Recap #34: The Stalker by Carol Ellis by

18 July 2016
The Stalker by Carol Ellis

The Stalker by Carol Ellis

Title: The Stalker by Carol Ellis

Summary: Performing in a school production of Grease, Janna is delighted when her talents win her much praise and the attentions of an apparent fan, until the harmless token gifts of flowers and notes become the threatening moves of a stalker.

Tagline: I’m closer than you think…

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

The Stalker by Carol Ellis (American Cover - scanned by Mimi)

The Stalker by Carol Ellis (American Cover – scanned by Mimi)

I had not read this back in the day. I had never read this when I bought it a few years ago. I have tried about three times to read it, and can’t seem to get through it.

So. This will be a fun recap, eh?

[Wing: I’d never read it, either. I wasn’t missing much.]

Edit: Extra fun – our lovely Mimi has provided a copy of the American cover. So here it is:

Recap:

We open with a prologue, although it’s not a Muffin Man POV. We meet our lead, Janna Richards – how do you say her name? I read that as Yah-nah, but I suppose it could be Jan-ah. [Note from the future: someone calls her “Jan”, so it must be Jan-ah. Unless they’re saying “Yan” but it’s spelt Jan, like the inferior Joss Ackland replacement character in Mighty Ducks 2. Oh FFS, why is this bothering me so much? WING! HELP!]

[Wing: It’s probably Jan-ah. Also, Jan was not an inferior replacement character, oh my god, I will fight you. They were both a joy and a delight.]

Anyway, Janna is a chorus dancer/actress in Grease, and she’s alone on the stage, imagining she’s a star getting a standing ovation. She bows and blows kisses and hears someone on the catwalk above. She calls out, but no response. A spotlight follows her as she moves and a rose lands at her feet with a note that says “Soon you’ll be mine, Janna.

And, um. I guess that’s fine. I’m so used to prologues being silly Muffin Man POVs, or the frankly odd choice of Dream Date to use an event from halfway through the book as a prologue, that this actually seems ok.

Then we start the story proper. We meet a load of people so let’s do a roll call:

Eric Fischer: Dance partner

Gray Williams: choreographer, around 45 years old, hard to please

Liz Thompson: fellow dancer, alpha bitch who Janna hates, icy blond hair

Ryan Mitchell: assistant stage manager, bound to be her boyfriend/red herring, because Janna has a big crush on him, dark blonde hair, green eyes, general hottie

Gray gives Janna a compliment, (“Nice work”) and Liz warns her not to get complacent, because Gray will come down on her like a tonne of bricks if she makes a mistake because he’s a perfectionist. Janna has an internal bitch about Liz, which seems completely unfair, given that Liz speaks what I would assume to be the truth. In all walks of life, there are people who give you cuddles and cookies when things are going well, and diva the fuck out at the first hint of imperfection. And it’s a pretty standard trope in fiction that all bosses in the performing arts are this person.

I hate the hot chick! (And she hates me.): 1 (Because girls can’t be friends, AMIRIGHT? For some reason, this girl, who is utterly desirable in the looks department, hates the ever-loving fuck out of our protagonist. And, despite claiming to not care, our protagonist makes digs about her all the time.)

Apparently Liz is jealous because Janna has a moment in the spotlight in the final number, and ever since it had gone to Janna instead of Liz, Liz had become positively arctic towards her. Ok, that’s fine, but showing rather than telling would make Janna less of a dickhead in this situation. As it stands, Liz’s words seem helpful and cautionary, and Janna comes across as an insecure, paranoid nitwit.

Janna gets all excited when Ryan calls her over, thinking he’s about to declare his love, but comes back down to earth with a bump when he hands her an envelope with her name on it. Inside is a note that says “Janna, hope you break a leg.” And our note-writer has drawn a severed leg on there, just in case you missed the fact that this works on two whole levels.

Dun-Dun-DUNNNNN!: 1 (Cliffhanger endings of chapters for no reason other than to build false tension and piss me and Wing the hell off.)

And we pick up right where we left off, and Ellis uses a lot of words to blame Jimmy Dare, Janna’s ex for the note. He’d been rather pissy when Janna had chosen going on tour with Grease over being at his beck and call. Good for you, Janna.

