Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #31: Home Before Dark by Beverly Hastings

Home Before Dark by Beverley Hastings
Home Before Dark by Beverley Hastings

Title: Home Before Dark by Beverly Hastings

Summary: HURRY HOME…
“This isn’t the way to my house,” she said, with uncertainty in her voice.

“Yes, it is,” he reassured her. Already his heart was thumping a little faster in anticipation.

“It’s getting late,” she told him. “I’m supposed to be home before dark.”

She felt his heavy forearm across his throat. She screamed, but he just laughed.

At first, a year in Ohio with her aunt and uncle seems like a jail sentence to teenager Sara Langdon – after all, she’s from sunny L.A. The kids accept her with no problems, though, and she soon starts dating the captain of the football team. Then terror strikes, as a killer begins stalking high-school girls.

Tagline: No one is safe when the sun goes down…

Note: As Dove requested, I’ve updated my template, because we now apparently call the Bad Guys Muffin Man. Hey, it makes as much sense as most Point Horrors.

Initial Thoughts: 

I’ve never read it before. I didn’t know much about it, though when I chose it, Dove warned me that it was about rape, at the same time she warned me about the good times I’d have with Help Wanted.

This recap is a little different. For one thing, there will be no counters. I tried to add them in after I wrote the first draft, but they felt frivolous and distracting from the main point, which is: this book is at times a pointed commentary on rape culture, and the recap expands on that theme. A lot. Nearly 16,000 words worth of a lot. This is a recap of Home Before Dark. It points out all the things we love and hate about Point Horrors and its ilk, as always. But Home Before Dark actually handles the rape aspect fairly well, and certainly better than Help Wanted did. This is more than a recap.

The timing on this is important as well. Rape is in the news in the USA because Brock Turner, a convicted rapist, was given six months in the Stanford rape case. SIX FUCKING MONTHS. Judge Aaron Persky gave him a lenient sentence because, and I fucking quote, “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”

Let that sink in. A prison sentence, as punishment for a crime he has fucking been convicted for months ago, would have a severe impact on him. The criminal. Who cares about the impact on the survivor, right?

This is rape culture. We live in rape culture. It is constantly stewing all around us. Slut shaming. Victim blaming. It mixes with racism and white supremacy. Letting white rapists off because punishment will hurt them, and they were just drunk, and boys will be boys. Punishing black rapists because they are thugs and dangerous and We Must Save the White Women From Dangerous Black Men. Asking girls and women what they did to not be raped, how much they fought, but didn’t you really like it a little. She was asking for it. Look at what she was wearing. She was drunk, it’s her fault versus he was drunk, it’s not his fault.

The most shocking part of all of this actually isn’t that he got six months, and will likely be out in three. It is that he was charged and found guilty and sentenced at all. It is that the media covered it at all. Most rapes go unreported, or if they are reported, they aren’t investigated, or if they are investigated, no one is ever charged, or if they are charged, they are not convicted. Most rapes do not receive media coverage, particularly if it involves women of color, queer women, queer women of color, men as the victims — rape is endemic to our society.

So yeah. We often get serious around here, but this even more serious than usual, even more of a social commentary than usual, even more a shout of rage than usual. I am Wing, and I am a rape survivor, and I am angry.

[Dove: I can’t remember who said it, but I’ve seen it going around the internet: rape and crimes of that ilk are the only ones where the victim gets questioned so thoroughly. The example they gave is that when someone says, “I’ve been robbed, someone’s nicked my TV,” nobody replies with, “Oh. Are you sure you didn’t just give the TV away?”

Additionally, I find it particularly distasteful that his father referred to the rape of an unconscious non-consenting woman as “20 minutes of action”, which, no matter what his intention was regarding word choice, reads to me as “Look, he had a crap shag, and he’s off his food, pity him.” Actually, I find it utterly disgraceful that his father was trying to defend his actions in any way, shape or form. The wording just made it worse.

Obviously, given the subject matter, there probably won’t be much flippant goofing off in this recap. So my comments may be sparse.]

[Wing: Dove makes a great point. And not only has his father spoken out in his defense, so have his friends. I say this later in the recap, and I say it extensively, but to sum it up here: I can almost guarantee that (a) you know someone who is a rape survivor, and (b) you know someone who is a fucking rapist, no matter how nice or kind or good you think that person is.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #30: Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: Robin’s convinced her new after-school job is going to be easy money. The only problem is, it means working at Parker Swanson’s house the most arrogant, attractive boy in school…

And Parker’s family is seriously weird. Scary, too. They’re all morbidly obsessed with Parker’s dead stepmother… And if she’s dead, how can she be scaring the life out of her daughter, Claudia?

And what is it that Robin keeps hearing, alone in the house at night…?

