Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #153: Nightmare Hall #12: The Whisperer by Diane Hoh

Diane Hoh - Nightmare Hall - The Whisperer
Diane Hoh – Nightmare Hall – The Whisperer

Title: Nightmare Hall #12: The Whisperer

Summary: Shea Fallon can’t tell anyone what she did. She knows it was wrong. Terribly wrong. But she had to do it – she had no choice. Anyway, she’s sure nobody will find out. Until she hears the whisper on the telephone. “You don’t have to worry. No one will know what you’ve done. I’ve seen to that.” Who is the whisperer, and how does he know? Shea wonders. And even more terrifying…what will the whisperer’s price be to keep her secret?

Tagline: Non.

Notes: I will refer to the bad guy/girl as The Whisperer since, well, that’s what they are!

Initial Thoughts

Welcome back, Diane Hoh. Why do you leave us? Your fill-in’s last contribution was real bottom of the barrel stuff and was almost my Last Date with the series. [Wing: Badumcha.]

As always, I have good memories of this, because it’s from Ms. Hoh. Shea’s big secret is that she cheated on an exam. I’ve never done that. Ironically enough, I’m not clever (or devious) enough to think up a scenario in which I could do so. I did okay, though. I got a degree. For all the good it did in securing a job. (I have had many jobs since university, of course, but my degree had nothing to do with any of them). I’m 38 and still paying the bloody thing off. And I have gone way off course… [Wing: Oh god, student loan debt. I hope this book is better than the last one. I need a distraction from weeping into my budget.]

[Wing: What with this being book 12, we’ve hit a year of Dade recapping Nightmare Hall! I’m glad we have so many books to come, still, because these recaps are a joy and a delight forever, and Dade continues to be a wealth of information about YA publishing in the 80s and 90s. Thank you for all you do, Dade!]

(more…)

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #145: Nightmare Hall #11: Last Date by Diane Hoh/Nola Thacker

Diane Hoh - Last Date
Diane Hoh – Last Date

Title: Nightmare Hall #11: Last Date by Diane Hoh

Summary: A night you’ll never forget. Call me. Demi does it on a dare. She places an ad in the personals column of the Salem Chronicle. Lots of guys call. And the nights are everything she advertised. Unforgettable. Unforgettably frightening. Because one by one, Demi’s dates start having nasty little accidents. Disappearing. Even…dying.

Tagline: None

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

I didn’t even like this one when I first read it 24 years ago. 24 years. Bloody hell. If that weren’t bad enough, Nola “Hack” Thacker is back in the driver’s seat for this ride, so I’m anticipating severe bouts of carsickness and a strong urge to nap. (Note from the future: and a lot of swearing, too). [Wing: Another one I don’t remember reading. Somehow, I think I missed most of the Thacker ones, even though at the time, I didn’t know they were being ghostwritten.]

(more…)

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #112: Nightmare Hall #7: Pretty Please by Diane Hoh

Title: Nightmare Hall #7: Pretty Please by Diane Hoh

Summary: Johanna Dunn is strikingly beautiful, just like all her friends. Until the accident. Now her perfect face is scarred and bandaged. She’s embarrassed by the strange looks she gets on campus – even from her closest friends. A pretty face isn’t everything, is it? Somebody thinks it is. Some thinks she’s plain old ugly now. Too ugly to live…. [Wing: Well damn, that escalated quickly.]

Tagline: None.

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

Love the cover of this one, with the bandaged face looking back out of the mirror. Once again, I remember the identity of the Muffin Man all these years later. The concept of a killer going after a person they consider “ugly” may sound thin, but I think it’s quite unique, living as we do in a very looks obsessed society. Diane Hoh usually delves deeper into hot button issues than other YA thriller writers did at the time, so I’m hoping she finds some time for some light social commentary in amongst the thrills.

[Wing: I’ve never read this one before, but I like the idea that Hoh is going to take on the power of beauty in our society. I hope this goes well. And I don’t think it’s too far fetched for a killer to go after someone they consider ugly; just look at how fat people, for example, are treated. People casually call for their deaths all the time.]