Next up, in the dressing room there’s a huge bouquet of red roses with a card saying “Soon, Janna.” Gosh, she’s popular.

“Listen, Janna, keep your eyes open from now on,” Gillian warned. “I mean, you’ve read about fans who get these obsessive crushes on famous people, right? They send flowers and cards, just like this. Some of them are totally harmless, but…”

“Come on, Janna’s not exactly a celebrity,” Liz interrupted, wiping the last traces of makeup from her face. “Don’t start getting all dramatic, Gillian.”

I think this exchange is meant to make Liz look like a bitch, but she’s not exactly wrong. Janna is in the chorus of a high school production of Grease, she’s not exactly Idina Menzel.

[Wing: Well, it’s slightly higher level than a high school production, because most high school productions (a) don’t tour at all, and (b) don’t have summer shows, but that’s still not Idina Menzel level.]

She says it’s her ex, and Liz says it sounds like mind games, and Janna thinks Liz ought to know as mind games are her thing. Except we have no evidence of this. So far I read Liz as straightforward, possibly a bit brash if you’re on the sensitive side, but not bitchy or underhand. And that is the problem with telling instead of showing. It makes your lead look like an I-hate-girls paranoid moron.

I hate the hot chick! (And she hates me.): 2 (+1)

Afterwards, they sign autographs for a gaggle of fans.

Stan finally found his voice. “It was great. You were great, Miss Richards. I’ll bet you’ve been dancing since you were about five.”

“Thanks,” Janna said. “Six, actually.” She wrote Best wishes to Stan, from Janna Richards, then handed back the program.

Hit me back, just to chat, truly yours, your biggest fan, this is Stan.

I know this pre-dates Stan by Eminem, and the internet slang of “stan” as “stalky fan”, but still. STAN IS THE MUFFIN MAN. Well, he’s the one who’s in love with her. He’s there with his girlfriend, Carly, and openly fawning over Janna. So Carly’s going to terrorise Janna. (Also, I remember being on a Buffy spoilers mailing list, and somehow talk turned to Stan, and someone said Stan was played by Devon Sawa, not Eminem, and over a thousand minds were simultaneously blow. Including mine.)

Carly is eager to get away and makes a dismissive comment about how Janna’s not a star. Janna is freaked out because Stan addressed her by her full name, but she doesn’t have a character name, so her name is just listed en masse with all the other dancers, so how did he know her name? Good question. Because he’s obsessed with you.

Janna discusses it with Gillian, Toni and Liz. Gillian says Janna should call the police if he shows up, but Liz brushes it off, saying he probably asked an usher what Janna’s name was, and wasn’t Janna convinced the flowers and note were from Jimmy? Liz is very dismissive, saying that sending flowers isn’t a crime and Janna’s not being stalked. Gillian’s on the other side, saying this shit escalates. Toni interjects the odd “gross” and Janna barely talks. Oh good, a passive heroine.

Liz talks everyone out of taking it seriously, in quite a reasonable manner. This actually works, because it shows rather than tells that Liz isn’t the most empathic human on the planet, and it’s also part of the rape culture, especially in the 90s, where a woman is supposed to put up with attention that makes her uncomfortable because “nobody’s really done anything wrong”, and she ought to be flattered. It’s depressing, but it works.

She gets a call from her ex – this isn’t brought up at all, but she’s in a motel room, so how did he know which motel and which room to call? Jimmy wants to get back together, Janna says no and accuses him of sending the broken leg note, which he admits to, and then tells him that they are never getting back together. He replies that not getting back together is the biggest mistake of her life.

Red Herrings: 1 (Fairly obvious, but in Point Horror, there’s basically a neon sign above them stating “sinister as fuck”.)

Talk then turns to Ryan and Liz tells them that last year she and Ryan dated, she fell in love but he dropped her for another girl. Then he dropped that girl for another girl. After that he was just kinda “that’s life on the road for you.”

Janna stared at her. It was hard to imagine icy Liz Thompson falling in love and getting her heart broken. But that was last summer, she reminded herself. Maybe she hadn’t been so icy until Ryan dumped her.

If he dumped her, she thought.

