla's silver Mercedes. Damn, she's lucky. The girls greet Claudia, but only briefly because Marla is aching to get back to her mansion. When they arrive, the girls are shocked at how large Marla's mansion truly is. Claudia compares it to a "fairy tale castle." I kind of want to barf.

And then we're taken back to Claudia on the beach, still buried in the sand. She's starting to get a little panicky because the waves are rolling closer and Claud is afraid she's going to drown. What a shitty way to die. Thankfully, this shirtless hottie named Daniel comes by and asks her if she needs help. No, Sherlock. She's buried up to her neck in the sand and the tide is rolling in. Why on earth would you think she needs any help?! As he's digging her up, he says "You've got a bad burn." He's intelligent as well as cute. We've got a real winner here, folks. Daniel helps Claud back to the Drexell's. He somehow knows the code to open their gate. He doesn't explain how he knows, he just says "I know lots of things." I somehow doubt it, but whatever. Daniel leaves and Claudia makes her way up to the mansion. The girls are shocked to see Claudia. Because they assumed she'd be dead by now? Claudia is confused at the girls' surprise. Joy explains: "After we buried you, we went for a walk. When we came out, Marla said you'd gone back to the house. So we came in, too!" I'm even more confused than before. Came out of WHERE? Sophie says they honestly didn't see Claudia. They should have went back to where they buried this poor chick and made damn sure that she wasn't still there! Claudia tells them that Daniel helped her out, but of course Daniel left so the girls think Claudia is lying.

That night at dinner, Claudia, Sophie, and Joy are introduced to Alfred, the only servant on the premises. He's serving cheeseburgers that he fixed on the grill and french fries. Yum. There's also a salad. Why would you serve salad with cheeseburgers and french fries? The burger and fries kind of cancel out any healthful benefits of the salad. They all sit down to eat and Marla fruitlessly attempts to engage the girls in conversation when suddenly Joy screams. She found a big, fat worm in her salad. Yes, it's gross, but hardly scream-worthy! Alfred comes in and begins apologizing for the worm food. His explanation? "The lettuce is locally grown." Ok? Claudia jokes that "The worm must have been locally grown, too!" Claud, I like you, but that joke sucks. After Alfred leaves the room, Marla brings up the subject of Daniel. Claudia tells her that he said he had gone for a swim and spotted Claudia. Marla flips out because she doesn't want anyone swimming on her beach. Since when does the beach belong to HER? The others are just interested in how he looks. And just in case you're wondering: "Tall, very good-looking actually, black hair. A great bod, like he worked out." Not bad, I must say. Marla comments that she's never seen him around and Claudia tells her that she must have because he knew the code to open the gate. Marla says that's impossible and tells Claudia that she spent too much time out in the sun. Claud's reply? "Thanks to you." Burn! Literally. Since this is a Fear Street book, it was inevitable that there would be mention of the supernatural and Marla doesn't disappoint, saying she thinks Daniel is a "Ghost Boy". *sigh* Everyone is subjected to Marla's stupid ghost story: "I thought he was real, too. I thought he was real the times I saw him. But he isn't. He's a ghost. He lives in the guest house, I think. That's where I've seen him the most. Once, I saw him on the tennis court. He was dressed in white, in old-fashioned clothes, very starched. He was holding a weird tennis racket, made of wood, I guess. He had the saddest look on his face. I waved to him. He turned toward me and realized I could see him. He stared at me a second, that sad expression on his face--then he disappeared." I'm speechless. No-one else really believes this story, but Marla insists that it's all true. When she thinks she finally has the girls believing her story, Marla bursts out laughing and tells them she made everything up and she can't believe they fell for such a dumb story. Damn you! The girls just laugh it off, even though they're kind of pissed.

After dinner, they watch a movie called Bye Bye, Birdie and laugh at the "funny way the fifties-style teenagers were dressed and at the hilariously sexist attitudes." Those teens would probably laugh at you for the same reasons, girls. Sophie says "Those girls were so dumb! They only cared about pleasing boys!" Five bucks says that these four ladies are pretty much the same way. Finally, they go to their rooms for bed. Claudia is standing at her bedroom window, staring out at the guest house. She sees a light flicker on and someone's shadow. She thinks it's the Ghost Boy! I thought we already established that the Ghost Boy was all made up. As she's standing there, someone with hands "as cold as death" grabs Claud's shoulder. She screams, but oh look--it's just Marla! Claudia tells her that there is definitely someone in the guest house, but Marla refuses to believe it, saying "Probably a reflection. Those spotlights are so bright. Daddy had them installed to discourage prowlers. But they throw so much light. You must have seen a reflection in the guest house window. That's all." Whatever helps you sleep at night, friend. Claudia doesn't really buy it, but she's tired and decides to forget about it and go to bed.

The next day, we get outfits! Claudia is wearing "a yellow T-shirt, black spandex shorts, and white sneakers" Claudia Kishi weeps--no accessories?! And Marla is also looking plain in a pink T-shirt and white shorts. Unfortunately, Joy and Sophie have yet to wake up so no go on the outfits, yo. Anyway, Claudia and Marla head outside to play some tennis after eating some fruit salad that sounds pretty appetizing. Claudia wins every game and Marla goes berserk, throwing down her racket and yelling "My muscles are tired or something!" 'Or something' = you suck. Marla also says "I'm out of practice. I haven't had time to play this year." Claudia uses this opportunity to poke at old wounds: "Maybe you're upset at seeing us again. You know, you haven't seen us since the accident. Since your sister died." Marla doesn't want to talk about it, but Claudia can't take a hint and just keeps going. Marla finally screams at Claudia that she REALLY DOESN'T WANNA TALK ABOUT! and storms off towards the house.

When Claudia finally makes her way to the house, Marla has cooled off and is sitting on the terrace with Sophie and Joy. Marla tells the girls that Alfred has packed a picnic lunch for them and they can all go down to the beach to eat. They gather their things and start walking to the gate. When they reach it, Marla tells Sophie (who is leading the pack) that the gate isn't locked. Sophie goes to open it and gets a shock! Who electrified the freaking gate? Marla helps a mostly unharmed Sophie to her feet and Claudia picks up Sophie's glasses which flew off when she fell. Marla says that the electrical system is supposed to be turned off during the day and yells for Alfred. Poor Alf...he can't catch a break. First a worm, then a shock. Fortunately for him, he isn't within earshot. Marla keeps pacing back and forth, muttering in anger...or something. Sophie assures her that she's fine so everybody picks up their things and gets going again.

At the beach, Claudia and Sophie sit under an umbrella while Joy flaunts her stuff in a tiny bikini and Marla fumes. STILL? Oh well. As Claudia is slathering on sunscreen, she notices two guys wearing wetsuits (no Speedos?) and carrying surfboards walking out of the water towards them. For a brief moment, Claudia thinks one of the guys is Daniel (a.k.a. Ghost Boy). But no, it's just another tall, dark, and handsome dude. They're a dime a dozen! His friend has blonde hair...did someone say clichè? Marla is being incredibly rude to the guys for no apparent reason whatsoever. The guys finally introduce themselves after some mindless chit-chat. The dark haired one is named Carl and blondie is Dean. Dean pretty much invites himself to the girls' picnic, opening the cooler and pawing through it like a bear. Marla is standing nearby, getting more ticked off by the second. I'm on Marla's side here--I hate when people welcome themselves to things that aren't their's without even asking. Joy tells Marla that there is plenty to go around and the guys should be allowed to join them. Joy, you just wanna show off your ASSets! Everyone eats except Marla. She stands off to the side, sulking and pouting. No-one is digging the attitude, understands it either! But hunger finally gets the best of Marla and she marches over to ask if they even left her a sandwich. Dean tells her she can have one if she asks nicely. Marla just says "I'm going to ask you nicely one more time to LEAVE!" Dean tells her that he and Carl are nice guys and after the picnic, they wanna go back to her house and party. Kind of forward, no? He doesn't even know these chicks! Marla politely informs him that she has an attack dog that will tear him a new one if he even thinks about setting foot on her parent's property. Dean gets pissed because Marla won't invite them up and smacks her. Holy crap. He claims he saw a bug on her arm and that's why he hit her, but I somehow doubt it. The guys leave a few minutes later. Claudia wants to know why Marla was so bitchy and Marla says she promised her parents that she wouldn't have guys over and she doesn't need any trouble. Ok then. They pack up and go home.

Later that day, Claudia, Joy, and Sophie are hanging out in Claudia's room talking smack about Marla. Joy tells Claudia that Marla wouldn't allow them to go back for Claudia when she was buried in the sand. "Marla said she was sure you had left the beach. She insisted we go up to the house with her." Claudia just says "Weird" rather than "PSYCHO" and touches her face which is still crispy-crunchy.

