Posted in Fear Street Recaps

Recap #261: Fear Street #44: The Rich Girl by R.L. Stine

The Rich Girl Cover by Bill Schmidt
The Rich Girl Cover by Bill Schmidt

Title: Fear Street #44 – The Rich Girl, a.k.a. “Capitalism Stinks!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: Would you kill to be rich?

Summary: Whom can you trust?

Emma Naylor and her best friend Sydney Shue always share their secrets. And now they have a big one. They found a duffel bag stuffed with money.

They swore never to tell anyone. But Sydney broke her promise. She told her boyfriend, Jason, about the money.

Now Emma is terrified. She doesn’t trust Jason – and she thinks he would do anything to get the money for himself. Even kill…

Initial Thoughts

It’s finally spring, which means it’s time to think green. And what could be greener than money!

Money, the root of all evil and the root of this later entry Fear Street book. “The Rich Girl” was one of the earliest Fear Street books I can remember purchasing and a point of small interest for me over the years. As of this recap, it’s the first time I’ve re-read the book from beginning to end since middle school.

Despite what the summary says, Emma’s best friend Sydney is technically the main character since most of the action is happening from her point-of-view. The implications of this book are definitely rather uncomfortable to think about and there’s a lot of ableism going on near the end. Sorry, Wing.

[Wing: Eh, I’m never surprised by that around here. Also, no matter how many times I see that tagline, I first read it as “Would it kill you to be rich?”]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #250: Nocturnal Letters by Ms-Bowser

Nocturnal Letters
Nocturnal Letters

Title: Nocturnal Letters, a.k.a. “Night of the Nasty Notes”

Developer/Author: Ms-Bowser

Summary:

A scary/creepy point-and-click adventure game. Very plot-driven. You can almost call it an interactive movie.

Ivy lives with her family in a big house in the forest. Things have been rather strange lately. Help Ivy find out what is wrong, and uncover the awful secret.

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #225: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #8: Weekend at Poison Lake by R.L. Stine

Weekend at Poison Lake Cover by Craig White
Weekend at Poison Lake Cover by Craig White

Title: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #8 – Weekend at Poison Lake, a.k.a. “Aliens and Jewel Thieves and Moss-Men OH MY!”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Craig White

Summary: Come On In – The Water’s Slime!

It’s the weekend and your family’s vacationing at an awesome lake. The water’s cool, clear and downright deadly!

Rumor has it this lake is filled with poison! Or are those aliens? And what’s that nasty smell? Better pick a lucky number to help you out, or this nature trip could really go wild! If you pick the right number you’ll be chillin’ on the beach without a care. But if your number’s unlucky, you’ll come face-to-face with evil jewel hunters, ice-cream-craving aliens, and all sorts of freaky wildlife!

The choice is yours in this scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure that’s packed with over 20 super-spooky endings!

Initial Thoughts

Since “Chicken Chicken” hasn’t been finished yet that means two Goosebumps recaps as well as two Graveyard School recaps this month. This is going with June’s water theme.

“Poison Lake” was the last of the GYG Special Edition books and from what I’ve read it’s one of the most loathed. I can sort of understand why yet I do love this one.

THE BAD: The whole “Lucky Number” shtick this book employs is extremely frustrating in figuring out a proper path to take. See, the numbers aren’t really “Lucky” because you’re just as likely to die from using the number to determine a choice than if you’d voted not to use it at all. And yet when you get the bad endings from not using the number, the book mocks you for it. Hell, it’ll mock you even if it doesn’t immediately lead to death by asking why you don’t want to utilize it.

THE GOOD: The four stories Stine’s crafted are incredibly endearing, and are totally independent of one another. Once you pick a path, you’re stuck on it. Which actually made recapping this much easier. My favorites are “The Missing Jewels” story and “The Moss-Man” story, the former because of the presence of competent adults and the latter because Stine’s able to create real tension and a dreamy atmosphere similar to “The Ghost Next Door.”

Also I love the monster on the cover despite its lack of appearance in the actual stories.