(more…)

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap 96: The Cemetery by D. E. Athkins

cover of The Cemetery by D. E. Athkins, has four fingers coming out of dirt with long, sharp silver nailsTitle: The Cemetery by D. E. Athkins

Summary: At a Hallowe’en party with very exclusive guests, the disguised play a game of hide and seek in an ancient cemetery as midnight approaches. When someone is killed, all the partygoers can do is suspect each other – unless there is an unknown player.

Tagline: Don’t look behind you…

Initial Thoughts

Every time I see the name D. E. Athkins, I laugh, which is probably not the intended response. I can’t help it. Deathkins writing Point Horror? Good lord, be more subtle.

Beyond that, I find D. E. Athkins’ work hit or miss, whether under this pseud or as Nola Thacker (who also wrote the Graveyard School series as Tom B. Stone and sometimes filled in as the ghost writer for the Nightmare Hall series under Diane Hoh’s name). (My god, the authors we recap here are an incestuous lot, aren’t they?) (Note: No actually claim or accusation of real incest here.)

All that being said, I love the summary of this book (… minus the Hallowe’en spelling, which just looks twee), and I hope we’ll all enjoy it.

(more…)

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #93: Nightmare Hall #5: The Scream Team by Diane Hoh

cover of Diane Hoh's Scream Team, top cover is brick building with a window cutout that shows a girl in a cheerleading uniform collapsed on the floor

Title: The Scream Team by Diane Hoh

Summary: Delle has always been a cheerleader. And so she wants more than anything to make the squad at Salem U. Until she hears the horrible truth about what happened to last year’s cheerleaders…

Once Delle thought she would die to make the team. Now she realizes she may have to. Welcome to the scream team, Delle.

[Wing: Well that’s suitably creepy. What did happen to last year’s cheerleaders?]

Tagline: None.

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

Can’t remember a great deal about this one, to be honest, though I can still recall the identity of the Muffin Man. It should be noted that this is another one from Nola “Hack” Thacker, so expectations are not high.

[Wing: I’ve never read this one, but I love horror + cheerleaders, so maybe that will work even if I didn’t much enjoy Thacker’s last Nightmare Hall outing.]

(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.]

(more…)

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #71: Nightmare Hall #2: The Roommate by Diane Hoh/Nola Thacker

cover of The Roommate, with a girl standing in front of a window staring in horror at something offscreenTitle: Nightmare Hall #2: The Roommate

Summary: Four roommates share a suite in the Quad. Danni is beautiful and perfect, from her long blonde hair to her expensive clothes. Margot is mysterious – brutally honest or slyly secretive, depending on her mood. Lacey is a wild woman, who loves to party, party, party. And Maureen is quiet and painfully shy. But the girls are not all what they seem. And soon one of them may be…dead.

Tagline: None

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

The first thing you have to be aware of is that this was NOT written by Diane Hoh. It is extremely obvious it’s a different writer. This was written by Nola Thacker. Nola Thacker also used the pseudonym D.E. Athkins in the Point Horror line. She delivered a total stinker (The Ripper aka The Cemetery), a pile of crap (Secret Santa), and a couple of okay ones (Sister Dearest, Mirror Mirror and The Bride).

[Wing: I thought I hated her work, but then I checked The Bride recap, and no, I actually loved the ending and enjoyed a lot of the ridiculousness. Actually, her short story “Blood Kiss” in 13 Tales of Horror was similar, not bad, but ridiculous.]

(more…)

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #67: Nightmare Hall #1: The Silent Scream by Diane Hoh

Silent Scream book cover, shows a window into a dorm room with a girl's body on the floorTitle: Nightmare Hall #1: The Silent Scream

Summary: Jess is eager to start college – until she arrives at her off-campus dorm. She can see why everyone calls it Nightmare Hall. Especially when she learns the dark secrets hidden within the house. A girl named Giselle hanged herself there. In Jess’s room.  But was it really suicide? Or was Giselle murdered? Echoing through the house, Jess can still hear the sound of Giselle’s last scream….