Since Liz is the alpha bitch of this story, she’s bound to do something to prove that she is a bitch and our lead is a sweet innocent darling, but all this stuff just comes across as petty rivalry on both sides. What does that “If he dumped her” even mean? That Liz actually dumped him? That Janna doesn’t believe that Ryan broke her heart but Liz broke his? *shrugs* It doesn’t make clear what Janna thinks actually happened, so it comes across as pettily disbelieving Liz for the sake of disagreement.

I hate the hot chick! (And she hates me.): 3 (+1)

Janna has a toy bear named “Bearyshnikov”, I only mention this because the text makes a big deal about it, so the poor thing’s probably going to suffer a terrible fate. She goes outside to get a 7UP (and this is the only thing she drinks throughout this book… it’s eye-poking, like Nightmare Inn’s obsession with the ISUZU TROOPER, BITCHES), [Wing: Except you drank the Koolaid when it came to the ISUZU TROOPER, BITCHES, and just seem judgmental when it comes to 7UP. Which is the better of the lemon-lime caffeine free sodas.] [Dove: Also, while I rarely drink fizz, 7UP is the one that I do drink, every eighteen months or so, when I crave fizz. I should give myself a point on the Hypocrites are Hypocritical counter.] and there’s a car with its headlights on out there. She gets freaked out and runs inside. Once she’s safely inside, the car is gone.

The next day Ryan asks her to lunch and they flirt a bit. He admits he’s had a thing for her since day one.

There’s a letter for her back at the motel, and I’ll just quote the lot. Once again, I’m getting a Silent Hill 3, Stanley Coleman vibe. Wow. What is it with the name Stan?

I dreamed about you last night, Janna. You were dancing, the way you were when I first saw you. As I stood and watched you, I felt this incredible urge to touch you. So I held out my hands.

You know what happened, Janna? You came running to me! You jumped into my arms and kissed me. Your black hair smelled like flowers and your skin felt like silk.

It was the best dream I ever had.

And some day soon, I’ll make it come true.

I know it’s too soon for you to be dreaming of me. But you will, Janna. You will.

A fan.

P.S. You shouldn’t have thrown the roses away! How do you think that made me feel? Furious, Janna. So furious, I almost forgot how much I love you!

You gotta call me man, I’ll be the biggest fan you’ll ever lose, Sincerely yours, Stan, P.S. we should be together too

Just before she’s about to go on stage, she gets a call – since it’s eight minutes before curtain, and the stage manager is letting her take the call, she assumes it’s an emergency.

It’s not, it’s her creepy fan, reprimanding her for throwing away the roses (guess I missed that part, sorry), and saying that he loves to watch her.

Naturally, this blows Janna’s concentration and the next scene is Liz gloating that Janna flubbed everything. Well, Janna thinks she’s gloating, Liz maintains that she’s trying to cheer her up, because Gray’s a perfectionist, so of course he sees faults, but nobody else did. And whatevs, their silly rivalry is boring.

I hate the hot chick! (And she hates me.): 4 (+1)

Janna says she tried to tell Gray about the call, but he wouldn’t listen, and the other girls try to bolster her feelings.

“Crazies like this don’t care how their victims feel,” Gillian said. “They say they do, but all they really care about is themselves.”

Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 1 (Essentially, “crazy” is a blanket term for a bad person with no qualms about killing anyone and everyone. Often because they are “crazy”. Because that’s how mental health works.) Go fuck yourself, Gillian. Most of us “crazies” are nothing but feelings. That’s part of the problem. After I interact with anyone, I agonise over every single word I uttered, re-examining until I work myself into a frenzy, because I’m convinced that somehow something I said was rude, or wrong, or mean, or racist or something that means they now hate me. So fuck you.

Gillian then tells them that a girl called Kathy Kramer was murdered by her stalker – and she used to work for this theatre company. I was about to hop up and down and say “isn’t this a high school production?” and then I remembered that the USA is massive. I went to a WWE event held at a university arena in Las Vegas, and it was twice the size of the all-purpose arena in my home city, so… I guess that’s a thing? [Wing: I … am not actually sure where you’re going with this paragraph, but Kathy went on to work professionally in a bigger company before she was murdered, but also, this is much more of a low-level professional company than what you’re picturing as a high school production. And finally, university arenas tend to be giant because sports are Big Deals at universities.] [Dove: Yeah, on a re-read, I make no sense. I meant: in universe people treat this particular production like it’s a big deal, but it’s a high school production, but then I remembered how big university sports arenas are, so I wondered if high school theatre clubs are a big deal too.[Wing: Ah, I see. Well, again, it is not a typical high school theater club, it is a traveling production, which would be a bigger deal, though not as big a deal as, say, university sports.]