Poison Lake Monster by Jesus Marquez
Poison Lake Monster by Jesus Marquez

THE OTHER BAD: We get a return performance of, UGH, Jude as the main character. God he sucks.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #219: The Witching Hour #1

Witching Hour #1 Cover
The Witching Hour #1 Cover by Nick Cardy

Title: The Witching Hour #1, a.k.a. “Anne, this isn’t about you”

Creators: Neal Adams, Pat Boyette, Dick Giordano, Dennis O’Neill, Alex Toth

Cover Artist: Nick Cardy

Summary: During DC’s latest foray into the horror / mystery arena, editor Dick Giordano conjured up a triumverate of witches to host an anthology series produced by some of comics’ biggest names. In this first issue, writer / artist Alex Toth provided a framing sequence (with an epilogue drawn by Neal Adams) that introduced readers to the cronish Mordred, motherly Mildred and beautiful Maiden Cynthia – as well as their bumbling pet zombie, Egor. Each witch then brewed a potent blend of horror and dark humor crafted by Toth, writer Denny O’Neil and artists Pat Boyette and Jack Sparling. It was an effective spell that would entrance a loyal audience long into the next decade.

Initial Thoughts

Wow Jude’s actually writing about DC Comics and it’s NOT incoherent ranting, who’d have guessed?

As part of my attempt to start Year Three off strongly, I’m including a review of my favorite of DC’s old horror anthology comics from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Well, it’s up there alongside “Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love.”

DC had a whole slew of horror comics, “House of Mystery,” “House of Secrets,” “Tales of the Unexpected,” “Ghost Castle,” “Doorway Into Nightmare,” “Sinister House of Secret Love,” etc. “The Witching Hour” was first published way back in 1969 and ran for 85 issues before the main characters were transplanted to “The Unexpected” upon the book’s cancellation.

“The Witching Hour” stands among one of my favorites due solely to the hosts that narrated its stories. Every, well, most of the issues, had a framing device focusing on three witch sisters, Cynthia, Mildred, and Mordred. The issues would take place at midnight, where the sisters would welcome the reader and try to see which of the three had the most gruesome tale to tell.

I only own about a couple dozen or so issues ranging from most of the first ten to a few sporadic numbers throughout the run. From the handful I own I can clearly see the formulaic rot that set in, when the humorous framing stories were reduced to a one page joke opener that lacked the style and panache of the earliest comics.

The Three Witches In Sandman
Cynthia, Mildred and Mordred in The Sandman

The three witches were later incorporated as part of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” alongside many of the other horror host characters like Lucien from “Ghost Castle” and the brothers Cain and Abel. Cynthia, Mildred and Mordred were introduced as aspects of the Fates/Furies dubbed “The Three-In-One.” Cynthia was established to be the Maiden of the trinity, while Mildred was the Mother and Mordred (who acknowledges her name’s wrong) is the Crone.

They repeatedly appeared at least once per story arc but in different forms before becoming the antagonistic Kindly Ones in the comic’s penultimate tale.

As of recently, they’ve been popping up in some newer DC works. Cynthia appeared in 2018’s Valentine’s Day anthology as a love interest for DC’s version of the Bride of Frankenstein. The three were later antagonists in a Catwoman/Sylvester and Tweety crossover by Gail Simone and have been bedeviling Harley Quinn in her solo series.

The witches are truly the only reason why “The Witching Hour” remains my top fave of the horror anthologies, and they’ve been especially prominent in some of my DC story ideas. Onto the recap!

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #205: Give Yourself Goosebumps #3: Trapped in Bat Wing Hall by R.L. Stine

Na-na-na-na BATMAN
“‘Join the Horror Club’ she said. ‘It’ll be fun’ she said.'”

Title: Give Yourself Goosebumps #3 – Trapped in Bat Wing Hall, a.k.a. “Tales from the Krupnik Crypt”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Tagline: Going Batty!

Summary: Join The Horror Club…

Being the new kid in school is no picnic. At your old school you had tons of friends, but now you don’t even have one. Then you meet Nick. He asks you to join the Horror Club.

The Horror Club meets in an old mansion known as Bat Wing Hall. It’s dark. It’s spooky. And it’s where your adventure begins.

The members of the Horror Club are going on a scavenger hunt. If you join the red team, you find out the truth about your new friends – they’re actually monsters! One is a green-skinned reptile. Another is a hulking giant! If you join the blue team, you get turned into a furry-faced vampire bat!

The choice is yours in the scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure that’s packed with over 20 super spooky endings!

[Wing: UMMMM. Does this summary really spoil the paths? WTF, editors.]

Initial Thoughts

Happy birthday to me. [Wing: Happy belated birthday!]

Following up from last year’s “Ghost Camp” review (and you guys probably expected me to cover the sequel) I decided to recap another of my lifelong favorite Goosebumps.

“Trapped In Bat Wing Hall” was one of the earliest GYG books I ever read. Back in elementary school it was one of the few Goosebumps books that consistently remained in my homeroom back in 4th or 5th grade. It took me years, if not decades, before I finally purchased a copy of my own. I loved it so much I even attempted to write a sequel that ultimately went nowhere.

