R.L. Stine is one of the first authors I sought out growing up. Our local library was this tiny brick building with a whole room for young children’s books, but not much for kids looking for a good scare. Discovering the Fear Street series opened up a giddy place in my heart. And then realizing there were so many of them. The library had a few turning racks just for Fear Street, Boxcar Children, Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High books. The Fear Street rack was packed five books deep in each nook and there were so many nooks.
Someone mentioned Christopher Pike a while ago and I’ve had this urge to go back to Fear Street ever since. Red Rain is not a Fear Street novel, but it sounded promising. It’s Stine’s second adult horror book and I am an adult so….
Former magazine writer Leah is out to prove something with her adventure travel blog. She’s left her two daughters and author hubby at home on Long Island while she ventures alone to Noir Chat, an island off the coast of North Carolina that NOBODY goes to. Story goes the undead arose to rebuild the island after a hurricane destroyed it in 1935. There’s another hurricane on its way, but Leah’s not to concerned. No one else seems too worried.
Leah emerges from the hurricane’s devastation traumatized and eager to leave. She doesn’t return home alone. The twins are with her. Apparently orphaned by the storm, these angelic-looking 12-year-old boys were eager to leave the island and move in with Leah’s family so they can rule the school.
In a way this is a classic story of evil entering a home and tearing it apart. Leah’s husband is a child psychologist, but Stine didn’t get as much mileage from this as I expected. There were a few too many foreshadows that made what would’ve been a twist in the end a bit too obvious.
As a whole this is a little messy and unfortunately not scary, but it’s entertaining. Stine’s writing isn’t precious and I like that. He’s a great storyteller and best of all his books still fee like they were written by someone having a good time. His younger fans would probably enjoy this, too. There are some sexy scenes and gore, but it’s no more than you see on shows and porny movies. Just kidding. I mean there is a sex scene or two, but they’re more pathetic than raunchy.
Honestly, I’d give this book a dim 3 stars if I rated books here. For me, the fun of reading it was mostly nostalgia. The characters weren’t complex enough to hold my interest and the conflicts stayed on the surface. The scenes that are supposed to be scary fall flat because they try to ride on bloody descriptions, which just doesn’t work. I reacted with a cringe when I wanted terror. Though read on a night when I was alone and had most of the lights off, zero chills or nightmares were had as a result of reading this book. Now I have to pick up some of the Fear Street books to see if they hold up.