Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #48: Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: After her sister drowns, Ryan McCauley is haunted by the dead girl’s past

Two sisters walk through a snowy wood, collecting pinecones for Christmas decorations. Something has frightened Marisa, and she’s about to explain it to Ryan, her younger sister, when she steps onto a patch of thin ice. Marisa plummets into the frigid water below, and though Ryan tries to save her, there’s nothing she can do. Even though the accident wasn’t her fault, Ryan is consumed by guilt. But guilt is not what she should be afraid of. Three weeks after Marisa’s death, Ryan sees her everywhere. At night she feels something following her, but when she turns around there’s nothing there. A creepy college friend of Marisa’s shows up at Ryan’s house, and her mother asks him to stay through Christmas. To free herself of guilt, Ryan must unlock Marisa’s terrible secret – before death takes her too.

Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick - Scan by Mimi
Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick – Scan by Mimi

Tagline: Skating on thin ice…

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

Warning: Even by my own standards, I swear a lot towards the end of this bag of shit recap.

Initial Thoughts:

I read this for the first time a few months ago. Based on the front cover alone, my hopes were that it was going to be some hi-jinks romp set at a ski resort, with all the standard clichés that requires: alpha bitch who is possessive over men, protagonist torn between a serial killer and a nice guy (but which is which? OMG???) and some very tame parties, where everyone drinks Pepsi and plays monopoly.

I was wrong.

Also, I could not get it into my head that the protagonist, Ryan, is a girl, so I kept thinking it was very progressive, what with the m/m relationships.

I was wrong.

I have forgotten all of the intricacies of this story, I know how it ends, but I can’t remember anything that happens in the middle or who is who and all that nonsense. I’ve purged almost everything except the WTF-out-of-nowhere-like-an-RKO plot from my mind.

Also, I started this recap in July. Seriously.

[Wing: Dove really, really hated this book. I … did not. We’ll see how well this recap goes. Also, Mimi’s cover is weird.]

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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.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #42: The Dead Game by A Bates

The Dead Game by A Bates
The Dead Game by A Bates

Title: The Dead Game by A Bates

Summary: No-one was really supposed to get hurt. The Dead Game was something that Linnie, Ming and Jackson made up in their senior year to get back at all those people who really deserved it… the liars, the cheats and the bullies. To play the game, all they have to do is embarrass their chosen enemy in public.

But things start to go horribly wrong…

Their first “hit” ends up in hospital – and then someone dies. But when the three friends decide to stop playing, the dead game won’t stop.

Suddenly the rules have changed. How can they end the deadly game they have started…?

Tagline: Someone is playing for keeps

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 know I’ve read this. I bought it at the same time as The Cemetery, but I couldn’t remember a thing about it. In my mind, this book was some hazy combination of Freeze Tag and The Cemetery – something about being frozen in place while something supernatural hunted our protagonist and her friends. [Wing: I want to read the version that exists in your memory.]

As we have established, we cannot trust my memory. That’s not what this is about. At all.

Also, I read this about two weeks ago, and can barely remember a thing about it. It was ok, nothing so awful as The Stalker or whatever, but most of the plot points have vanished. Oh, this is the book where I used the “Parents? What Parents?” trope to figure out the Muffin Man.

[Wing: I’d never read it before. I quite enjoyed it, except for that ending. As usual, lately.]

Note: one of the leads is called Ming. I’m fairly certain that somewhere in here I will accidentally swap hers and Wing’s names over. Just go with it.

Also, I don’t know if it’s just me, but this whole process goes a lot better if you’re listening to Take On Me by Jeffster! (Vik Sahay makes everything better.)

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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:

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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 #28: The Baby-Sitter III by R.L. Stine

The Baby-Sitter III by R. L. Stine
The Baby-Sitter III by R. L. Stine

Title: The Baby-Sitter III by R. L. Stine

Summary: The third in R L Stine’s terrifying BABY-SITTER trilogy

Bad Company…

Jenny is desperate to forget Mr Hagen – the maniac who terrorized baby-sitters, including her.