Tagline: There isn’t one! The early Nightmare Hall books had one of those covers with a window, and you could open the front to see the bigger picture behind the window. Groovy! In the intervening 24 years, however, the window frames have broken off my copies! [Wing: The window covers remain some of my favorite covers of any book. It’s such a simple idea, and yet it charms me to no end. Only one of my cover windows broke, I think, but I’m always afraid the others will too.]

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall. Could still be either male or female, however. And heads up – I still remembered going into this who the killer was. [Wing: I don’t! This is awesome.]

Initial Thoughts

I have very fond memories of this series. I actually still remember reading this first entry, for the first time, back in 1993, at home on the weekend with the basketball on TV in the backgroud. Diane Hoh is also my favourite Point Horror author, so there are a lot of ticks in the plus box for this one. Strangely, it was one of only a few books actually set at Nightingale Hall – the rest just took place at Salem University. There were 29 books in all. Although all were credited to Hoh, she only wrote 22 of them – which is still a mighty effort!

[Wing: This was not my first Nightmare Hall, which means by the time I came back to it, I was shocked that it was actually set at Nightingale Hall. Most of the other books only reference it.]

(Podcast episode)

(more…)

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #50: The Accident by Diane Hoh

The Accident by Diane Hoh
The Accident by Diane Hoh

Title: The Accident by Diane Hoh

Summary: On the eve of her “sweet sixteen” birthday, a girl meets a ghost with a tragic past.

Megan Logan’s sixteenth birthday party is in eleven days, and she still doesn’t have a date. For months she’s been secretly in love with her best friend, Justin, but she’s afraid to tell him how she feels. By the time her party starts, though, boys will be the last thing on her mind. While Megan tries on her party dress, three of her friends go for a ride to the lake. As the car makes a sharp turn, the steering malfunctions, and the girls fly headlong into a utility pole. Two escape with minor injuries, but one is rushed to the hospital in critical condition. As Megan worries about her friend, a spirit appears in her mirror: the ghost of a girl who died decades before, on her sixteenth birthday. As the ghost attempts to take over her life, Megan just hopes she can make it through her party alive.

Tagline: She has returned. From the dead…

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:

I used to love this book. It had actual ghosts in it. Instead of being lured in with the promise of supernatural, only to find out it’s a regular human being, this one had actual supernatural. And it was lovely. I also remember that it had a heavy dream summer/romantic feeling throughout, slightly hazy and lazy. It’s one of the reasons I love Diane Hoh so much. I have not read it as an adult though, and I’ve been putting this off, because I’m worried that, like so many before, I won’t enjoy it as an adult.

In other news, I am addicted to Planet Coaster, and this recap is taking me away from it. If anyone else is playing, let me know, and we can discuss how utterly swoon-worthy the game is.

[Wing: I’ve never read this book before. It is a little strange, but not nearly as weird as last week’s Pike. In comparison, this one is practically reality.]

(more…)

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!

(more…)

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?

(more…)

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #45: The Invitation by Diane Hoh

The Invitation by Diane Hoh
The Invitation by Diane Hoh

Title: The Invitation by Diane Hoh

Summary: For the high schoolers of Greenhaven, Cass Rockham’s fall party is the social event of the year. Each October, students wait by their mailboxes, praying for the gilt-edged invitation that grants entry into the inner circle of the most popular crowd. And now Cass has planned her finest party yet, with a new sauna, a hot band, and no parents for miles. But to make this party really killer, Cass tops it all off with a sinister twist. Nerdy Sarah Drew is shocked when she and her friends receive invitations to Cass’s affair. For years she’s steered clear of the popular kids, and now they want her to come to their party? Sarah is wary, but her friends talk her into coming with them. But she regrets it quickly, for at Cass Rockham’s mansion, the only party favor is death.

Tagline: At the party of the year, a rich girl’s practical joke turns deadly

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:

I remember this being one of my favourites as a teenager. I never had a copy of it, just borrowed my friend’s once, so it could be that I read it quickly and thought it was awesome and never checked back in. Or it could actually be awesome. It is Diane Hoh, after all.

Welp, here goes…

[Wing: I read this for the first time not too long ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t recap it at the time. Maybe it was while I was traveling.]