That evening, the girls are gathered in the huge dining room for dinner. Joy is telling "hilarious stories about her attempts to break up with a thick-headed boyfriend who refused to get what she was saying to him. The girls were roaring with laughter." It doesn't sound too funny...kind of pathetic, actually. Then Marla pipes up with a story of her own "about her father showing up in the wrong country for a business meeting and being totally confused as to why everyone was speaking Italian!" Marla, your dad might be a moron. After the laughter has died down and Alfred has cleared their dirty dishes, Marla mentions that they could hang out at the boardwalk. Everyone gets pretty excited about it, especially Sophie: "We've got to do bumper cars--and the house of mirrors. I love seeing myself skinny!" Aw. They all hop in Marla's Mercedes and arrive at the boardwalk 20 minutes later. They go the House of Laffs first in search of the mirror that will make Sophie look skinny. Next, they ride the Sizzler and after waiting in line for 20 minutes, they finally get to the bumper cars where Sophie suddenly turns into a "demon driver, intent on ramming everything in sight!" They go get some cotton candy next and unfortunately for Marla, they run into Carl and Dean. What are the odds? Marla immediately pounces, saying "What are you two doing here?" Does she own the boardwalk, too? Claudia wanders off on her own as the others jump in line for more bumper car action. She eats the rest of her cotton candy and stops to throw away the paper cone. As she does, she notices someone standing nearby watching her. Guess who? "The Ghost Boy!" Damn it, Claudia, he is NOT a ghost! He comes over and says "What did you call me?" Ha. Claudia makes some lame excuse about him disappearing like a ghost the day he helped her out of the sand. They walk along together and decide to ride the Ferris wheel. Ooo. I've always thought of the Ferris wheel as the make-out point of amusement parks. They talk on the ride, but Claudia doesn't really learn anything about this guy because he keeps his answers vague and stupid. Example: When Claudia asks where he lives, he says "I live everywhere. I float through the night sky. I haunt people." Geez, man, just answer the question and leave the ghost references out of it. Even though he's kind of dopey, Claudia suddenly realizes she really wants to kiss him. He never makes a move, though, and she's an old-fashioned kind of girl who believes the guy should ALWAYS make the first move. He starts rambling about the ocean and the full moon and tells Claudia that he's going to touch it. He actually stands up and pretends to grab for the moon. Dumbass. Claudia imagines him falling out to his death. Morbid much? She snaps back to reality and realizes that she was thinking of Alison, Marla's dead sister, and the tragic accident that resulted in her death.

We finally get the story about Alison through Claudia's flashbacks: it's the previous July at Camp Full Moon and Claudia, Marla, Joy, and Sophie are sitting around their bunk playing Truth or Dare. Alison "bops in" interrupting their game. Alison is a year younger than Marla, but the way she's described, I picture her as being like 7 or 8 years old. Even though Alison looked a lot like Marla, she wasn't as sophisticated or athletic as her sister and no-one really liked her. Which is why everyone treats her like crap as soon as she enters the bunk. Marla calls her "fish face" and Joy tells her they aren't doing anything that she would be interested in. We get inside Claudia's mind for a moment and learn her thoughts on Alison: "...had to admit she was a world-class brat. She never hung out with kids in her own bunk. She acted desperate to be accepted by Marla's friends and become part of Marla's group." See what I mean when I say they act as if she's 7 years old? Claudia even tells Alison that she's too young to play Truth or Dare. I don't consider 14 or 15 years old to be too young for that game. Marla starts harrassing Alison, but Alison insists that she wants to play. So finally they let her. She chooses the dare. Marla tells her that "tonight you cross Grizzly Gorge under the full moon." She only says this because she knows Alison is terrified of heights. But Alison, dying to impress, says she'll do it. The other girls manage to find some shred of humanity in their black hearts and try to persuade Alison to not do it, but she's determined. That night, the girls gather down by the gorge. Alison is standing at the tip looking at the log that has been laid across it. She makes it about two-thirds of the way across before her knees start to buckle. She begs the others for help, but they're too busy freaking out: some counselors are coming! They tell Alison to come back. As she's making her way back, the other girls start running towards the woods, away from the counselors. They assume that Alison is close behind, but "they didn't see Alison fall. They didn't hear the hard crack as Alison dropped into the boulder-strewn river, the splash as she was tossed into the rushing water."

Claudia is shaken out of her thoughts when Daniel asks her if she's ok. She blinks and realizes that she's in a Ferris wheel, not at camp. They get off the ride and they get seperated as Claudia goes to search for the other girls. They find her first. Joy comes running up holding a "hideous pink teddy bear" that Carl won for her. Marla says the bear looks just like him. Lighten up already!

When they get home, they all go straight to bed. As Claudia is lying in her room fully awake, she hears screams coming from Joy's room. Claudia gets to Joy's room first with Sophie and Marla following close behind. There are three giant leeches on Joy's arm. Gross. Joy is completely freaking out because, as evidenced by the worm situation, Joy hates all things creepy , crawly, and slimy. Joy tells everyone that someone must have the put them in her bed because they sure as hell weren't there when she got in it. Marla, of course, says she's telling Alfred about this. Cut him a break. After all the years of putting up with your shit, Marla, the man is probably contemplating suicide by now. After Marla leaves the room, Joy tells Sophie and Claud that she is sure Marla invited them to her mansion simply to torture them because of Alison? It kind of makes sense--Marla has thus far escaped any sort of "torture" which can only mean that she's the one doing it. Maybe. Marla comes in a few minutes later and says that Alfred is "just as baffled as we are." Duh. Did she honestly think he would know anything about it? Oh well! They all go back to their respective rooms. Claudia stays in her's for a nanosecond before deciding she's extremely thirsty. She goes down to the kitchen for some water and sees a "figure half-hidden by the pantry." Claudia automatically thinks it's Daniel. WHY? Well, at least she didn't say "GHOST BOY!" Thank heavens for the small things. But wait--she steps closer and sees that there is nothing there after all. My head is in my hands. Alfred comes in for a sip of water a few seconds later. Claudia asks if someone is living in the guest house or something and he tells her no. Claudia tells about the boy she thought she just saw and Al tells her that there is no way someone could get in what with the electrified fence and the gigantic guard dog. Claudia says "Oh." and goes back to bed. Is anything even remotely scary going to happen anytime soon??? Seriously, we're more than halfway through the book and we've gotten nothing but a sunburn and some leeches. Throw us a freakin bone here, Stine!

The next day, Claudia tells Marla about "seeing" someone standing in the kitchen the night before. Marla orders Alfred to call the cops so they can search every inch of the grounds. And then the girls go waterskiing! Well, kids, I wanted some action and I'm about to get it. Things get seriously screwed up from this moment on. Sophie is the first one to take a turn on the water ski. Everything is cool until Claudia glances behind the boat and notices that Sophie is nowhere to be seen. Finally, Claud spots her thrashing around in the water. Claud screams for Marla to turn the boat around. The boat slows and then stops completely. Marla claims the boat is stuck. HOW? Sophie is drowning and the other girls are sitting on their asses doing nothing. FINALLY Claudia jumps into the water and swims towards Sophie, but the current keeps pulling her in the other direction. After fearing that she will drown also, Claudia gets control and eventually makes her way to Sophie. And surprise! Look who pulls up in their boat just in time--Carl and Dean. Do these guys stalk these girls or something? They're always conveniently nearby. The guys take the girls to the Drexell's dock where they're reunited with Joy and Marla. The boys leave and Marla keeps saying how happy she is that Sophie is ok. Uh, what about Claudia? Claudia looks at the end of the rope hanging off the boat and uses her sharp detective skills to deduce that someone cut that rope. Marla denies that anyone could have done that, but then she changes her tune and suggests that maybe Carl and Dean did it. Ugh, Marla, shut up. They just saved your friends when you couldn't (or wouldn't) so cut them some slack. They all decide to drop the subject for now and go into the house for lunch.

Later, Joy once again brings up her theory that Marla invited them here only to torture them. Claudia and Sophie are still skeptical. Claud asks Joy why Marla would want to do such a thing to them. Joy's reasoning? "Because Marla must know that Alison's death wasn't an accident." Then what the hell was it? Through more of Claudia's flashbacks, we learn the answer. Apparently, when the girls were running away before the counselors saw them, Claudia heard Alison scream for help and then her body hitting the rocks below...and she didn't bother turning back or even telling anyone what she heard. Wow. Claudia tells Sophie and Joy that she'll call her mom to come and pick them up ASAP. Unfortunately, her mother can't be there until the day after tomorrow which leaves plenty of time for Marla to off them all. The girls think they can make it until then, though, if they just lie low. Marla walks in and the others freak out a little, worrying that she heard too much. But she just offers them some chocolate. Random much? I'd like some chocolate, though...

The next afternoon, everyone is doing seperate activities: Joy is in town with Carl (ooo la la), Sophie is taking a nap, Marla is writing more of those letters she's so fond of, and Claudia is off for a walk on the beach. She sees someone running along the beach ahead of her and thinks it's Marla. She calls out to her, but this girl just keeps running until she's out of sight. Claud just thinks it was some chick that looked like Marla. Everything after this moment is horrifying. Seriously. Claudia turns around and sees an "enormous white Irish wolfhound. Its narrow snout was lowered and its matted, wiry fur appeared to be standing up on its back." It stares at her for a few moments and then bares its teeth and starts growling. I would have wet myself by now, but Claud is pretty cool about it, saying "Easy now. Go home. Go home, boy, ok?" As soon as Claudia starts to back away, the dog starts running towards her. Claudia starts running as fast as she can, but the dog is gaining on her. She flips out and dives into the ocean in a last ditch effort to get away from this mutant mutt. The dog gets her anyway, sinking its teeth into her ankle. It eventually lets go, but it doesn't completely back off. It keeps snarling and growling at her. She swims harder thinking the dog will eventually get tired and back down. When she surfaces, she glances around for the dog and sees a SHARK instead. As if this situation couldn't get any worse! She (reasonably) panics and starts thrashing around in the water, but she tries to regain her composure by thinking of the fact that sharks are drawn to violent movement...and the blood pouring out of her ankle, but she really can't help that so she concentrates on the movement instead. She realizes she has swum into the riptide; its carried her away from the shark to her intense relief. She takes a deep breath and starts swimming again until she hears an "anguished squeal of pain." She turns and sees the shark attacking the dog. THE SHARK IS EATING THE DOG. "As Claudia gaped in horror, a geyser of blood boiled up from beneath the water. The foamy crest of a wave turned pink. The metallic smell of blood floated out over the tossing waves. Even from where she swam, Claudia could see the water darken from the wolfhound's blood." My stomach is turning just reading this. It gets slightly worse: "Claudia shut her eyes. But she opened them wide when something coarse bumped against her. Treading water, Claudia goggled at the disgusting object. She opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. What is it? She didn't want to look at it, but she couldn't pull her eyes away. She soon realized that it was a hair-covered chunk of meat. Part of the dog." I normally don't have a weak stomach, but I seriously feel pretty damn sick right now. Anyway, Claudia starts screaming, but realizes she can't just float around in the ocean screaming forever. So she starts swimming. She doesn't know where she's at and eventually blacks out.