I’m implementing the system I came up with when I reviewed “One Night In Payne House” this previous Halloween. Since the book diverges into two different storylines, the recap will consist of me covering both of them as far into a good ending as I can.

I feel Wing will very much enjoy some of the first storyline, but unfortunately there ARE spiders in this story. Not a giant, two-headed sentient ghost spider, but spiders nonetheless.

[Wing: I guess it could be worse… For other arachnophobes, right after the first path begins, there’s a drawing of the spiders. It’s not super detailed, but still.]

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Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #191: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #4: One Night In Payne House by R.L. Stine

GYG Special Edition #4 Cover
Hi, doggie!

Title: Give Yourself Goosebumps Special Edition #4 – One Night In Payne House

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Craig White

Tagline: There’s Only One Way Out!

Summary: Talk About Being In The Doghouse!

It’s Halloween. And you’ve just taken the Ultimate Challenge. You’ve entered the town’s most horrifying haunted house – Payne House.

So ready or not, you’ve got exactly one chance to survive. All other paths point to THE END. Your end! Because roaming through Payne House is a giant dog-beast who wants to put a choke-chain leash – on you! Not to mention the drooling Tongue Thin that’s having a major snack attack!

The choice is yours in this scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure! It’s packed with over 20 super-spooky endings – but only one way out!

Initial Thoughts

For this year’s Halloween Extravaganza, join me in my very first recap of the Give Yourself Goosebumps sub-series.

I’ve been on the fence about how to recap these entries for months because they aren’t straightforward tales like the usual Goosebumps books. But when thinking about recapping this particular book for Point Horror, I had an idea. I’ve come up with a system where, instead of recapping the books like a game with a system of lives if I get a bad ending I will review straight through into one of the good endings. If a book branches off into two storylines, I’ll review both in the same article.

As you guessed from the summary, this book claims to have only one good ending out of dozens of bad ones. However, even the supposed good ending is debatable. Like the other special edition stories, these rely on an inventory system as you pick things up along the way. When I first bought and read this, I ALMOST made it to the good ending and then died.

Mark Nagata was the original cover artist for the series (well Tim Jacobus did the first cover), but when the layout got redesigned Craig White was hired as the new artist. I think both are amazing, though.

Oh, and I’ll be referring to the player character as “Jude.”

[Wing: I love Choose Your Own Adventure style books, and am thrilled to have Jude taking on Give Yourself Goosebumps. I used to mark spots in CYOA style books where I wanted to come back and take another path, until pretty much every option was flagged, which was useless, baby!Wing. Happy Halloween, all!] (more…)

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #84: Nightmare Hall #4: The Wish by Diane Hoh

cover of The Wish by Diane Hoh has a woman behind a window with the title in green font

Title: Nightmare Hall #4: The Wish by Diane Hoh

Summary: Alex is the first to notice the strange little booth at the back of the campus pizza place. Wishes granted, fortunes told says the sign on the glass. Inside sits The Wizard – an eerie wooden figure with sinister blue eyes. Alex’s friends make wishes. And one by one, they come true – in terrifying, twisted ways. Is The Wizard behind the horror?  Or is someone else to blame, someone with a deadly wish all his – or her – own…

Tagline: None

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

Wishmaster is one of my favourite guilty pleasure horror movies. The Buffy episode “The Wish” introduced us to Anya, possibly my favourite character in that show. I’ve yet to check out Wish Upon, which hit cinemas this year, but it’s safe to say I enjoy the premise of an entity making wishes go horribly wrong. This book came before all of those, so although it’s much tamer and simpler, I still remember having a good time with it. And thankfully, Hoh herself is still at the helm.

[Wing: I also love that Buffy episode, and monkey’s paw type situations are one of my favourite horror tropes, so I’m excited about this book.]

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #56: Books of Blood 1: The Principal by M. C. Sumner

Books of Blood by M. C. Sumner - Don't you just love it when the cover is so exciting and intriguing?
Books of Blood by M. C. Sumner – Don’t you just love it when the cover is so exciting and intriguing?

Title: The Principal by M C Sumner

Summary: Talli knows a deadly secret – and wishes she didn’t.

Principal Volker is tough on discipline, and anyone who steps out of line is summoned to his office, and gets a detention. But no one seems the same afterwards and pupils start disappearing. Talli knows it has something to do with Volker. She follows him to his house and discovers he’s a vampire.