Even when she goes to stay with her cousin Debra for the summer, she is still plagued by the same nightmares. Because Debra is a baby-sitter too, and now she’s getting terrifying phone calls, just like the ones Jenny used to get…

“Hi Babes. I’m back. Company’s coming…”

But Mr Hagen’s dead now, isn’t he…?

Tagline: He still wants her… alive or 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.

The Baby-Sitter III by R L Stine - Scan by Mimi
The Baby-Sitter III by R L Stine – Scan by Mimi

Initial Thoughts: I’ve never read it before, but based on book one and book two, I am in for a miserable ride. Thank fuck you all are strapped in next to me, and we’re speeding too fast down this twisty road, at night, in the rain, for you to be able to leap free.

… That metaphor might have gotten away from me, but you won’t.

(Oh dear god, this feud is breaking my brain. Damn you, Stine. Damn you!)

[Dove: My initial thoughts? Wing is going to explode and you guys will see the resulting mushroom cloud, no matter where you are in the universe.

Also: Who the buggery puts a bassinet right behind the front door?]

[Wing: Surely that’s supposed to be the door into the baby’s room?]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #22: Defriended by Ruth Baron

Defriended by Ruth Baron
Defriended by Ruth Baron

Title: Defriended by Ruth Baron

Summary: Jason has met the perfect girl. She loves indie rock, plays the guitar, quotes cheesey 80s films, and hates people who compare every book to The Great Gatsby. There’s just one small problem. Although Jason and Lacey spend hours chatting online, she refuses to meet up in person. Suspicious, Jason starts Googling, and his cyberstalking leads to a shocking discovery: According to multiple newspapers, Lacey died a year earlier. Soon, Jason finds himself caught in a disturbing mystery. Has he found a way to Facebook message the dead? Or is someone playing a dangerous trick on him? Either way, Jason has to uncover the truth before it’s time for him to meet Lacey in the afterlife.

Tagline: LACEY has changed her status to deceased

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 never did mention the bad guy. So no Bad Guy or Muffin Man.

Initial Thoughts:

Catfish.

CATFISH.

CAT FUCKING FISH*.

* may contain hipsters.

I told Wing I absolutely was NOT going to recap Fatal Secrets until EVERY SINGLE POINT HORROR IN THE ENTIRE WORLD had been done and I was all out of other options, I thought Defriended would be the easy option.

Insert hollow laugh.

[Wing: This is what happens when you try to avoid your nemesis.]

[Dove: Yes, I have learned from this experience.] (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.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #17: Teacher’s Pet by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Teacher's Pet by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Teacher’s Pet by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: Teacher’s Pet

Summary: Kate likes a little thrill. She likes a little scare. And she loves getting the chance to go to the exclusive week-long writing conference taught by the famous master of horror himself. He’s so good at being so bad.

With a teacher like that, you expect a little competition. With a teacher like that, you practically have to kill to get his attention.

Does Kate have what it takes to be teacher’s pet?

Tagline: Look at what the cat dragged in…

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

SUPER SPECIAL NOTE: Gemma requested this, so Gemma, this is for you. And I will hold you personally responsible if this is not awesome, ok? (Just kidding, it’s Cusick, there’s no hope of it being awesome.)

[Wing: GEMMA, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT.]

[Dove: Wing, don’t shout at our only commenter. We love Gemma. We just really hate this book.]

Initial Thoughts:

I know I have read this book. I know I did not enjoy this book. I couldn’t tell you what happened in it. Except there’s a cat. And at one point they think the cat is carrying a hand. Other than that? No clue.

[Wing: I’ve never read this book. My life was better from not reading it, clearly.]

Punctuation Abuse

Note: I’ve just realised that I bounce between “ellipses” and “ellipsis” in reference to DotDotDots in this blog. The second is correct. I’m just bad at typing, and because the first is a word, it’s not flagged as an error when I spell check. I’m trying to correct them as I see them, but there will be errors, I guarantee it.

Ellipsis used: 666
EnDashes used: 624

Because… everything – and I do mean everything – needs EnDashes and DotDotDots
Because… everything – and I do mean everything – needs EnDashes and DotDotDots

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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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