(more…)

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #39: The Phantom by Barbara Steiner

The Phantom by Barbara Steiner
The Phantom by Barbara Steiner

Title: The Phantom by Barbara Steiner

Summary: When Reggie Westlake turns up at the school rally marking the start of the football season, the crowd goes wild. He’s the greatest player Stony Bay High School ever had. Quarterback and Captain, Reggie led the winning team for two years running, raising the school spirit higher than ever before. No one could forget his black and gold jersey bearing the number nine. He’ll always be the school hero, the one everyone loves. There’s just one thing… Reggie’s dead.

Tagline: He’s got the killer instinct

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 I love high school football and ghost stories, so … who am I kidding, I’m pretty sure this is going to be terrible. I guess we’ll see.

(Note from the future: Actually, I quite enjoyed it, until that ending.)

[Dove: I had never read this before either. Hadn’t even heard of it until I bought a bundle of PH books and it was in there. I wish I could go back to that time.]

(more…)

Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #35: Horrorscope by Nicholas Adams

Horrorscope by Nicholas Adams
Horrorscope by Nicholas Adams

Title: Horrorscope by Nicholas Adams

Summary: Aries: Avoid confrontations. A bad day for relationships.

Soon she would come.

It was written in the stars.

Finally Jenny Warren left the protective light of the streetlamp behind. She walked fast, her shoes tapping on the sidewalk.

In the shadow of the night, the watcher smiled. His hands tightened their grip on the scarf. “You should have paid attention, Jenny,” he whispered to himself. “Didn’t you read your horoscope today?”

This is a novel by John Peel writing as Nicholas Adams.

Tagline: This will be your day to die…

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

Initial Thoughts:

Never read it, but love horror stories based on horoscopes, and I really enjoyed the depth and detail of the last Nightmares book I read, even if the subject matter was terrible, so I have high hopes for this one. We’ll see how quickly Adams can ruin that for me.

(And on the other hand, under his John Peel name, he wrote DANCES WITH WEREWOLVES, which was entertaining enough but not great. And we should really recap that at some point, too.)

(more…)

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #34: The Stalker by Carol Ellis

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:

(more…)

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #33: The Waitress by Sinclair Smith

The Waitress by Sinclair Smith
The Waitress by Sinclair Smith

Title: The Waitress by Sinclair Smith

Summary: The food is great. The service is deadly. Dying for a good meal? Come on over to the Dog House, where Paula works after school. It’s a great place to meet friends – if they are still alive. At the Dog House accidents can happen, and they often do. You could wind up with more than just an upset stomach. You might just wind up dead. Of course, when things go wrong everybody always blames the waitress. Now Paula’s first job might be her last.

Tagline: The customer is always … wrong. Dead wrong.

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

Initial Thoughts:

That is very clearly ketchup smeared on the plate, not blood. The scariest thing on this cover is the spilled salt. Salt is gross.

(more…)

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #32: My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis
My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

Title: My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

Summary: Jenny is new in town. Her parents go away, leaving her all alone in an isolated house. The mountains surrounding the town loom ominously, guarding the secret of what really happened the day of Diana Benson’s accident. Then the phonecalls start…

Jenny has a secret admirer, who courts her with sweet messages and flowers. But she also has an enemy, who chases her on a lonely road. Does she know too much about the “accident” on the cliffs? And is there anyone she can trust?

Jenny has no-one to turn to.

Except her secret admirer…

But who is he?

Tagline: He was crazy about Jenny. Crazy enough to kill her.

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.

Warnings: NONE. After the past two recaps, which have handled touchy subject matter (with varying degrees of success), we are back to a regular Point Horror, which features the standard tropes. Boys. Alpha bitches. DEATH (not really, it’s actually a convenient coma). Wing and I will resume our usual level of goofing off, adding silly gifs, and using “BITCHES” to mean “dearest readers, who I love to pieces” (that last one is just me).

[Wing: I am still really angry at the world, for a lot of reasons. Not sure how much fun times I’ll be providing in recaps for awhile, to be honest.]

[Dove: Yes, I probably phrased that wrong, I just meant it was more appropriate to goof off in this silly recap than the serious one of last week.]