When Claudia wakes up on the shore, Marla is hovering over her. She tells Claud that she saw the water carry her up onto the sand and she ran as fast as she could. Claudia stands up. Her ankle is killing her, but she's too upset to clearly explain to Marla how she injured it. Claudia suddenly realizes that Marla WAS the girl she saw running on the beach and that the wolfhound was Marla's dog. Did Marla actually set her dog on Claudia? It seems so. Claudia is even more sure of it when they near the house and she sees the fenced area where the dog was normally kept--the padlock to the gate is thrown to one side. Someone obviously let the dog out. Marla says she's going inside to find some antiseptic and bandages for Claud's ankle. Claudia uses this opportunity to hobble inside and search for Sophie and Joy. I don't blame her for wanting to get as far away from this place as she can. Claudia finds Sophie and tells her they have to get away quick. Sophie tells Claud that Joy hasn't come back from town. Marla comes into the room and fixes Claudia's wound. Marla goes to set up dinner and Joy bursts in a few minutes later. Claudia explains what happened to her and that they have to get out of here!!! The girls pack up and devise a shoddy plan to run into town and get the police. It's pouring rain and the girls can barely see through the downpour. They notice that something really stinks and that the smell is coming from the shed. Of course they have to investigate before they leave. Claudia pulls open the shed door...and Marla's lifeless body tumbles out. The body is a) smelly and b) turning purple. One would conclude that this person has been dead for quite a while. Another problem I have with this situation? The girls say they just saw Marla a few hours ago. It seems like it was literally 5 minutes ago. The girls stand around, trying to figure out what to do next. Alfred the Great isn't around and when they go inside to try the phone, it goes dead. How eerily convenient. They decide that they'll stick with the original plan of running to town for the cops. But the gate is electrified! They're trapped behind the gate with a killer! Claudia realizes there's a switch "in the back" that deactivates the gate. But before the gals can get to it, someone steps out of the shadows. I would welcome Ghost Boy right about now. But it's...Marla? Marla holding a pistol? This "Marla" tells the girls that the REAL Marla has been dead for a week. "Couldn't you tell by the smell?" "Marla" says she's actually Alison back from the dead. I hate these endings...they get so incredibly convoluted. Alison explains what actually happened after she fell off that log at Grizzly Gorge: "No-one in my family cared if I lived or died. So when a family pulled me out of the river, all broken and beat up and half drowned, and they were so nice and caring, I decided to stay with them. I pretended to have I wouldn't have to go back to my disgusting family! I decided this was my chance to start a new life. To be with a happy family. So I pretended I didn't know who I was, and and I stayed with them." Ok, time-out for a sec. How did these idiots not know it was Alison? How did they not recognize her? Seriously! I doubt their memories of Marla completely vanished within the span of a year. This is blowing my mind.

Alison asks the girls which one of them wants to die first. There are no takers so Alison points the gun at Claudia. Just as Alison is about to pull the trigger, someone bursts out of the guest house. It's Ghost Boy! I mean, Daniel! He dives at Alison and the lights immediately go out. So many coincidences! Alison starts running towards the gate, but Joy reminds her that it's electrified. Alison isn't worried ("The power is off, idiot!") and keeps running. Another coincidental occurance: just as Alison grabs the gate, a generator hums on and Alison is electrocuted. Daniel comes over and asks if she's dead. Must you ask? He really is a dummy. He better be glad he has his looks going for him... He tells the girls that he is Alfred's son and he's been secretly staying in the guest house because he's on break from college and wants to visit his dad. He didn't think the Drexell's would think too kindly of him staying there so he and his father never said anything. Ok? The book ends with Daniel and Claudia kissing and walking into the house. Hello? Two deads girls on the premises and all you people can think about is making out? Help me, God.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Boyfriend

*Technically, this isn't a Fear Street book, but it has a lot of the hallmarks of that series (a bitchy rich girl, "death", crazy ending) Side note: this cover sucks!*

Book Description:

Too bad about Dex. He was in love with Joanna. She broke up with him. And then he died. Joanna's very sorry, of course. But it's not her fault he's dead, is it? Besides, she never loved him. Boys are just toys, to be used and thrown away. But this time, Joanna's gone too far. Because Dex is back. From the dead. For one last date with her...

Main Characters:

Joanna - pretty blond rich girl with a daddy complex. Her mother and father divorced a few years ago and her dad ran off to Tucson with a "cheap-looking redhead". I think we're supposed to sympathize with Joanna, but I'm siding with the father here. Joanna's mother gets a shitload in alimony and child support so Joanna is living pretty well. Joanna transferred from public school to private school and she hasn't really made any friends yet. Wah wah wah.

Dex - Joanna's kind-of boyfriend. Dex is fairly good looking (he resembles Matt Dillon) and has a strong desire to become an actor. We're given a little background on his dramatic history (a few plays in high school in which the other actors sucked, making him look like a regular Marlon Brando) Dex is really in love with Joanna...unfortunately.

Pete - Dex's best friend and the object of Joanna's distaste. Pete is described from Joanna's point of view: "With his short, spiky hair, the diamond stud in his ear, and the heavy metal music rattling in his Walkman all the time, he was such an adolescent. What was he trying to prove--that he was cool or something?" Joanna is also an adolescent so I'm not really sure why she's so disgusted by that. Pete also has really bad skin which repulses Joanna. Go to hell, Jo.

Mary - It seems this is Joanna's only friend. Mary still goes to the public high school that Joanna transferred from so they don't see each other often. Mary shocks easily and is appalled by a lot of the things Joanna does (so am I, actually.) She's a brunette so of course she isn't as important as Joanna. Mary redeems herself at the end of this book, though.

Shep - Joanna's other love interest. Shep goes to the same school as Joanna and Joanna has been seeing him behind Dex's back. Shep has little sense of humor, but his personality doesn't really matter. He's rich, after all.

My Description:

This book was, dare I say it, fairly good! Seriously. I might have a hard time making fun of it. Except not.

The book begins with our "heroine" Joanna spying on the guy she's dating, Dex. Dex is waiting in front of the bookstore at the mall, pacing impatiently because he thinks Joanna is late. Joanna is actually standing a few feet away, hiding and watching him. She's enjoying the fact that he's obviously getting irritated. She laughs to herself as she leaves the mall. She just showed up to watch him squirm? What a bitch...and a waste of gas driving there.

Joanna goes home and calls Mary to gloat about what she did. Mary is, of course, shocked at Joanna. Then they start talking about Shep. Shep is basically a living Ken doll except the doll has more personality. Joanna compares Dex and Shep, stating that Dex isn't as rich as Shep. There is more to a person than their bank account! Mary has a crush on Dex, but she doesn't mention that to Joanna. Joanna tells Mary to hang on a sec because she has another call coming through. It's Dex and he's still at the mall! He says he thought they had a date and Joanna tells him she forgot. In the middle of the convo, Joanna switches back over to Mary without even telling Dex. Someone needs to teach this chick some manners. Joanna just can't wait to brag to Mary about how she dissed Dex. Mary insists Joanna is being really mean (she is!) and should cut this shit out (she should!). I think we all know that Joanna isn't giving in that easily...there's still 100 pages left, after all. Mary changes the subject by asking Joanna if she bought that fur coat she had her eye on. Joanna says yes, she certainly did and then remarks "I'm so spoiled. It's disgusting, isn't it?" Damn straight. I'm puking up my chicken nuggets just thinking about it. And Mary agrees! They end the conversation a few minutes later and Joanna decides to call Shep. Shep kind of sounds like a dog's name. Anyway, she makes a date with him for Saturday night. As soon as she hangs up, she looks out the window and theeeeeeere's Dex! He climbs in the window (houses have doors, dumbass, use 'em!) and tells her that it's a beautiful night and he wants her to come to the Promontory (some cliffs at the edge of town that serve as a popular make-out spot for the local teens) with him and Pete. Joanna doesn't really wanna because she doesn't like Pete but she goes anyway. They make out a little in Joanna's room (I thought she didn't like him?) and we find out that Dex smells "soapy sweet." Yeah, I don't get it either. They finally reel their tongues in and head out to the car where Pete is waiting with his trusty Walkman. When they get to the Promontory, Dex goes wild, running and shouting "I feel good!" He's been possessed by James Brown! He notices that Joanna really isn't paying attention to him so he jumps on the edge of a cliff and starts hopping on one foot. Joanna freaks and tells him to get down, but he just laughs. Things aren't so funny when he falls, though. Oh wait, he's just joking! Not funny. There was a little ledge right beneath the place where Dex jumped...ok then. Pete is nearby smoking a cigarette and wasn't paying attention to Dex's prank. Dex wants Pete to see him do it so he attempts it again. Unfortunately, when he lands on the ledge, it crumbles beneath him. Joanna and Pete hear a sound "like eggs breaking" as Dex hits the rocks. Joanna runs away. Pete calls out for her, but she just gets in the freaking car and leaves! Joanna's thoughts: "How could she stay? Her mother would take away her car. Take away her charge cards. Take away everything. For Dex? Stay and have her life ruined by Dex? She'd stay if it weren't already too late. She heard the horrifying sound when he hit the bottom." Holy shit! You asswipe! He could still be alive down there!!! She would rather have Dex die than not be able to use her fucking credit card? I mean, he never even did anything to her. He was a decent human being and she's gonna let him die like a rat in the gutter. Go fuck yourself with a red hot poker, Joanna!

