By R.L. Stine
Published by Definitions / Random House
Author R.L. Stine, the writer behind the Goosebumps books, now ups the ante with this horror fest for young adults. The result is a mixed bag of ickiness and plot holes that you could drive a truck through.
Fans that enjoyed Goosebumps when they were younger will be disappointed by their favourite author's move into Young Adult horror. It's a case of trying too hard and falling well short of the mark.
Totally ignoring weather warnings, travel writer Lea Sutter visits an island off the coast of the United States for a travel blog. It's an extremely foolish thing to do, as things turn out.
The island is the home of voodoo traditions and practices, and Lea wants to check out a secret ceremony she's heard about that brings the dead back to life
But before she can get her laptop out, a hurricane devastates the island. Lea survives, and while struggling through the aftermath she comes across two blond-haired, blue-eyed boys who have lost everything in the storm.
Lea feels sorry for the orphans, so takes them home, offering them a new life with her husband and young son and daughter.
Where are the child protection authorities when you need them? A crazy American woman has just picked up two 12-year-old boys and taken them back home with her! Plot holes don't come much bigger!
Back home, Lea's husband Mark, a child psychologist, is puzzled by his wife's sudden decision to adopt the orphaned boys. Instead of sending for the police, he reluctantly agrees to welcome the boys into the family.
What a weird pair Daniel and Samuel are. They speak like little old men, and are so keen to please their new parents you can guess something must be wrong. It isn't long before strange things start happening in the Sutter household. A visitor is brutally murdered in his car in front of the house. One of the kids at the local school is killed, and it's best not to mention what happens to the school principal.
Though some aspects are interesting, the book disappoints in terms of spine-chilling content and believability. If you want a much better novel about children with a spooky agenda, read The Midwich Cuckoos, the 1950s classic by John Wyndham. Now that's a classic tale that will really chill your blood.
Contains adult themes and strong language
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com.