Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Trick or Treat - Richie Tankersley Cusick

A book from our beloved Point Horror series, I found this at an Op Shop and have been super excited to read it since. Halloween themed horror, yes plz. 
The house on the cover is super creepy but looks a little small compared to how the house is described in the book. 

Oh well, let's read.

The book begins with our protagonist Martha driving with her father through the middle of nowhere to get to their new home. Naturally it's October. Dad has just remarried, and stepmother Sally and stepbrother Conor are waiting at the house for the new members of the family to arrive.
Martha is not impressed with the move or her new brother who's a year older and super weird, and I hope she dies at the end of this book but let's be real she won't.
They arrive at the house and Conor shows her around the house, including her bedroom which he picked out for her bc this one is away from the other bedrooms and he thought she'd want privacy. Okeh?
Martha is horrified bc it's SOOOOO cold in the room, and she just KNOWS something bad happened there. Die, Martha, please just die.
After dinner Martha learns that there's a cemetery rumoured to be on the property and once again she's not impressed.
Literally everything that comes out of her mouth or goes through her head is a complaint. I hate her so much already and we're still in the first chapter. Ugh.
She goes to bed later and notices her closet is closed, when it was open earlier in the day. Spooky........
She awakens later to the phone ringing and answers it to a heavy breather who tells her to look outside, and trick or treat. Cuuuute.
She hangs up and goes back to her room and looks out the window to see a man hanging right outside with a knife through his head!
Conor comes in wearing just a pair of jeans and tells her it's just the scarecrow from the porch with some alterations made, and that it's probably just a joke, as is the phone call that Martha complains to him about.
Apparently the parents couldn't sleep so they went for a drive. In the super early hours of the morning? Ok. Conor puts the bitch in her place about her attitude and of course she doesn't agree and she throws her purse at him. Bitch.
The next afternoon the step siblings travel half an hour to town to visit the hardware store for picture hooks for their parents, and Martha is smitten by Blake, the nephew of the owner, and meets Blake's cousin and the owner's daughter, Wynn.
Blake however acts kind of strange bc he thought that Martha was someone else from behind, and references her new house as "the old Bedford place".
Because every creepy old house has to be the old something place, right?
Later after dinner Martha takes a stroll around the house and feels like there's something watching from the dense woods surrounding the place. Okeh.
Anyway Martha is super selfishly annoyed that her Dad, who is a writer, has to go to Hawaii for work and is taking Sally with him so it'll be like a honeymoon, leaving Conor and Martha by themselves for a while. Martha is not happy at all, because HOW DARE they leave her? She reckons she'll never forgive them. Cunt.
So it's the first day of school now and Martha meets Greg, another cousin of Blake and Wynn and I reckon everyone in this town is related somehow. Yum incest. Anyway he's older but super handsome and he's gonna be Martha's advisor at school, whatever that is. It seems like a guidance counsellor or something. She's even more ecstatic to learn that he teachers her writing class. Cooooooool.
Wynn is also in that class but Martha is in her own selfish world as usual and doesn't acknowledge her until Wynn literally walks up to her at the end of the day and greets her.
Wynn tells her that apparently all the girls are lusting after Conor bc he's soooooooo hot. Martha didn't give us that impression though so I'm not sure who to believe. Probably Wynn bc I hate Martha.
Anyway Wynn is too shy to meet Conor even though she thinks he's so hot and quickly rejects Martha's offer to come by the house sometime, revealing there was a murder there and the house is evil. Cool Wynn! Scare Martha some more I LOVE it when she complains about everything.
I didn't read this for a month bc I've been so busy and I'm only in chapter four UGH kill me now. I want this over and done with. Someone kill Martha. 
Later Martha is in her room complaining yet again about being left alone in the house with dirty old Conor.
She spies him walking into the woods from her window and follows him, but he catches her and takes her to a cemetery deep in the woods. He shows her a mausoleum labelled "Bedford" which of course is the name of the previous owners of the house.