While she's driving away, Joanna cons herself into thinking that she's actually running for help. Whatever! As she's thinking about Pete and Dex, karma kicks Joanna's ass: she's gets into a car accident. While she's in the hospital, Joanna dreams that she's back at the Promontory with Dex. "He ran past her, right over the cliff's edge. His legs scissored in midair. His hands flailed wildly above his head. He spun, turned to face her, an accusing look on his face. Then he started to drop." Ooo...ACCUSING. Joanna wakes up and sees her mother. Damn, this woman seems broken: "Joanna could see the crisscross of lines at the corners of her mother's eyes, the small pores of her made up cheeks, the crumbs of orange lipstick on her lips." CRUMBS of orange lipstick? Uh, ok. And then: "She hated the smell of her mother's makeup. So orangey. So ugly." I have never smelled makeup that smells like oranges. Maybe lipgloss or something, but whatever. Joanna falls asleep again and when she wakes up a few hours later, Pete is sitting beside her bed. They make awkward conversation for a few minutes and then sit in awkward silence...until Pete angrily asks Joanna if she's even wondering what happened to Dex. Joanna just sits there and Pete jumps up and tells her "Dex died, Joanna. He didn't make it. He died that night and you couldn't even bother to ask me about him." Heavy.

A few days later, Mary comes to visit. She brings Joanna a Snickers bar and tells her to hide it in case someone tries to take it away from her. I don't know why anyone would, but Mary is a doll for thinking of a shit like Joanna. They talk for a few minutes and the conversation eventually turns to Dex. Joanna confesses that she didn't feel anything at all when she found out Dex had died. Of course not. Mary is predictably shocked and leaves a few seconds later.

Weeks later, Joanna is out of the hospital and back on the dating scene. Yippee. She's chatting with her mom before her date and her mother brings up Dex. Joanna realizes that she never told her mom about Dex's death...and she doesn't plan to. Could she be any more avoidant? She's trying to act as if this kid never existed! She just tells her mom that she isn't going out with Dex anymore, she's now dating a rich schmuck named Shep. Everytime I say his name I roll my eyes. Her mother is happy about this because she knows Shep's family. She tells Joanna that Shep is much more appropriate (i.e. RICH) than Dex was. I hate rich snobs.

Joanna and Shep's date consists of them both kissing one another's ass...and going to a public high school dance. Remember, Shep and Joanna attend a private school (Landover). I guess they're slumming it this evening. Shep tells Joanna that it'll be "a total goof". Why? What's so funny about it? Anyway, after Joanna admires Shep's cashmere sweater and silver Jaguar ("I guess we'll be going in style to the Garland High hop!" The 50s called. It wants it's hop back.) they head off to the dance. And yes, it's as lame as you would think. As soon as Joanna enters the gym where the dance is taking place, she makes fun of what some girls is wearing: "Good lord--look at that girl's outfit. How tacky." Granted, the chick is wearing a fringed skirt and plastic cowboy boots (I swear) but that STILL doesn't give you the right to make fun! And Shep...well, Shep is just in a daze because he used to go to this high school and he remembers a lot of these people. He tells Joanna he thinks that plastic boot girl looks sexy. I think he's using the term 'sexy' a little loosely. After criticizing outfits, Joanna moves on to decorations: "They could have spent a few dollars to decorate this place better. I mean, balloons and crepe paper streamers? Get real." Shut. The. Fuck. Up. It's a frigging high school dance! What do you expect?! Shep just says "They can't afford to have their dances at a hotel ballroom the way we do at Landover." I bet they have ten times more fun than those Landover kids do, though. I picture the Landover boys and girls as being a little stiff. Anyway, they dance until 11:00 which is when Joanna starts whining and wanting to leave. Shep agrees and says goodbye to all his old friends. As they're leaving, he tells Joanna "I told you it would a goof." What the hell was so goofy about it? I know that high school dances aren't the height of sophistication, but I've never really thought of them as outright goofy. On the way home, Shep asks Joanna is she wants to see a movie next weekend and she says yes. He walks her to her door where she molests his face with her tongue. He walks off with a stupid grin on his face. Thank God it's over!

When Joanna goes inside, her phone rings. Guess who? It's Dex! The connection is a little fuzzy, but apparently he's calling from the fucking GRAVE so I guess a little fuzziness is expected. He just says hello and asks her how she's doing. Joanna slams the phone down and assumes that it's someone playing a stupid, cruel joke. Namely, Pete. She pushes it out of her mind and goes to bed. The next day, Joanna hangs around the house doing homework, watching old movies, and mooning over Shep. Very boring shit. The day after that is slightly more interesting. On the way to her French tutor's house, Joanna spots Dex. He just stands there staring at her. She calls to him, but he doesn't answer. A bus passes and suddenly Dex is gone. He was just waiting for the bus, Joanna, chill! Dead guys have places to be, too.

Later that night, Joanna is lying in bed trying to sleep. She hears a scratching sound outside...and then sees a hand pop up in the window. Dex pulls himself into Joanna's room and she's a lot cooler than I would be if a dead guy climbed through my window. I'd literally shit my pants and promptly have a heart attack immediately after. Joanna reasonably freaks out and tells him he's dead. He acts confused and then we find out that Dex isn't dead after all. Seriously? I feel ripped off...I thought this was a zombie story. Joanna explains that Pete told her that Dex was dead. Dex simply replies that Pete must have been so upset that night at the cliffs that he just assumed that Dex was dead. Joanna asks where Dex has been for the past two months and Dex says he was recovering from his injuries in a hospital upstate. Joanna accepts this and she and Dex make out for a little bit. And for once, she actually feels some real emotion. Of course she feels guilty about it because of Shep and everything. Forget Shep! Dex was practically dead for two months! Cut him some slack. She breaks the kiss and tells him she thought he was dead. Duh. He says he isn't and he'll prove it. Dex, I think you already proved it by walking, talking, see where I'm going with this? He tells her that they'll go out on Friday night and he'll prove it to her then.

The next chapter opens with Joanna breaking her date with Shep. Shep is whining like a little biotch and Joanna is thoroughly enjoying it. He asks her if he can stop by later and she tells him no, her mom has the flu and she wouldn't want him to catch it. Her mom isn't really sick, but like she would care if Shep would catch anything. Anyway, she leaves to go meet Dex at the mall. R.L. Stine really wants to drive it home that JOANNA IS RICH so he describes in detail what she's wearing (blue Ralph Lauren sweater and expensive fur coat) and driving (her mother's BMW). She finds Dex in front of the bookstore (deja vu anyone?) and he comes running up to her when he spots her. They see a movie that is described as "some kind of action comedy with Robert DeNiro grinning and shooting a lot of people and then driving a pick-up truck the wrong way on a freeway with a dozen police cars chasing him." Sounds like a real winner. Does this film actually exist or is it a figment of Stine's twisted imagination? Either way, I'm sure DeNiro would feel honored to have his name in a Stine novel. Anyway, as they're watching the film, Joanna notices that Dex smells like old fruit or meat that has gone bad. A far cry from the soapy sweet days of old! She doesn't think much more of it and the chapter ends there. Dex said he was going to prove to Joanna that he's alive...he didn't really prove anything, though.

The next day, Joanna is hanging out with Mary. When Joanna tells Mary that Dex is alive, Mary pratically has a coronary. Of course the conversation turns to Shep the Magnificent soon after. Joanna wonders what she should tell Shep about Dex. She decides that she'll string them both along for a while because it's fun to mess with people's emotions! Mary asks her if she still likes Dex or not and Joanna says that she's only seeing him because she feels guilty. Sweet. Joanna starts thinking about how bored she is with Mary and wishes that she would leave her alone. Joanna, I think that you should cling to Mary for dear life. She's pretty much the only friend you have... The phone rings and it's Dex. Mary asks to talk to him and Joanna actually says yes. Mary just says she's glad he's ok and such. Dex asks Joanna if she wants to go out again on Friday. She says yeah, even though she's sitting there thinking of Shit...I mean, Shep. They hang up and Mary goes home a second later.

Days later, Joanna is at her tennis lesson with her hottie instructor, Rod. She's kind of bitching, but not too much because Rod is a hot piece of ass...unfortunately, he's also an "inane idiot". You have to take the good with the bad, Jo. Joanna is practicing her backhand and staring at a woman on the next court over: "Look at that fatso over there, wearing a parachute for tennis shorts, she thought, snickering at the woman chasing a ball across the next court. If I looked like that, I wouldn't play tennis. I'd shoot myself instead." You won't have to shoot yourself. I'll do it for you. Rod jogs off to get more balls (tee hee) and Joanna decides to waste this free time by thinking about SHEP. Shut up about Shep! Damn. He's a shallow moron with more money than brains and you're wasting your time, sweetheart. Seriously. She's startled out of her thoughts when she sees Dex pacing beside the fence with his raquet. She does a double take because Dex is looking quite green. Rod comes back with the balls and they start to play again. When she glances back at the fence, Dex is gone.

After the lesson, Joanna showers and changes and as she comes out of the locker room, fucking SHEP is waiting for her. Kill me now. They walk together, chatting about tennis. Shep brags about his skills and I vomit in my mouth. Joanna isn't paying attention (for once!) to Shep because she spots Dex again. Joanna looks at him and "Dex's eyes caught hers. They suddenly seemed to glow ruby red, like the red eyes in a bad flash photo. Glowing red eyes like a dog's eyes at night." Dog's eyes glow red at night? You learn something everyday, I suppose.