Initial Thoughts:

I read this back in the day, but it didn’t really stick with me. Generally speaking, I like Carol Ellis. When I was younger, Camp Fear and The Window were my favourites. As an adult… I still enjoy Camp Fear, but The Window had a lot of faults. I remember it being a story that didn’t really move very fast. And given that it’s one of the shorter PHs around, that’s a worry. [Wing: Camp Fear remains one of my favorites. I’ve never read this one before, but since I have good memories of Ellis from Camp Fear, I am excited.]

Right, let’s do this thing.

Also, please note the various covers for this book. I particularly like the one of the right. BEWARE THE JAZZ HANDS, BITCHES! [Wing: The middle cover isn’t terrible, but the jazz hands one is the greatest thing I have ever seen, and by greatest, I mean most terrible. And also, I definitely thought that phone booth was a window standing in the middle of nowhere when I first saw it. Because in Point Horror, things don’t have to make sense.]

My Secret Admirer Covers - (l-r) Sinister Stalker, Oozing Flowers and JAZZHANDS WILL GET YOU.
My Secret Admirer Covers – (l-r) Sinister Stalker, Oozing Flowers and JAZZHANDS WILL GET YOU.

Edit: Extra fun – our lovely Mimi has provided a copy of the American cover, so you can see the glorious jazz hands in high quality. Enjoy!

My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis (American Cover - Jazz Hands Edition - Scan by Mimi)
My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis (American Cover – Jazz Hands Edition – Scan by Mimi)

(more…)

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

(more…)

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #20: The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick

The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick
The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: There’s a stalker on the lose at the mall—and there’s no safe place to hide

Working at the mall is supposed to be fun. Trish’s job at Muffin-Mania is hardly intellectually challenging and her boss is a piece of work, but it’s worth it to have a job in the same building as her two best friends, the Hanson twins. And the hot guys who hang out there are an added bonus. But something isn’t right about this mall. It’s the oldest mall in the state, remodeled over a dozen times without rhyme or reason, and there are many strange nooks and secret passages behind the bright gleaming storefronts. Someone has been stealing housewares, furniture, and food, and now a mysterious man with ash-gray hair and a whisper-soft voice has started harassing Trish on the phone. He knows her secrets, and he has dark plans for her.

The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick - Scan by Mimi
The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick – Scan by Mimi

Tagline: Shop till you drop… dead

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 use the term “Muffin Man” to refer to our bad guy, because that’s what the text calls him. In fact, I want to call all future Bad Guys the Muffin Man. Wing, make this happen. Update your template.

WARNING: Just so you know, the entire book has a very rapey vibe (not just from the Bad Guy). It’s mild, because this is Point Horror, but I thought I’d better give a warning regardless. My own personal issues can be triggered by watching Brave, so honestly, there’s no guessing what can upset people. So consider yourself warned. Additionally, as I warned Wing when I first read this, “Just because I enjoyed it, doesn’t mean I won’t be using the phrase ‘statutory rape’ in my recap.” So, again, tread carefully if you have triggers.

Apology

First of all, I’d like to apologise for the delay in getting this up. It has taken me ages, because my skin keeps falling off my face, and sometimes the only way I can deal with it is to hold a wet cloth to my face to numb and moisturise the skin. Currently I look like the love child of Freddy Krueger and Sloth from Goonies.

Also, I posted this for Wing to comment on, and told her I was too tired to sort out all the things I wanted to link to. Wing went through and cleaned it up for me. I love Wing. Best friends means never having to hyperlink. ♥

[Wing: *preens*]

Initial Thoughts:

I had not read this before. I think I’d read the first few chapters a couple of times and bailed out, but I don’t actually remember anything from it, so I have no initial thoughts other than, “Oh god, when will the Cusick end.” So imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying it.

Disclaimer: You may require: an obsession with abandoned buildings, a high level of love for the Silent Hill franchise (especially SH3), and to be listening to the soundtrack as you read to enjoy it the way I did.

[Wing: I had all of those things and I did not enjoy it the way Dove did. In fact, I may have actively hated it. Possibly I wanted to burn things to the ground by the end.]

(more…)

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”.]

(more…)