Martha is curious as to how he found the cemetery but he's super cryptic and just says "it was so strong". Maybe he got dragged there?
Anyway he goes to open the doors of the mausoleum and OF COURSE princess Martha is scared and begs to go back to the house and he agrees because "it's gone now anyway". WHAT IS?!? Ugh whatever.
That night Martha wakes up to something moving around in her room and sees a shadowy figure go into her closet as Conor bursts into the room because there's a fire.
Turns out it's a tea towel that was left on the stove and Martha is super angry at Conor for doing that. She mentions the closet thing but Conor doesn't really care (good) and she storms up to her to sleep after checking and barricading her closet.
At school the next day Blake who is also apparently the big man on campus (lame) asks her to have lunch with him and keeps calling it a date. Lunch in the cafeteria. At school. As the first date. I'm not impressed. But Martha deserves this kind of treatment. She's not even complaining for once tho and I almost died of shock. Conor comes over and embarrasses her and doesn't seem to like Blake. Oh well.
Martha wants to know about the history of the house and to be dramatic Blake leads her to the back of the school field and tells her there. Get ready for this. It's not interesting.
The Bedford's were rich and the house is as old as the town itself.
The last of the family line lived there for the last few years until Elizabeth, Wynn's best friend was murdered on Halloween last year.
She had been dating Dennis but had gotten sick of (and I quote) his "bullshit" and broke up with him, and YOU DON'T MESS WITH DENNIS apparently.
He started making threatening calls to Elizabeth, and stalking her secretly. Then he'd call her and tell her about things he'd watched her do in her house.
And then he started a fire inside the house but luckily they caught it in time.
And then he finally murdered her in her bedroom on Halloween after the annual dance. And guess who's bedroom that one is now! POOR OLD MARTHA!
And if you remember, she's received a threatening phone call, felt like she was being watched from the wood, and had had a fire in the house since she's been there.
And I'm gonna guess that Martha looks like Elizabeth, at least from the back, and that's who Blake thought she was at the hardware store and maybe why everyone stares at her. Or maybe everyone stares at her because she's annoying.
Anyway Wynn found Elizabeth's body, and police found Dennis' car with a knife in it, washed into the river after the storm had flooded the roads. Dennis was not inside but they ruled it a murder-suicide anyway. Apparently Wynn is still troubled by it and has times where she forgets things. Poor girl. Why can't Wynn be the main character. I would rather read about last year's events than Martha's life.
Martha forcibly tells Conor what she learnt that day after school as he prepares dinner, but he found out about the murder bc he did some snooping of his own.
He deduces that all the weird things and the discomfort they have in the house is due to tangible memories - as in the house remembers everything and is repeating it all or something. Like all the bad stuff was absorbed into the walls and stuff. Okeh.
Later the phone rings, and Martha assumes it's Blake bc he said he'd call her, but instead she's greeted by a heavy breather who calls her Elizabeth and tells her "you're dead Elizabeth". Her name is Martha, and I WISH.
Conor comes to the rescues and dismisses it as a joke and OF COURSE Martha is shitty about this and storms to her room, only to be drawn from it later when Blake finally calls and asks her to come have pizza with him and his cousins. #squadgoals.
She tells Conor she's going out for a while and he's all "ok have fun" which is not a reaction she's impressed with so she's like "i don't know when I'll be back" and he's all "ok" and again she's not satisfied and adds on "I'm getting pizza. With friends" and he's like "have fun" and I'm confused because why is she trying to get a reaction out of him? He could not be any less interested in her life and quite frankly I feel the same way as Conor.
Anyway the squad picks her up and off they go, where it becomes embarrassingly obvious that Wynn is hardcore crushing on Conor and Blake and Martha like eachother. 
Afterwards Blake drops her home but of course she's locked herself out. Conor's bedroom light is on but he doesn't seem to hear her hollering and banging so she goes around the back and spots a possibly floating figure in her room. Cooooool.