Shep and Joanna are at school a few days later, flirting shamelessly. It's the end of the day and Shep is kind of harrassing Joanna about why she can't go out with him on Friday night. She just says that her mother is forcing her to study to make up for all the school she missed when she had her accident. Shep finally drops the subject and Joanna thinks about how grateful she is that he's so gullible. For this moment only, I feel sorry for Shep. On her way home, Joanna thinks about how nice it is to have two boyfriends: "It was a lot like having two winter coats. It was nice to be able to trade them off." You're cold, lady, you're just so damn cold! Will I ever find a likeable main character in any of Stine's books?

On Friday night, Joanna and Dex go to a club called Barks. People, I seriously cannot stop laughing at this shit. They get inside the club and the first thing out of Joanna's mouth is "How tacky!" and for once, I have to agree. There are giant dogs painted all over the walls and a big moose head over the entrance. WTF? Dex laughs and says "I knew you'd like it." He's joking...I think. The dance floor is small and a Gloria Estefan record is being played...ok, whatever floats your boat. Joanna notices a "particularly ugly wall painting of a German shepherd rearing up on its hind legs with its head tilted back in a howl." This place is fucked up. Dex drags Joanna out on the dance floor. They're only out there for a few seconds (long enough for Joanna to smell that nasty stank that seems to float around Dex these days) and Dex runs off. Joanna follows and asks him what's wrong. He says it's just loose teeth. *silence* Joanna chalks it up to his fall and shuts up about it. Dex says he's going to go get them some Cokes. Joanna watches him walk off. Suddenly he stops and "[Joanna's] breath caught in her throat.She suddenly felt sick. She was sure she had just seen Dex reach up and pull a big chunk of skin off his face." Only at Barks!

The next night, Joanna is attending a charity drive with her mother. She, of course, makes time to express her disgust for the surroundings ("Ugh! Those hideous portraits!") and she's pissed because she has to serve punch and pretend to be polite. Joanna's thoughts turn to Shep and Dex. Does she have nothing else in life to think of? The place is mostly filled with older ladies and one of these charming geriatrics comes up to Joanna and tells her that she heard Shep and Joanna are dating and that she thinks they're a perfect couple. Do not encourage this union, lady. It is slowly sucking my soul out of my body. Joanna decides then and there that she is going to break things off with Dex. After a few more hours of boredom and punch serving, Joanna and her mother leave. Joanna's mom tells her to take the car on home because she is going out with "the Waynes and the Sturbridges" and they'll drop her off later. Mom likes to par-tay. The parking attendant brings the car around and Joanna recognizes him immediately: Pete. They make small talk and then Joanna tells Pete that she saw Dex last week. Pete gets really pissed off because he thinks Joanna is just messing with him. He tells her "He's dead, Joanna. I saw him die. And I saw him at his funeral. He's dead forever and that's the truth." Another curveball!

As Joanna drives home, she thinks about the things Pete said. She thinks he's just messing with her mind. Dex is no ghost! Joanna gets home, makes herself some tea, and relaxes in an armchair to think about dead guys and probable liars. Her mother arrives home just as Joanna is deep in thought. Mom was only gone for like 20 minutes? What was the point of "going out" at all? She didn't have time to do anything! Oh well. Anyway, her mother starts gabbing about the charity event and Joanna just tunes her out and thinks about Dex: "She thought about how he had changed. The green tinge of his skin. The stiff, straight legged walk, the musty stale odor, the loose tooth, the skin that peeled off like...a zombie. Night of the Living Dead (LOVE!)" Her mom finally stops talking and Joanna tells her that she needs to go out. Her mother doesn't want her to because it's getting fairly late, but Joanna goes anyway. Joanna gets in the BMW and drives to Dex's house because she's just gotta know if this dude is a zombie.

As she's driving through Dex's neighborhood, Joanna does what she does best: judgement! She can't help but ruminate on how claptrap the houses are (if this were a Fear Street book, this street would be Fear Street) and how small they all are. Dex's house is exceptionally junky and Joanna thinks "Do I really know someone who lives here?" *sigh* She knocks on the door, but no-one answers. She starts to back off the porch, but someone behind her grabs her shoulder. She screams, turns around, and finds Dex standing there. Dex is looking pretty broke-ass: "His skin was pea-soup green. His eyes, still not blinking, were red. His skin was peeling. His forehead was pocked and cratered, as if pieces of skin had fallen off. His black hair, once so beautiful, looked as if it had slipped to one side. The skin was missing from his scalp and a patch of gray showed through from underneath. His skull?!" Personally, I think Joanna should run like hell, but instead she just asks him if he's ok. Yeah, he sure looks ok. He smiles at Joanna and she notices that all his teeth are gone. I laugh out loud when he asks Joanna if she'd like a kiss.

The next day, Joanna's mother comes into her room to wake her up for church. Yeah right. Joanna says that she's sick and doesn't wanna go. Her mother believes her and leaves. Joanna lies in bed and thinks about the night before. She starts to feel seriously freaked out so she calls Mary. That's very considerate of you, waking your friend up early on a weekend. Mary says she'll be there in an hour. When Joanna hangs up, she hear's a tapping sound at the window. She freaks, thinking it's Dex. But don't worry. It isn't some undead freakshow. It's just a friendly pigeon. Joanna takes a shower and goes downstairs. Mary arrives a few minutes later, yelling "Coffee!" Yeah, when it's early in the morning, I can only manage one word, too (except mine isn't "Coffee!" It's more like "Shit!") Joanna makes the damn coffee and then tries to explain to Mary what happened the night before. She says she thinks Dex is sick or something. The girls come to the conclusion that Dex has some weird disease. If you call death a weird disease, then yeah, he's got it bad. A few minutes later, the phone rings. It's Pete. He tells Joanna she has to get the hell out of her house because Dex is coming for her. Holy shit. Pete tells her that Dex is indeed back from the dead and he's come back to punish Joanna for being such a hardcore biotch. Pete hangs up and Joanna just sits there feeling strange. As she hangs the phone up, she hears the doorbell. Joanna flips out, but honestly, if a zombie were coming to your house to kill you, do you really think he'd use the bell? I doubt it. It's only Shep! Joanna is freaking out, trying to explain to Shep and Mary about the whole Dex thing. Shep and Mary just stand there looking at her like nothing is happening whatsoever. Shep even says he'd like a cup of coffee. Your friend is having a nervous breakdown. Worry about the fucking coffee later! Mary and Shep really don't seem to care about Dex killing Joanna. It's only when Joanna says "He'll kill us ALL!" that they start moving their asses. Suddenly they hear a loud banging noise and the front door is blown inward against the wall. Shep didn't close the damn door because he "thought the maid would." You lazy piece of crap. You can't even shut the damn door by yourself?! Dex enters the room in all his red-eyed glory. Pete runs in right behind him, begging him to stop. Dex says to Joanna "You shouldn't have left me to die, Joanna." and picks up a huge kitchen knife. Luckily, Shep knocks the knife out of Dex's hand. Joanna dives for the knife and stabs Dex in the chest. One would think that this would the end of it all, but one would be mistaken. Pete says to Joanna "What have you done? You killed him Joanna! You killed him!" Well, duh. That was the point. Joanna is shocked and asks him what the hell he's talking about. Pete says "It was just a joke. Just stage make-up. It was all a gag, Joanna. To pay you back." Uh-oh. Joanna calms herself with the reassurance that it was in self-defense because she thought Dex was going to kill HER first. As if murdering someone isn't bad enough, Mary tells Joanna that they can't call the police. They should all drag the body out to the woods and bury it there. Joanna is very enthusiastic about this because it lets her off the hook completely. I'm hating these kids right now. Shep is the only one who says it's wrong and that he won't take part in the burial. Mary and Pete drag Dex away and Joanna and Shep stand there instead of wiping up the blood. Joanna hears the housekeeper come in and grabs a knife and cuts Shep's palm. Uh, ok? When the housekeeper comes into the kitchen, Joanna tells her that Shep has had an accident and that's where all the blood came from. Shep and Joanna leave the housekeeper to her work. Shep leaves, but before he does he tells Joanna "You're not really human. I had no idea how cold you really are." Finally!

The next week or so goes by in a blur for Joanna. Shep completely avoids her. Hahahaha. On Friday afternoon, Joanna has another tennis lesson. This time it's with an instructor named Gary. What happened to Rod? Anyway, Joanna is totally unfocused and throughout the entire lesson, she keeps staring at the spot where she saw Dex the last time she had a lesson here. Her mind turns to the fact that he is now lying in a shallow hole in the woods. Pleasant thoughts! Gary asks her what's up, but she just turns and runs off.

When she gets home, Joanna has dinner with her mother, but she isn't too hungry. She goes upstairs to call Mary, but the phone rings. And oh my heavens, it's Dex. WTF? He just says "It's me. Dex. I'm back, Joanna. This time I really DID come back. See you." Joanna flips out as usual and drives over to Mary's house. She knocks on the door and as she does, she starts to smell something really terrible...Dex comes up behind her and says "Joanna, why did you kill me? Look, I'm still bleeding." Damn it, would you just DIE already?! Joanna reaches up and starts pulling chunks of "plastic makeup" off his face. He isn't dead after all. This is getting on my last nerve. Dex pulls out a knife and tells her it's real. Doubt it. Dex explains that he's still pissed off at her. That when he "died" a second time, Joanna didn't even care. She just wanted to get him away from her. Joanna somehow gets the knife away from Dex and tells him that it's his turn to die again! AGAIN? He hasn't died even once, apparently. Mary comes running out of her house, screaming " Get away from him! Were you really going to kill him? Haven't you done enough to him?" Apparently, Mary was in on the whole thing. She and Dex are an "item". Mary tells Dex that she wants to kill Joanna (hurry up!) but Dex just tells her that they should go back inside now. Joanna watches them go. She looks down and spots the knife. She picks it up and figures out that it's a phony stage prop. That explains everything. Well, one thing anyway.