Janna can’t sleep that night, and when she gets up for a drink of water, she sees a face peering in the window.

Again, they don’t call the police. Next scene, they’re at a club. And fuck me, I’m getting whiplash from the scene changes in this book. Ellis, what’s up? You’re usually a good writer, but this is absolute drek. Ryan is there and says he could be in love with Janna soon. She finds that word triggering. I find that entire sentence to be dumb as fuck, because they’ve had one conversation over lunch at this point.

Ryan goes to get drinks and Stan and Carly rock up. Stan is creepy and complimentary, and Carly is pissed off. Janna suddenly thinks Stan could be the stalker, so accuses him of sending roses. He feigns ignorance, and Carly gets angry that Janna’s just accused him of sending flowers in front of 300 people. Dude, you’re in a club, I’m pretty sure nobody heard anything. As they stomp off, Janna’s still not sure whether she was mistaken or whether Stan is her creepy fan.

That night, Janna has a conversation with her roommates that largely serves no purpose other than to bump two counts: I hate the hot chick! (And she hates me.): 5 (+1) and This recap is sponsored by the WWE: 1 (Recap! Recap! Recap! Something happened last chapter. Tell us about it! Tell it again. Then tell it one more time. Because otherwise we’ll forget.)

Then Jimmy Dare, the ex, shows up.

Dun-Dun-DUNNNNN!: 2 (+1)

Jimmy is an asshole. They talk outside and he says that Janna’s only on this tour to meet guys, and she’s wearing a sexy dress to lure them in, and he’s just horrible. But he wants kudos for driving out to see her. No, Jimmy, you do not get kudos for driving a zillion miles to harass a girl who has repeatedly asked you to fuck off. And after slut-shaming her, he informs her that he’s come to “get you back where you belong. With me, Janna.” What a catch.

I beat you because I love you: 1 (Abusive relationships in any way, shape or form.)

Naturally, he takes the news that it is still over and, despite his charming death threats and slut-shaming, she still doesn’t want him with all of the respect and maturity you would expect.

“Better watch yourself.” Jimmy cocked his thumb, stuck his forefinger at her like the barrel of a gun. “Babe.”

They move on to the next town, and there’s a rose in the dressing room for Janna. She freaks out, but Liz insists she read the card, and it’s actually from Ryan. Liz appears jealous here when she says that Ryan is setting her up for a fall. She probably appears jealous because Janna isn’t internally hopping up and down about what a complete bitch Liz is.

Janna thanks Ryan then heads back to the dressing room where someone has written her a message on the mirror in lipstick.

Miss me yet? I’m closer than you think. We’ll be together, Janna. Soon.

She worries that he’s in the dressing room with her and someone steps out of the shadows.

Dun-Dun-DUNNNNN!: 3 (+1)

It’s Liz. Holy snotwaffles, I am only halfway through this nightmare. Janna spends the next 10 or so pages recapping her anxiety, and flubbing her dance, and I am bored as fuck. This recap is sponsored by the WWE: 2 (+1)

She goes to see Ryan and he’s snogging Liz. And I literally don’t care. I’m not invested in this at all. I couldn’t care less who Ryan’s into. I think I peaced out right around the time Ryan fell in love with her after spending one lunch with her. Fuck this, I’m bored.

Janna loses her toy bear. They go swimming (excitingly, their motel has a pool – this is a big deal), the same white car keeps driving by. Janna thinks it’s the stalker, and she’s right. However, Toni reassures her with a not unreasonable assertion that the driver might just been perving on a bunch of teens with dancer bodies in swimsuits. It’s the one time “nah, that couldn’t possibly be sinister” could have a reasonable excuse. Still, it’s bound to be Stan or Carly. I’m calling that Stan’s the perv and Carly wants Janna dead because Stan “loves” her.