Tagline: Part-time job or full-time nightmare…?

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.

Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick - Scan by Mimi
Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick – Scan by Mimi

WARNING: This book contains a rapist. Not the usual Cusick fare of “lol no means yes, I’m your boyfriend so it’s just a joke” but an actual rapist. In my opinion, it’s actually less creepy because the text presents this as a bad thing (for once), but still, my triggers are not your triggers, so a warning is needed.

SECOND WARNING: Suicide is a plot point and the book is heavy with mental health being dealt with in a callous manner. Not the usual “crazy people kill” but “woman up, crazy chick, who cares if your mum killed herself, quit your moaning”.

Good lord, this book has a lot of issues. Wing is not going to like it.

[Wing: No. No she is not.]

Dove’s final note: given how awful this book is, and Wing’s book choice for the next recap. I have decided that I’m going to recap a wacky, hi-jinks style book next time around. Probably a Goosebumps.

Initial Thoughts:

I have never read this before. I ordered it off eBay when I realised I was running low on Cusick, so my initial thoughts are simply that I’m sure ellipsis are being abused in this book.

According to my Wordle, not so much. It’s all about the EnDash here.

Also: CUSICK! I’M BACK! I HAVE MISSED YOU. *snuggles the books*

It speaks volumes of how much I hated Defriended by Ruth Baron when I’m delighted to be back in Cusick world. Still, I love/hate her so much.

Help Wanted Wordle - apparently Cusick is over her elipsis
Help Wanted Wordle – apparently Cusick is over her elipsis

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #19: The Witness by R.L. Stine

The Witness by R. L. Stine
The Witness by R. L. Stine

Title: The Witness

Summary: This summer’s going to be a real killer…

Sand, surf sun… Roxie lives for the summer But this year things aren’t going the way she planned.

Because when she broke into Lee Blume’s house just to win a stupid bet, she saw something she shouldn’t have seen. And now she the only witness to something she can’t forget.

But someone’s looking for Roxie. Someone who wants to spoil her summer. Someone who wants her… dead.

Tagline: I know what you did…

Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. Also doesn’t mean it’s ever successful at killing/pranking/whatevering.

Initial Thoughts:

I don’t think I read this when I was younger. I don’t remember it. I do remember reading it a few months ago, back when I first embraced this Stine feud. It is a terrible, terrible book. Terrible.

[Dove: I had also never read this before. And my life was better for it.]

[Wing: I know. I’m so sorry.]

[Edited 2 May 2017: Teen Creeps did a podcast episode on this book, which was also published under the title “I Saw You That Night”.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #14: The Window by Carol Ellis

The Window by Carol Ellis
The Window by Carol Ellis

Title: The Window

Summary: It should have been the skiing holiday of a lifetime. But Jody sprains her ankle and finds herself alone with nothing to do but gaze out of her cabin window.

Gazing into the cabin of a beautiful neighbor she witnesses the fight, the murder and the killer… or does she?

And if the murder is real, has the killer been watching Jody?

Tagline: She’s seen the killer. Has the killer seen her?

Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy.

The Window by Carol Ellis - Scan by Mimi
The Window by Carol Ellis – Scan by Mimi

Initial Thoughts:

I remember this being one of my favourite Point Horrors of all time, right up there with Funhouse and Camp Fear. Camp Fear is still a lot of fun, so I have high hopes for this, since both are by Carol Ellis.

[Wing: Muahahahahahahahahahaha.]

[Dove: *cries*]

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #12: Arcadia 4: The Attic by T.S. Rue

Arcadia 4: The Attic by T. S. Rue
Arcadia 4: The Attic by T. S. Rue

Title: The Attic by T.S. Rue (Part 4 of the Nightmare Inn/Arcadia series)

Summary: Tessa and her three best friends are planning a weekend of total fun. They even get a special deal at the New Arcadia Inn. But taking it is their first mistake, for this is the Nightmare Inn. And checking out the screams coming from the attic may be their last mistake.

Tagline: Afraid of the dark?

Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy.

Counters: Dove and I have started counters for the tropes we run into over and over again. You can read all the definitions in this sticky post. I’m going to try to define them the first time they are used in each post, too, if I can remember.

Initial Thoughts:

WHY IS IT ALWAYS SPIDERS?!

I know I read this when I was younger, but basically all I remember is that THERE’S A GIANT FUCKING SPIDER IN THE ATTIC. Which you can tell from the cover. So basically, I remember nothing.

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #9: The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick
The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: Kelsey’s summer should have been paradise: An invitation to rich and famous Beverly Island, complete with sun-drenched beaches and three gorgeous lifeguards on duty. But Kelsey’s summer is the opposite of paradise. It starts with the note under her pillow from a girl who’s missing. Then there’s the crazy man in the lighthouse who won’t leave Kelsey alone. And there have been a number of suspicious drownings… At least she has the lifeguards around to protect her… Poor Kelsey. Someone forgot to tell her that lifeguards don’t always like to save lives.