Joanna goes home and cries a lot. Once she's calmed down enough, she calls Shep and says "Shep, I have to talk to you. I'm back from the grave." Shut up, Joanna. The last line of the book: "He didn't understand what she meant. She hoped he'd give her a chance to explain."

I feel like I've been on a wild goose chase...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Silent Night (Super Chiller)

Book Description:

'Don't open that present!' If only Reva Dalby had listened to that warning. But beautiful, cold Reva won't listen to anyone. Reva thinks she can have whatever -and whoever- she wants. After all, her daddy owns Dalby Department Stores. Now, someone has some surprises in store for her. Robbery? Terror? Even murder? Someone wants to treat Reva to a holiday she'll never forget. Holiday cheer quickly turns to holiday chills for Reva. Someone is stalking her, someone trying to get to her. Her money can't help her. No-one can. After all, who can you turn to when murder comes gift-wrapped?

My Description:

The book begins with a prologue in which our sweet little Reva is "working" behind the perfume counter at her daddy's department store. By "working" I mean she sighs a lot and wastes time examining her nail polish and make-up. We get a taste of Reva's bitchiness on the second page: "...two salesgirls, blonde model types, had scurried to wait on a dumpy woman in a stained, purple sweater-coat [WTF is a 'sweater-coat'?]...How tacky, Reva thought scornfully. That woman is beyond make-up. She should go straight to plastic surgery. And look at the bleach job on that one over there. Or is her hair naturally green? Reva snickered. Making fun of the customers was the only thing that got her through the day. They were just so pitiful." Damn, bitch! And that isn't all, oh no. On the next page, Reva talks back to her supervisor, Arlene Smith. Arlene asks Reva to begin stocking the shelves with the new Chanel shipment and Reva says "Gee, I can't. I just did my nails this morning. I don't wanna wreck my nails. Sorry." I'm sure she's sooooooo sorry. Arlene gets more and more angry while Reva just sits and smirks at her. Arlene finally storms off. Reva turns her attention back to her beloved nails. A man comes over and tries to ask for help, but she just ignores him. After he wanders off, Reva applies some lipstick and cries out in pain. She sees blood dripping from her lip and glances at the tube of lipstick. Someone put a needle in her lipstick. I don't know who did it, but I love them for it. The last sentence of this incredibly painful prologue? "Who would do such a vicious thing to her?" Who WOULDN'T do such a vicious thing to her?!

Ah, anyway, the first chapter takes us back two weeks before the needle action. Reva is driving around in her Volvo with her kind-of boyfriend, Hank Davis. Hank is a giant football player with short blonde hair and a diamond stud in his ear. They've been going out for six months and Reva is starting to get really bored with him. She pulls over to the side of the road and tells him that they're through. Hank is a little pissed and wants to know why. While Hank is pleading with Reva to tell him why, we get this: "Honey, you're too big to whine that way, Reva thought cruelly." This chick is cold. Finally, Reva says "I just decided to start the year off with someone more interesting." At least she's being honest. Hank flips out a little and I honestly can't see why. Reva is a total bitch and I can't imagine any guy would want to put up with her shit. She must put out. Anyway, Reva tells Hank to "take a walk" because she's "got to run". Yes, she's leaving him on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, just like Lindsay/Marissa did to Arnie in The Dead Lifeguard! Hank tells her she'll be sorry as he gets out of the car to begin his walk of shame. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya! Reva starts to drive away, but before she does, she rolls down her window and calls to Hank. He jogs over and she says "Happy holidays!" and leaves him in the dust.

As she's driving, she's already thinking about what guy she wants to go after next. Hank who?! The guy she has in mind? Mitch Castelona. That sounds like a character from an 80s soap opera. Mitch is a tennis player with thick black hair and cute dimples and unfortunately for Reva, he already has a lady friend named Lissa Dewey (she's described as "drippy"). Reva turns on the radio and "Silent Night" is playing. Reva laughs and thinks about how silent the night is for Hank right about now. I wish Reva would get in a car accident...but no, she makes it to Dalby's Department Store safely. For some reason she comes to pick up her father every evening so they can drive home together. Ever since Reva's mother passed away years ago, they've been very close. And I'm totally creeped out. Reva goes inside the store and freaks out about the silence and the mannequin that seemingly snuck up on her. She comes upon Mr. Wakely, the head of security, who just says "Excuse me." and walks off. Uh, ok, sure, you're excused. Finally, Reva finds her father and he tells Reva that he just fired Mr. Wakely. Reva feels kind of bad (say what?!) because she knows Mr. Wakely's son, Mickey, from school and that family is kind of poor. Mr. Wakely was fired for drinking on the job. Well, Mr. Dalby, if you are as much of an asshole as your daughter, I don't blame Mr. Wakely for hitting the Jack! Mr. Dalby asks Reva if she has four or five friends that would be interested in coming to work there. Reva gets all excited (why?) and plans to call Mitch Castelona as soon as she gets home; if she has a job to offer Mitch, he'll surely leave his girlfriend! WTF? Seriously?

So yeah, Reva calls Mitch and asks him if he'd like a job and Mitch is pretty enthusiastic about it. Ok, I don't get it. These kids are rich, right? Wouldn't they be spending their Christmas breaks on their own island or something? I can't imagine them getting all pumped up about working the cash registers in a department store. Reva flirts a little with Mitch, but she loses her thunder when Mitch asks if Lissa could work there, too. Reva thinks about Lissa for a moment: "...the drippy little bleached blonde with that little girl face who everyone thinks is so cute. Lissa has as much personality as a sponge mop." At least she isn't a bitch. Reva obviously doesn't want Lissa working there, but she tells Mitch that Lissa can work there, too. "Why not? Reva told herself, unable to suppress a cunning smile. Having Lissa right there will make it even more interesting when I take Mitch away from her." Mitch tells Reva that Lissa is "right here" and he puts her on the phone. Lissa thanks Reva for hooking her up and Reva explains that Lissa should wear her very best clothes for her first day because she'll be working the perfume counter. Lissa says sure and they hang up. Reva neglected to tell Lissa that all Lissa will be doing is loading shelves in a basement stockroom.

After Reva hangs up the phone, her cousin, Pam Dalby, calls her. Reva is jealous of Pam's good looks (she's blonde of course) but not of the fact that Pam is poor and lives in a ramshackle house on Fear Street. I was wondering when Fear Street was gonna play into this! Reva mentally refers to Pam as "Miss Pretty Puss" and "Miss Sweet As Apple Pie" Grow up, Reva. Pam asks Reva if there are any jobs available at Dalby's and Reva lies and says no. Pam hangs up soon after and now we get her POV which is a welcome relief from Reva. Pam is pissed because she somehow knows that Reva is lying. She thinks more about Reva and how everyone at Shadyside High hates her. HA! Pam tries to call her boyfriend, Foxy, but he isn't home. Is her boyfriend a drag queen? Or perhaps a strong black woman? Then she calls her friend, Mickey Wakely (remember his alcoholic dad who got fired?) and plans to meet with him at the local 7-Eleven. When she arrives, we get Mickey's full description: short, jug ears, blond hair, blue eyes, freckly, goofy, bad complexion, has a passionate love affair with chocolate. Mickey's friend, Clay Parker, is also hanging out. Clay is the opposite of Mickey: slicked back brown hair, mysterious scar over his right eyebrow, steel gray eyes, troublemaker. Sounds like a comic book villain. Anyway, Mickey is freaking out because the store doesn't sell Zagnuts. They all grab some things and head over to the register to pay. The fat ugly cashier man tries to make Mickey empty his pockets because he's convinced Mick is going for a five finger discount. Clay chooses this moment to step in and be a wiseass: "I've never seen a pig that could grow a mustache." Ouch. Clay keeps antagonizing the cashier until the guy yells for someone in the back to call the cops. Clay starts shoving the guy's head into the cash register and then he, Mickey, and Pam run outside where they hear the police sirens. Damn, the cops move quick in Shadyside. I guess they have to, what with all the murders and such occurring constantly. They get into Pam's car and at first it won't start. Eventually it does and they take off with the police in close pursuit. Yes, kids, this has just turned into an episode of Cops. The cops chase them, but Clay won't pull over. After several crazy turns, Clay finally loses the police and they all have a good laugh about the whole thing. Yee haw. It turns out Clay did indeed steal something. All that trouble for a can of jalapeno dip. Was it worth it? I doubt it. All Clay is gonna get out of this is a terrible case of the shits. Anyway, they're all talking and Mickey mentions that his poor pops just lost his job which leads to Pam mentioning the fact that she can't find a job which leads to Clay mentioning that Mitch and Lissa (how does he know them?) got jobs where Pam wanted to work. Pam is pissed because she now KNOWS that Reva lied to her earlier. She vows revenge on Reva. YAY!