Since she’s been flubbing her dance, Janna goes to practice on stage alone. After way too many words and still not enough description, the set falls on her. She dies and nobody ever finds out who stalked her.

No, obviously not, but wouldn’t that have shaken things up?

People find her. She has a head injury, a bleeding wound on her face, and feels like throwing up. That’s a fucking concussion, people. If they let her dance, I will rip up this book and send the torn pages back to Ellis. Janna refuses to see a doctor. You people are motherfucking dumb. Isn’t America the land of litigation? If you don’t insist she sees a doctor after a head injury and she dies – because that is actually an option, you know, Ellis – I foresee lawsuits. This is a dumb YA trope, where everyone’s says “You need to see a doctor” and the person is all “No, I’m so strong, I can walk off brain injuries, behold my girl power!” That’s not girl power and inner strength. That’s arrogance, assuming you know more than medical professionals, and it’s bloody-minded stupidity, because you could die or do yourself lingering injuries. Darling readers, I’m so sorry I have to have this rant every bloody week.

You know what? New fucking counter.

Head injury? Walk it off: 1 (Because a concussion is a mild inconvenience, not a medial situation and it can be cured by grit and determination) I can’t believe it’s taken this long for me to snap and make this a counter. I’m feeling petty and spiteful so I might go back and add it in to every book that laughs off a concussion. [Wing: YES! I’ve been waiting for you to snap and do this.] And I think it’s fair that any use of this counter should result in DED FROM STUPID: 1 (Exactly what it says on the tin. If you do not understand this trope, then you are the cause of this trope.)

Gray informs her that she’s not dancing and she should go to the hospital, and Janna’s ultimate response is to internally sulk that Liz has both snogged Ryan and taken her place in the dance.

I hate the hot chick! (And she hates me.): 55 (+50) and why haven’t I used this yet? Cheer on the killer: 50 (Because the protagonist is such an insufferable wretch that you can’t help but side with anyone who wants him or her dead.)

Janna goes back to the motel alone. As Wing and I discussed last recap, this was the 90s, when the standard concussion response was to keep an eye on that person for 24 hours and wake them up every two hours they slept, but screw that. Also, there’s a big thunder storm, but this is not the finale. I feel betrayed by the weather.

She falls asleep and has a dumb dream where she’s trying to dance but she’s a puppet being controlled by Liz, and Jimmy’s there and her stalker, but she can’t see who it is. And Gray fires her. Also, there’s some talk of Janna “losing it”.

Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 101 (+100) and DED FROM STUPID: 2 (+1) because Janna should be more worried about her health than whether or not she can dance tonight. Or failing that, the stalker. Moron.

[Wing: Well, if performing professional is her dream, which I think we’re supposed to believe, losing out on a performance like this would suck. But yeah, probably she should be more concerned about the stalker, because she was super freaked out about him not too long ago.]

She gets a sinister call.

“By the way, blood-red’s the perfect color for you. Someday soon, you’re going to be covered in the real thing.”

This is a reference to the fact she’s wearing a maroon sweater – so she’s being watched right now – but earlier she actually was covered in blood (her head wound bled a lot), so this is still dumb.

[Wing: MAROON IS NOT BLOOD RED, MY GOD, PEOPLE, LEARN YOUR COLORS.]

She realises that there’s a phone booth outside the motel, so calls the police to get them to arrest her stalker. Problem is, Janna’s a short-tempered moron – if this was a real book, with characters I gave a shit about, I might be more generous and say she’s just woken up, head injury, stress, etc, but I hate this book and I’m not feeling kind. Janna vaguely says that she’s in a motel outside of town and to send someone to arrest her stalker. She doesn’t even give the name of the motel because she can’t remember it – she doesn’t even narrow it down by saying it has a pool, which they made a big deal of earlier, because it appears to be a rarity for them. Then she hangs up when the operator very reasonably asks for more details. “Outside of town” isn’t very specific, in fact, in my city, there’s dozens of hotels on the outskirts, in pretty much every direction, so that kind of information wouldn’t be much help.

She runs outside, ready to take down her stalker herself (DED FROM STUPID: 3 (+1)) and there’s nobody in the phone booth.