Tagline: Don’t call for help… he may just kill you.

Note: 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 refer to the Bad Guy throughout as “Justin” because it’s fucking obvious it’s Justin. It’s never been so fucking obvious ever before. Seriously, the Bad Guy is fucking Justin and I’m on page five. It’s fucking Justin, ok?

[Wing: WUT? NO! How dare you spoil it for me! I really thought it was Isaac Skip Neale Kelsey’s dead dad come back to take vengeance.]

Initial Thoughts:

Right, so I must have read this at some point because it’s in the box that came from my mother’s house. Also, it’s stamped with “Property of Sackville School” on the sides, which means it came from my home town. (No, I didn’t steal it… wait, I’m the evil twin, I totally stole it from a very posh public* school.) I have no recollection of ever reading this. Ever. So let’s just say I hate the cover and that’s all I’ve got.

*I’m English, so if you’re American, I mean private. Either way, a posh, pay-for-your-education-and-associate-with-toffs school.

Recap:

First things first, since it’s Cusick, the punctuation will be abused so here, have some stats:

Ellipses used: 691

En Dashes used: 764

Appropriate usage of the above: less than 10%

Yeah. This pisses me off on an epic scale. And not just because I had to format the fucking thing for my Kindle. Why can’t we use commas, semi-colons and full stops? Why… is it… always… ellipses – well, except for when – to be dramatic – we start – needlessly – using – wait for it – en dashes. *sigh*

To illustrate just how often they showed up, I created a worldle.

The Lifeguard - Wordle
Yes, she uses these more than the protagonist’s name

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #6: Class Trip by Bebe Faas Rice

Class Trip by Bebe Faas Rice
Class Trip by Bebe Faas Rice

Title: Class Trip by Bebe Faas Rice

Summary: There were seven of us when we started out. Someone – I think it was James – said that seven was a magic number. That magicians – real magicians like Merlin, the wizard, not the ones who pull rabbits out of hats – had always believed it was a powerful number. One that protected from harm.

Hah. Some magic.

But then, we didn’t stay seven long. One by one the group grew smaller. And finally there were only two of us left.

Two is not a magical number. When one of the two is a murderer.

In loving memory of Miss Anne C. Wilson, principal of Garfield Elementary School, Ottumnwa, Iowa, who always told me I would be a writer of books someday.

Tagline: Alone with a friend – or a killer?

Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. Also doesn’t mean it’s ever successful at killing/pranking/whatevering.

Memories:

I have never read this one before, which is actually really weird. I am a completest, and I have read (and enjoyed) Class Trip II numerous times. Yet, despite Class Trip II clearly being a sequel to something, I never, ever went in search of the original. The fact that I read the sequel before tracking down the original is strange enough, but the fact that I never even tried to find the first book, never even thought about it, that is really, really weird. (I don’t know who I am anymore!) Dramatic hyphenation and choppy sentences aside, I love the premise of this book already (And Then There Were None is one of my favorite Agatha Christie books), and since I did enjoy Class Trip II, I’m hoping this lives up to my expectations.

(Note from the future: NOPE.)

Let’s do this!

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #4: Camp Fear by Carol Ellis

Camp Fear by Carol Ellis
Camp Fear by Carol Ellis

Title: Camp Fear by Carol Ellis

Summary: Almost everyone at Camp Silverlake is afraid of something: creepy crawlies, snakes, swimming in the lake. But there is a much deeper, darker fear shared by some of the counselors… the fear that one terrible secret they share will be discovered.

For seven years they’ve kept it hidden – ever since the summer when they were campers themselves.

The summer one camper didn’t make it home alive…

Camp Fear by Carol Ellis - Scan by Mimi
Camp Fear by Carol Ellis – Scan by Mimi

Now someone is using their secret – and their fears – to play a terrifying game of vengeance.

A game that could turn deadly.

Tagline: The past can’t hurt you…it can kill you.

Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. Also doesn’t mean it’s ever successful at killing/pranking/whatevering.

Note2: Awesomely, this is so late because I enjoyed the book so much I couldn’t stop typing when recapping. The recap that went on forever, you could say.

Memories: This is one of my favorite Point Horror books, if not my favorite, and Carol Ellis one of my favorite Point Horror authors. I’m looking forward to reading again now, for the first time in a few years, to see how it holds up. (I reread books pretty often, and I remember enjoying this one even as an adult.) However, after Dove’s last review of Trick or Treat, I am hyper aware of the use of punctuation in the summary and tagline, and now I’m worried. That use (and abuse) could be a bad, bad sign.

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