Tagline: You’ll die if you get detention… (Yeah, nope, another Nightmares tagline written by someone who’s never read the book.)

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:

Books of Blood 1: The Principal by M. C. Sumner
Books of Blood 1: The Principal by M. C. Sumner or “Robert distracts Class 4 during assembly”

I have been dreading doing this. So I can only assume that this book is significantly better than I think it will be. Or at least it shouldn’t be as bad as Hall Pass.

I’m doing a Wing here, and recapping as I read for the first time. Usually I read through the entire book, then recap. I’ve only done it this way once or twice before. And generally it highlights how bad I am at guessing what’s going to happen.

One of the reasons I’m so loathe to recap this is that bloody cover to the right. It looks stupid. I remember when I was in primary school, aged around eight, Robert, a kid in the year below me, was sent out of assembly for goofing off. He spent the rest of the assembly pressing his face against the glass in the door and making silly faces to crack up anyone who could see him. This cover sums up that memory perfectly. This is going to be ridiculous. (Also, I get unnaturally angsty when I can’t find a nice high quality cover for my recap.)

[Wing: I love it when the summary just flat out tells me the mystery behind the principal.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #51: Followers by Anna Davies

Followers by Anna Davies
Followers by Anna Davies

Title: Followers by Anna Davies

Summary: To tweet or not to tweet . . . what a deadly question.

When Briana loses out on a starring role in the school’s production of Hamlet, she reluctantly agrees to be the drama department’s “social media director” and starts tweeting half-hearted updates. She barely has any followers, so when someone hacks her twitter account [Dove: Yeah, that never happened.], Briana can’t muster the energy to stop it. After all, tweets like “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark . . . and a body’s rotting in the theater” are obviously a joke.

But then a body IS discovered in the theater: Briana’s rival. Suddenly, what seemed like a prank turns deadly serious. To everyone’s horror, the grisly tweets continue . . . and the body count starts to rise.

There’s no other explanation; someone is live-tweeting murders on campus.

With the school in chaos and the police unable to find the culprit, it’s up to Briana to unmask the psycho-tweeter before the carnage reaches Shakespearian proportions . . . or she becomes the next victim.

Tagline: Briana’s next update might be her last. . . .

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:

Dove and I were epically excited when we learned there would be new Point Horrors published. We probably should not have been.

[Dove: I have been dreading reading this. Ever since Wing said she’d do a new PH, I’ve been dragging my feet over reading this. And maybe cursing her name. Just a little. Especially since this is the author who gave us “Identity Theft”, the book that made me quit new PH.]

[Wing: I am truly the evil twin. Also, the cover of this book has nothing to do with the content. Be better, new Point Horrors. Be better!]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #47: Halloween Night by R. L. Stine

Halloween Night I by R. L. Stine
Halloween Night I by R. L. Stine

Title: Halloween Night by R. L. Stine

Summary: Brenda hates her cousin, Halley, and she’s not the only one. Halley shouldn’t go around stealing other people boyfriends, it could get her into trouble.

Big trouble…

Brenda is determined to have her revenge – the perfect finale to her Halloween party She’s going to stop Halley’s evil games once and for all, and give her just what she deserves… Come party time, Halley’s in for a nasty surprise…

But does Brenda really hate Halley that much? Surely she only having a little Halloween fun… isn’t she?

Tagline: This party is a killer…

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’m pretty sure I read this back in the 90s because the US cover looks familiar (and is much better than the UK cover), but I have absolutely no memory of the characters or what happens, so it will be like I’m reading it anew. I love Halloween, I love horror, and I feud with R. L. Stine. What could possibly go wrong?

Happy Halloween, guys!

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #46: The Claw by Carmen Adams

The Claw by Carmen Adams
The Claw by Carmen Adams

Title: The Claw by Carmen Adams

Summary: The mark of death…

Kelly is excited about her summer job at the local zoo – even after the threatening phone calls warning her away.

Nothing can dampen Kelly’s resolve to work with animals.

But wild animals can be very dangerous and someone has left the door to the black leopard’s cage open. Who could be that careless… or that malicious? As the leopard leaves a trail of terror all over town, Kelly soon realizes that the bloody claw marks are leading straight to her…

Tagline: The mark of death…

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 this one before, but it’s right up my alley. (Creature feature, potential shapeshifters, man-eating animals — I love them all.) I am already entertained by the fact that, per the summary, no one can catch a rogue black leopard. Come on, people! What kind of zoo are you?