The next chapter opens with Reva (barf) driving along in her car trying to find something besides "Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer" to listen to on the radio. Side note: I used to fucking LOVE that song when I was a kid! Coincidentally, I listened to it often with my grandma. Anyway! Reva sees some dude she knows walking on the sidewalk. I'm surprised she doesn't run him over...she just stops to talk with him. His name is Robb Spring and he used to "follow her around like an adoring puppy" but she would never go out with him because he's overweight. What a shallow bitch! I'm not sure how many more times I will have to use the word "bitch" but I predict it will be many. "I couldn't go out with such a buffalo, Reva told herself." BITCH! Why is she even bothering to stop and talk with this guy if she is so repulsed by him? Because her daddy needs a department store Santa and Robb is built perfectly for it. Robb agrees and Reva decides to play a little "joke" by telling him he'll be doing public relations. She can't wait to see his face when he realizes he'll be playing Santa. Blah. Later that night, Reva is at home babysitting for her little brother, Michael. After Michael goes to bed, someone knocks on the's Hank, trolling for booty. Just joking, Hanky needs a job, too! Reva says no and Hank gets a little agressive so Reva whistles for her giant Doberman, King, who comes running and bites down on Hank's arm while Reva watches in amusement. The dog finally lets go and Hank runs to his car saying "I'll pay you back!" To which Reva replies "Don't you like to play with King?" Seriously, guys, I'm sure how much more of her bitchdom I can take. She's fucking horrible! Yeah, I know she's fictional and everything, but you know there's probably some chick out there that acts just like this!

The next chapter opens with Reva at work. Reva is cracking up because Lissa showed up wearing a really nice skirt and blouse. Lissa noticed that everyone else was wearing jeans and sweatshirts so she asks Reva what's up. Reva just keeps laughing in her face. She eventually stops laughing long enough to ask Lissa for forgiveness, but Lissa just glares at her. Lissa is given permission to go home and change. After Lissa leaves, Robb arrives and gives Reva a verbal lashing. Reva just laughs and says "You're perfect for Santa. You won't even need any padding!" Reva walks off to her department, laughing to herself, when suddenly someone drags her into a darkened supply room. It's Hank! This guy is a glutton for punishment. He tells Reva that he's paying her back for Sunday night (the dog incident) and then he tells her that he works there now as a security guard. Reva is kind of ticked off and Hank just says he'll be watching her on the monitors. Ok, Creepy McCreepshow.

And now we're back to Pam, Clay, and Mickey. Clay is playing around with a knife. Yeah, that's a good idea. Let the psycho have a knife. They're all hanging out in Mickey's living room while Mickey's dad hangs out alone in the kitchen drinking beer. Mickey tells Clay and Pam that his dad has been drinking nonstop since he got fired and that he never leaves the house except to buy beer. Uh, ok? There are other jobs in this world! Start looking! Pam changes the subject by telling the guys that her boyfriend, Foxy, got a job at Dalby's. I still can't get over his name. FOXY. Are you shitting me?! Anyway, Pam says she still wants to get back at Reva. Mickey is pissed at the Dalby's, too, because of his dad. Clay says he has a way to get back at Reva and everyone will have a good Christmas: "I've already worked out the night security at Dalby's. I'm going to rob the store." I think we all saw that one coming. Clay asks Mickey and Pam if they'd like to come along. He tells them that it won't be like an actual robbery, it'll be more like Robin Hood because they'll be taking stuff from the rich and giving it to the poor (i.e. themselves). Whatever will help you sleep at night, Clay. So Clay knows one of the security guards who hates the Dalby's, too, and the guy just laughed when Clay TOLD HIM that he wanted to rob the place. What kind of fucking idiot tells a security guard his plans to rob a store? This particular security guard happens to think it's a great idea but still. Clay says that the security guard will open the door for him, let him take what he wants, and then pretend like nothing ever happened. Clay once again asks Mickey and Pam if they wanna be part of it. Mickey does, but Pam refuses because it's wrong. Someone knocks on the door. It's the famous Foxy! Pam tells Mickey and Clay not to say anything because Foxy is a straight arrow kind of guy and wouldn't like the idea of them robbing a place. And the chapter is over. We don't even get to know how Foxy got his nickname? Assuming that is indeed a nickname...I pray.

The next chapter opens with Pam and Reva talking on the phone. The conversation consists of Reva telling Pam she's lucky because she doesn't have to work and Reva telling Pam that her dad wanted her to invite Pam over to their house for Christmas Eve. After they hang up, Reva starts thinking about Mitch. She's pissed because he isn't falling all over her like she thought he would. HE HAS A GIRLFRIEND, YOU STUPID BITCH!!!!! Oops, kinda lost it there for a second. She gets ready for work and as she's going out the door, her little brother asks her to take him with her. She says she will some other time. She doesn't want her little bro to witness her dry humping some guy! When she arrives at work, she finds Mitch in the stockroom. Run, Mitch!!! For the love of God, RUUUUNNNNNN!!!!! Reva tries to act all sexy, but Mitch isn't having it and I love him for it. He tells her that they need to talk and Reva says "I don't want to talk. I want to do this..." and then kisses him. Mitch loses a few points for kissing her back. Reva is really getting into when she hear's someone say "Whoa!" She turns around and Lissa is standing in the doorway. Busted! Lissa is understandably pissed and Reva has the audacity to say to her "We're kind of busy right now." Holy shit! Lissa, lay down the SMACK! Lissa just runs away crying and Mitch runs after her. Reva follows him out. He's just standing there, looking around for Lissa. She's disappeared. Reva is still all up on him, but he isn't having it. Yet the more he resists, the more she tries to sink her claws in. Reva spots Hank coming their way and she turns the annoying up a notch. She's hanging all over Mitch as Hank passes them by. Mitch tells her to get off of him, that what they did in the stockroom wasn't right. Reva finally takes off to the perfume department. She's 15 minutes late and her supervisor (Arlene) is ticked off. Arlene tells Reva that someone left a package for her. Reva eagerly opens it. It's a bottle of perfume...or so it seems. Reva notices something dripping off the bottom of the bottle. It's blood. She drops the bottle and blood splashes all over her. Karma sucks. Reva notices a gift card that was inside the box. It says "Happy Holidays From A Friend" We all hope to have such good friends! Reva assumes that it's from Hank so she goes to confront him. He denies it, Reva gets pissed, and runs to tell her daddy in the hopes that she can get Hank fired.

Suddenly, Reva hears gunshots and someone screaming. Her father runs out of his office, sees Reva covered in the blood from the perfume bottle, and passes out because he thinks she's been shot. Eventually, he comes back around and a security guard comes up and tells them that it wasn't gunfire. It was a power surge and the noise? " The lights started to pop, dozens of them all at once. Then the whole thing just shorted out." How random. Why was there a power surge? And wouldn't it have affected MORE than just a string of Christmas lights? Reva leaves a few minutes later. On her way home, she's followed by someone driving a white Taurus. She starts to panic and I'm hoping against hope that this guy dismembers her body and throws the pieces in a river. What? You weren't thinking the same thing? Well, he doesn't do that, in any case. Reva makes it home and when she jumps out of her car, the creepy man also jumps out of his. Check this out: he comes running up to her and says "Your taillight. It's broken. I accidentally bumped into it back in Dalby's parking lot. I'm really sorry." You should have just drove off, sir, like any normal person. Especially in this case. But I guess since it's the holidays and, you still should have drove off. The guy gives her his insurance card and such and then leaves. Reva is all embarrassed because she thought he was some psychotic freak.

The next chapter opens with your friends and mine -Pam, Clay, and Mickey- on their way to rob Dalby's. I get the sneaking suspicion that this little plan of their's isn't going to go off without a hitch. Pam keeps saying that she's sick, but the guys seem pretty cool about the whole thing, talking about what they're going to take. Pam pulls into the parking lot and finds an especially dark area to park in. They all get out of the car and Mickey and Pam are shocked when Clay shows them the gun he brought just in case. They make it inside and Mickey is all excited because they have the whole store to themselves. Pam is still feeling ill about the whole deal and Clay is acting like an overbearing jackass. The security guard that was supposed to meet them there is nowhere to be found. They start to pick up some electronics, but they, like the amatuers they are, forgot to bring bags or something to carry their loot. They decide they'll make multiple trips to Pam's car with the junk. As they're grabbing some things, they spot a security guard coming towards them...but it isn't the one that is SUPPOSED to be there. He tells them "Don't move, don't talk." I told you this plan would go awry! The guard tells them to put their hands in the air (like ya just don't care! He-ey!) But the kids just start running instead. Then Clay turns around and SHOOTS THE GUARD. Smooth move, asshole. They all run outside, away from the scene of the crime. When they get to the spot where Pam parked, they notice that the car is gone. Oh wait--these idiots just came out the wrong door. They see Pam's car and jump in, all the while hearing police sirens getting closer. Pam drives them all home and that's all she wrote.

The next morning, Pam wakes up and thinks to herself "It was all a dream!" My mouth fell open when I read that..."What a waste of 10 pages!" I thought. But no, it actually happened. Pam is just in a little bit of denial. She starts thinking about how awful her life will be when everyone finds out what happened. She hears this on the radio while she's eating breakfast: "A break-in at Dalby's Department Store last night..." The reporter says that a guard was killed and $25,000 was taken from a safe, but Pam knows that can't be right. Yeah, they killed a guard, but they didn't take no money! Pam runs to call Clay and this book gets even more outrageous when Clay tells Pam that he didn't kill the guard: "My gun wasn't loaded. I just carried it for show." Are you fucking kidding me? Then who did it? Hmmm? The chapter ends there so I guess I won't find out anytime soon.