Slowly, she reached out and picked up the receiver. He held this in his hand. His lips touched it. His breath made it warm.

Janna, honey, I’m fairly sure that nobody wants their lips to touch the receiver of a public phone. That’s just weird. Or it’s a completely different fetish to stalking. I suppose, reasonably, there’s overlap, but let’s not get into that now.

On her way back to her room, she’s pushed into the pool.

Dun-Dun-DUNNNNN!: 4 (+1)

After lots of panicky words about drowning, she manages to get herself half out of the pool, where Gillian and Toni find her.

Cut scene to the police talking to her. They can’t do anything because they don’t know who the stalker is. They tell her to keep a log, because he might slip up and let out revealing information about himself. The police leave and everyone tells Janna it was stupid/insane to go running out there and Janna throws the word “insane” back at them. Because being crazy is bad. Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 250 (+149 because I like round numbers). Toni says it could be anyone, even someone in the company. And Liz conveniently walks in at this moment.

The next day, Janna is dancing again. Whatevs. Ryan approaches and says he knows she saw the kiss. He says Liz kissed him. Janna doesn’t know if it’s true or not, but asks for some space. And I literally could not care less.

Stan’s in the audience this time, and Janna’s sure he’s the stalker. Welcome to the party, Janna.

The next day she goes to buy new trainers and is chased by a white car but doesn’t see the driver.

After performance, she finds her mutilated toy bear in her bag. It’s been hacked up and filled with blood… not really sure how you can fill a porous fabric pouch with blood, but I’m too bored to care.

They head towards the store to get munchies and Stan follows, so Janna comes up with a plan to pretend they don’t see him, shop casually while she calls the police, then lurk outside chatting casually while they wait for the police to arrive. This is not a bad plan, they’re in a group, they’re staying visible, and they’re in reach of a phone. If I didn’t hate this book so much, I’d give kudos for it.

The police car approaches and Stan takes off, so Janna chases him and tackles him to the ground. The police ask questions and he maintains he loves Janna. The police correct him that it’s not love, it’s obsession, and… ok, I can’t complain about that.

Just before Stan gets taken to the police station, Carly rocks up and victim-blames Janna for Stan getting collared.

The police call to say they had to let him go because he has no priors. What? How is that a thing? So, in this universe, I could rob a bank, and if I’m caught I’ll get let go, because I don’t have a police record? They say Stan admitted to calling her, sending roses and leaving the message on the mirror (“Miss me yet? I’m closer than you think. We’ll be together, Janna. Soon.”), but he doesn’t drive a white car. So he’s admitting to harassing her, fraud (by pretending to be a family member in an emergency situation to get her on the phone) and trespassing on private property, even, technically, vandalism. If we’re going to pretend that stalking isn’t a crime, nail him to the wall on the little ones.

They gave him a warning and escorted him out of town. Brilliant, thanks for sorting that out. I’m sure that there’s no possibility his obsession will lead him back to Janna.

After the call, Janna remembers that Jimmy’s dad has a white car. Also, someone has slashed her costume. She has no real reaction to the latter. Is Ellis as bored as me at this point?

So, she calls Jimmy’s dad from the stage office, and Jimmy’s not around, and guess what? He’s using his dad’s white car. Red Herrings: 2 (+1)

When she’d done, the theatre is dark and empty, save for Ryan standing there with a tire iron prop in his hand.

Dun-Dun-DUNNNNN!: 5 (+1) and Red Herrings: 3 (+1)

Janna is freaking the fuck out, but Ryan’s just chill, not being sinister. He then says he left something in her dressing room, did she find it. She assumes he means the slashed costume, and runs from him. He chases, and she thinks he’s going to catch her, but he falls to the ground, and guess what, Carly just thwacked him.

Carly is the Muffin Man. I am shocked. SHOCKED I TELL YOU. She has a lead pipe with a length of chain attached. And I’m just like, well, gotta give the girl props for inventive weaponry, right?

[Wing: I’m certainly inspired to go around snapping a chain at the end of a lead pipe and then beating things with it.] [Dove: It sounds like the kind of weapon you’d find in Silent Hill and it would be awesome.]