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #41: The Surfer by Linda Cargill

The Surfer by Linda Cargill
The Surfer by Linda Cargill

Title: The Surfer by Linda Cargill

Summary: Surf’s up. You’re dead.

Jessie has never seen the daring beauty on the surfboard before. The one who gets a thrill out of surfing on the stormy seas. And now it seems Jessie will never know her.

The girl disappears beneath the treacherous waves… never to surface again…

So who’s the new girl in town?

The one who casts a spell over everyone she meets. She can’t remember her name. Or where she came from. Jessie thinks she knows… Has the beautiful surfer come back from the death? Or is it something worse… much worse…?

Tagline: Surf’s up. You’re dead.

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 this. I’d never even heard of it until Dove found it. And Dove has been super negative when talking about it, but y’all? I’m excited to read it. I love seaside horror and surfing, that summary is pretty thick with queer girl potential, and that cover makes it look like some sort of clawed monster attacked the board. EXCITING!

[Dove: Once I saw the cover, I knew this was a Wing book. That lady loves her oceans. And her surfing. And from the description, a girl falling for another girl. Actually, to be honest, this sounds like a Dove book too.]

[Wing: Right. I mean, I do love those things, BUT SO DO YOU. Possibly because I infected you with my love for most of it, but still.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #36: Return of the Vampire (Vampire Series: Book 2) by Caroline B. Cooney

The Return of the Vampire by Caroline B. Cooney
The Return of the Vampire by Caroline B. Cooney

Title: Return of the Vampire by Caroline B Cooney

Summary: Devnee is tired of being ignored. Tired of feeling ordinary. All she wants is to be beautiful. If she’s beautiful, everything else will fall in to place: popularity, friendship, even love. Devnee’s family has just moved into a new house – a house with a vampire in it. He can grant Devnee’s wish, but there’s a price. Is she willing to pay it?

Tagline: He’s back for more…

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:

Return of the Vampire by Caroline B Cooney - Scan by Mimi
Return of the Vampire by Caroline B Cooney – Scan by Mimi

I remember that I found Devnee particularly loathsome when I was a teenager, so I have no doubt she’s even worse now I’m an adult. Back in the day, I actually read this before The Cheerleader. Despite having Return in the title, it did not occur to me it was a sequel. This is one of those things like how it never occurred to Wing to hunt down Class Trip, after reading Class Trip 2.

[Wing: Yours makes sense, though. I mean, Return of the Vampire works as a title of a stand-alone book just as well as it does for a sequel, because vampires. Always with the returning and acting alive even when they’re dead, etc.]

Also, thanks to Mimi, the sublime, who has provided alternative covers.

[Wing: I had the same cover as  Mimi back in the day, but I really like the mirror cover a lot better.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #23: The Train by Diane Hoh

The Train by Diane Hoh
The Train by Diane Hoh

Title: The Train by Diane Hoh

Summary: Hannah and her friends are on a train trip that begins as a fun cross-country tour – until they learn that Frog’s coffin is on board with them.

His real name was Roger, but he was nicknamed Frog by his classmates, who taunted and ridiculed him.

One by one, Hannah’s friends guiltily confess the nasty things they did to Frog. And then, one by one, they are viciously attacked.

It seems Frog is out for revenge. But Frog’s dead – isn’t he?

Tagline: A one-way ticket… to terror.

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. [Wing: And of course Dove tries to inflict “Muffin Man” on our guest snarkers.]

A quick introduction by Dove:

Hi all, Dove here, hijacking Dade’s post.  Since Wing and I were tied up with other stuff, we put out the feelers to see if anyone else wanted to recap in the interim.  Dade, who you’ve probably already met under a different name in the comments here, was the first to reply.  So, from Wing and myself, thank you for doing this for the site.

[Wing: Thanks so much, Dade! You did an excellent job on a book that overall bored me.]

Initial Thoughts:

Diane Hoh’s my favourite Point Horror author. She doesn’t try to be trendy. She writes solid mystery thrillers that just happen to be about teenagers. (Unlike D.E. Athkins/Nola Thacker, who was cringeworthy, and ironically ghost-wrote some of Hoh’s Nightmare Hall entries). [Wing: That’s news to me. Interesting.]

I was about 12 when I first read The Train. I liked it, but I can remember writing my own fan-fic sequel in which I killed off all the survivors, because I didn’t like them very much. (My first recap and I’m already confessing dark secrets about my juvenile fiction writing career). [Wing: We embrace fanfic around here.]

Time to regress to my 12-year-old self (unfortunately not hard) to see why I felt this way.

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