The next chapter begins with Reva's little brother, Michael, begging her to take him to the store with her. Once again, Reva tells him no. Reva and her father leave and there's never any mention of a babysitter or anything for Michael (he's only 6 years old). They probably just chain him to a post in the basement, throw some food and water down, and tune the TV to Nickelodeon. That'll keep him! Anyway, on the way to work, Reva and Dad talk about the robbery. When they arrive at the store, all the employees are wringing their hands over the robbery. All thoughts of this robbery crap leave Reva's mind when Mitch asks to talk to her in private. Ok, I thought Mitch was repulsed by Reva, but apparently not because he doesn't wanna talk after all. He just wants to make out. Mitch, you're dead to me. When Mitch comes up for air, he tells Reva that Lissa broke up with him because of what happened in the stockroom. Reva thinks to herself "That was easy. If only Mitch weren't such a wimp, I'd enjoy this more." Bitch. Mitch says that since he's not going out with Lissa anymore, he figured that he and Reva could get together sometime. And Reva turns him down. Bitch! I mean, Mitch is a little shitty, too, but Reva pretty much planned this whole thing and now she doesn't want anything to do with him? Mitch is totally pissed. Reva just walks off. When she gets back to her department, she discovers she has another package waiting for her, this one being quite large. Hopefully this one won't be a bloody mess. Reva opens it and screams because she thinks it's a human corpse stuffed in the box, but it's actually just a mannequin. And once again, there's a gift card that says "Happy Holidays From A Friend". Reva runs off like the whiny little shithead she is.

So what's happening on the Pam/Clay/Mickey front? Nothing much. They're all hanging out at Mickey's house again. His dad leaves to go buy more beer...I'm surprised this guy hasn't succumbed to alcohol poisoning yet. Pam brings up the subject of the robbery AGAIN. She asks Clay what happened to the guard that was supposed to be there, but Clay says he has no idea. The phone rings a few minutes later and a strange voice says "I saw what you did. I want my share." The chapter ends there. Damn!

The next day, Pam is hanging out with Foxy. They're watching TV when the phone rings. Here we go again. Pam picks up and hears the same strange voice: "I want $10,000 or I'm telling the police. I saw you. I saw you kill the guard. I saw everything. I want $10,000 to keep quiet. I'm coming for it soon." Pam freaks out and tells the caller that they don't have any money and the caller hangs up. She starts crying and breaks down and confesses everything to Foxy who is sympathetic. He tells her she should tell the cops, but Pam says no. Foxy suggests that they visit Clay. They drive to Mickey's house (does Clay live there?) and tell Clay about the calls (because apparently Clay lives there now). Clay just says "I'll kill him." With that little pop gun? Shut up, Clay.

Aaaaaand now we're back to Reva. I love the title of this chapter: "Everyone Hates You, Reva" It's true! It's so true! So it's Thursday morning and Reva is at work doing anything BUT work. Seriously, her father is paying her for doing jackshit. Anyway, Reva pays a little visit to Hank in order to tell him to stop the stupid games. She ends up apologizing for her cruelty in the past right before accusing Hank all over again for all the bad things that have been happening to her (the needle in the lipstick, the bottle of blood, the mannequin). Hank still denies that he did anything at all and Reva still doesn't buy it. Hank tells her that he feels sorry for her and "everyone hates you. Everyone. I can think of ten people who hate you enough to put a needle in your lipstick." Score! Reva says "You're crazy! You're really sick!" Hank tells her he isn't being cruel, he's only explaining why he feels sorry for her. Hahahahaha. He challenges her to think of one friend she has and of course Reva can't think of anyone because everybody really does hate her! And with good reason! Reva tells some sob story about her mother's death and blah blah blah...none of it excuses her behavior. This interlude ends with Reva crying on Hank's shoulder.
Bounce back to Pam. It is now Thursday night and Pam wants to see her beloved Foxy. She is walking along when someone grabs her and pulls her behind a shrub. The person tells her not to scream and not to turn around. She obeys and then the person says "I saw what you did. I was there Friday night." Ah, it's our anonymous caller. Pam says that they don't have any money. Anonymous says "This is just a warning. I can get to you. Easy. I can hurt you. I can hurt you right now." Well, that's just great. Pam keeps insisting that they didn't get any money, but Anon refuses to believe this, claiming again "I saw you!" Pam chooses this moment to turn around which was exactly what this freak told her NOT to do. And now he's really pissed off. Fortunately for Pam, Foxy shows up at that moment and the attacker runs away. As Foxy is walking Pam to his car, Pam says "You won't believe who is blackmailing us!" Do tell! Oh, she can't tell because now it's Reva's turn for a chapter...

Reva is standing around at work thinking about Hank when she hears some noises. She goes to "investigate" and finds Mitch and Robb beating the crap out of each other. The manager comes in and breaks it up. Mitch blames everything on Robb, but the manager doesn't really give a shit and tells them both to get back to work. The manager and Robb leave and Reva asks Mitch what happened. Mitch just says "What do you care?" and walks off. Later (I have no idea when) Reva FINALLY brings her pathetic little brother to the store so he can sit on Santa's lap and tell him what he wants for x-mas. Michael sees Santa and is disappointed because he's a fake Santa. Reva doesn't really care and drops Michael off at her father's office. Reva wanders down to her department and finds yet ANOTHER package waiting for her. It's the ultimate Christmas gift: Mitch's corpse with a giant kitchen knife buried between his shoulder blades. Shit. The police come to take him away. Lissa is freaking out and Reva wonders who could have done this. Later that night, she thinks she knows who did it. For no reason at all. She just thinks she knows. Ok.

The next chapter opens with Pam asking Clay flat-out "Did you kill Mitch?" Turns out Mitch was the guy who was making those freaky phone calls and the one who attacked Pam that night. Well, at least that mystery is solved. Pam keeps pestering Clay and Clay avoids the subject, never giving her a real answer. Finally, he gets sick of Pam and says "I didn't croak Mitch." Uh, ok. Weird way to put it but ok! Mickey makes some comment about how strange this whole situation is and Clay goes berserk because he thinks Mickey believes he "croaked" Mitch. Mr. Wakely comes into the room just as Clay grabs Mickey by the throat. Mr. Wakely screams at them to get the hell out if they're going to fight. He's totally wasted and freaks the kids out. They go outside and Clay leaves (so I guess he doesn't live there after all).

The next chapter is titled "The Confession" but I bet it ends before any real confession is made. It's Saturday morning and Reva is telling her dad that she may have come across a clue about Mitch's murder. I hate when stupid people try to play detective. When they get to the store, Reva goes to Hank and asks to see security tapes. Does she not think that the frigging COPS would have already checked those out? Anyway, Hank plays a tape that shows Santa and the kids. Reva tells her father that the Santa on the tape is not Robb. She kind of suspected it wasn't when Michael told her that the Santa was a fake because he had a pillow in his shirt to make it look like he had a bigger belly. Robb, the REAL Santa, is already plump and wouldn't need a pillow. Reva then explains that she found Mitch and Robb fighting that one day. She doesn't come right out and say Robb killed Mitch, but her insinuation is so strong that her father goes to call the police. The cops come and arrest Robb! All because of Reva! I admit that Robb isn't looking too good right about now, but they don't have any hard evidence. All they have is some idiot's assumptions.

Ok, guys, check this out: Pam comes running up to Robb saying "Foxy! What's happening? Why are they arresting you?" WTF?! Foxy is Robb? Robb is Foxy? Why is Pam there? My brain hurts. Foxy Robb tells Pam that he only wanted to help her. Pam asks again what happened and Foxy Robb tells Pam that he had to get even. The cops lead a screaming Foxy Robb away. Pam glares at Reva and Reva just stands there doing nothing as usual. Reva eventually goes back to the make-up counter and the day goes by "surprisingly fast". When Reva leaves the store, she finds Pam outside waiting for her. Pam tells Reva that there is NO WAY Foxy Robb could have killed Mitch. Reva argues that Foxy Robb wanted to kill Mitch and that he even had someone else play Santa so he could sneak away and commit murder. Pam tells Reva that he snuck away so he could see Pam. Because that makes a shit ton of sense. Couldn't he have waited until after work? Whatever. Pam confesses that Foxy Robb was the one who played those "cruel jokes" on Reva. Reva softens up for some reason and she and Pam hug. Pam offers to give her a ride home and Reva says yes, but she needs to go back to her dad's office to get her bag. She's a little freaked out by the darkness and the fact that "Silent Night" is playing when she goes inside. Does sound a little creepy, but it gets even creepier when a man comes out of the darkness holding a gun. It's Mr. Wakely! Reva says "Mr. Wakely! You don't work here anymore!" Genius insight. Mr. Wakely replies "I still have some work to do." I love you, you drunk bastard. Wakely then starts rambling about Maywood (the name of the security guard that was supposed to be there the night that Clay, Mickey, and Pam tried to rob Dalby's): "Maywood said that three kids were planning to rob the store. He said the three kids would be a distraction. Me and Maywood would empty the downstairs safe, see. And the three kids wouldn't even know it. We got the money ok. It was a good plan, see. It would've worked fine. Only I stepped out from the back office and I saw that one of the kids was mine!" Wakely goes on to say that he was the one who shot the guard and he also killed Mitch. Oh good. He tells Reva that he'll have to kill her now, too, because she knows too much. If I had a nickel for everytime I've heard that...

Reva runs, but Wakely chases her. He isn't too drunk to run and fire a gun at the same time. Reva thinks she's a goner...until she comes upon Hank. Hank tells Reva "I was downstairs fixing a videocam. I saw everything on the monitor in the basement. It's all on tape. Wakely's confession, everything." How fucking convenient. The next chapter opens with Reva, Foxy Robb, and Hank sitting on a bench together at the police station. Pam, Mickey, and Clay are being questioned. Pam comes out of a room and tells them that she will have a hearing, but for the time being she's in her parent's custody. The book ends with a private Reva moment: "I feel so warm, Reva thought, as if a layer of ice has melted away from me. If I hadn't been so cold, so bottled up, so hateful, maybe none of this would have happened." Watch me as I pull every hair out of my head.


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

PUMPKIN POWER! Nothing beats Halloween. It's Drew Brockman's favorite holiday. And this year will be awesome. Much better ...