Fisticuffs ensue, and a chase around the stage that gets up to the catwalk, where Carly falls to her doom.

He’s dead! He’s dead! HE’S FUCKING DEAD! … oh wait, he survived: 1 (Where the story tries to convince us that there really is a body count, only to later reveal the victim only sustained minor injuries.)

Actually, she survives.

Oh, motive? Yeah, I was right all along. Carly wants to punish Janna because Stan’s into her. Because slutty girls make boys like them, it’s not attraction (or in Stan’s case, obsession). It’s always the slutty girls doing slutty attention-seeking things. Whatevs.

And now she and Ryan are going to live happily ever after. And I’m going to burn this fucking book.

Final Thoughts:

Well, that was dumb, obvious, boring and long-winded. And utter waste of my time. Paul has pointed out that most of these books are written to order (title and outline given to the writer), and boy does this one feel it. It’s stupid, and dull and I couldn’t care less about anything beyond reaching the end.

Mimi was right. This is one of Ellis’ worst books ever.

Let’s just move on and never think of this again. Wing is recapping Horrorscope by Nicholas Adams next week.

[Wing: Keep your expectations low, people. While Horrorscope is not nearly as boring as this, it’s not a good time, either.] [Dove: Yes it is. It’s awful. It took me a week to read it.]

Final Counts:

Cheer on the killer: 50
DED FROM STUPID: 3
Dun-Dun-DUNNNNN!: 5
He’s dead! He’s dead! HE’S FUCKING DEAD! … oh wait, he survived: 1
Head injury? Walk it off: 1
I beat you because I love you: 1
I hate the hot chick! (And she hates me.): 55
Mental health: with tact and sensitivity: 250
Red Herrings: 3
This recap is sponsored by the WWE: 2

[Wing: I love our new counter. LOVE IT.]

I am the evil twin. I'm in a feud with Richie Tankersley Cusick, and I'm waging a war on over-used en-dashes and ellipsis. All of these things are related. I worship at the altar of the ISUZU TROOPER, BITCHES.

Categories: Point Horror Recaps
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10 Comments

  • Mimi says:

    Yep. This one was awful. I considered Ellis a “safe” read until this book. I’ll never trust her again.

    I’m in the middle of “The Boyfriend” by Stine at the moment and I’m trying to decide if I hate it more or less than this book. I never thought I’d see the day when I was unsure whether I hated a Stine more than an Ellis. I feel like my world has been shaken. lol

    • Wing says:

      Mimi. MIMI. I am worried about you.

      Though yes, this book has shaken my love of Ellis. I’m going to tell myself she was phoning it in here, and Camp Fear is what she can create when she’s left to her own writing instead of pushed into a corner.

    • Dove says:

      On the plus side, I’ve now run out of Ellis to recap. You know what that means? I have to go back to Cusick.

      I DON’T WANNA GO BACK TO CUSICK AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!

      *throws toddler-esque tantrum*

  • Jo says:

    A lead pipe with a chain attached sounds like a badass weapon! I’m thinking of that old “Clue” video game. Mrs White had the best animation for the lead pipe, but they just axed her from the game … sucks

    Now I’m wondering what the Nicholas Adams is like, since I’ve just gone through several of the “Horror High” titles (although as I understand it “Nicholas Adams” was like five different writers)

    • Wing says:

      I agree that the lead pipe + chain sounds amazing. Plus I bet it would spark if you hit it just right against certain surfaces, and I like that a lot.

  • Paul says:

    It’s been a looooong time since I read this. I can’t remember hating it, but this recap suggests I probably shouldn’t bother revisiting it! You haven’t recapped “The Body” or “Silent Witness” by Ellis yet, have you? I recall both of those being fairly decent. Plus, you could always branch out and try her “Zodiac Chillers” books!

    • Jo says:

      Ellis wrote the best 3 of the Zodiac Chillers books, it has to be said (although for a series that ultimately had just 6 books released maybe this is not much of an achievement.) If you cut back on the astrology focus I can easily imagine her turning them in as Point Horrors …

  • Judith says:

    This sounds a lot like The Secret Admirer by R.L Stine. Am I crazy or did they even end the same with the fall from the catwalk?

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