She runs back to the front door and bangs and hollers even louder and Conor quickly comes to her rescue.
She forces him to check her room and of course there's nothing there. He kindly offers to swap rooms for the night and Martha is a complete bitch to him, going as far as accusing him of everything, before accepting the offer and sleeping in his bed.
After school the next day Martha and Wynn stroll along downtown when Wynn reveals she doesn't remember anything about finding Elizabeth's body the year before. She believes Dennis was innocent because he loved Elizabeth too much to kill her, and informs Martha that Blake and Elizabeth dated after she broke up with Dennis. I knew it.
She also lets her know that she looks like Elizabeth, and reminds everyone so much of her and that's why everyone stares at her.
It's probably why Blake wants to date her to bc there's nothing else intriguing about her.
The next day Martha cuts her last few classes to go with Blake to pick up some decorating supplies for the upcoming annual Halloween party from the next down over, Whitley. Whitley used to be part of Bedford, and the Whitley cemetery is where Elizabeth was buried bc the cemetery behind Martha's house is super old and only had residents from like the 1800s and stuff. Coooool.
Anyway Blake and Martha make out in a barn for a bit where he denies her reminding him of Elizabeth and let's her know he's interested in her, for her. Yuck. Blake needs to reassess his life.
After reminding her that Dennis's body was never found as they pass the cemetery, Blake drops Martha home and she's not happy that Conor isn't home yet. Woe is you Martha.
She goes to her room and falls asleep, awakening to find her bedroom light off, and a figure standing in her now open closet. But when she turns the light on and investigates THERE'S NO ONE THERE! Good grief. I'm bored.
The phone rings and it's the creepy breather dude who calls her Elizabeth and asks her if she enjoys being home alone.
She bolts to the front door to find Conor outside, claiming car troubles as the reason he's late to come home.
She tells him about the call and something being in her room again and accuses him of not believing her before she's even said anything and runs upstairs to her room. This is like the 20th time this exact situation has happened in this book oh my god. She also accuses him of being of jealous of Blake and it's seriously like she wants Conor to be in love with her or something this bitch is fucked.
A few minutes later Conor bursts out of her closet! Martha's all wtf and accuses him of being her stalker AGAIN and he's like "did you know there's passageway from the butler's pantry to your closet" and idk why this would be a thing but I'll go with it. She accuses him some more and he's all "you don't know anything about me" and she's like "well you don't know me either" and then he rattles off a list of all her favourite things and interests and that shuts the bitch up. I hate her sooooo much.
He admits that he feels there's something wrong with the house, and the other night when he took her to the cemetery, he says that were some kind of feeling or insistence that lead him there originally. They ponder about everything that happened to Elizabeth happening to Martha and they still think ghosts are the culprits but Martha toys with the idea of Dennis being behind everything.
The next day at school Greg pulls Martha into his office to discuss her shitty grades and she confesses about the house.
He reveals that he'd heard the house had heaps of tunnels and passages within, even one leading to the cemetery, but admits it's probably an exaggeration.
He then asks if Wynn had told her anything about the previous year and he seems super suspicious now and I'm thinking he's the killer.
After school Martha gets some hot chocolate with Wynn and asks her about Elizabeth and Dennis.
Apparently Dennis and Blake were massive rivals on the basketball team, and never liked each other. Blake loves to win too. And apparently whoever kept calling Elizabeth disguised their voice, and Elizabeth never actually saw Dennis following her or anything so maybe it wasn't him. And after all, Wynn knows Dennis would never hurt Elizabeth. She believes he killed himself when he found out she was dead.
So if Greg didn't kill Elizabeth my theory is that Elizabeth wanted to get back together with Dennis, and bc Blake LOVES to win so much he'd rather have her dead than lose to Dennis. 
And you can't tell me that doesn't seem likely in a point horror book.
There's still so many chapters to go and I'm so bored this book is a real struggle. I'm not even curious to know if I'm right.
Anyway Martha goes back to the school to meet Conor, but he's not there just yet so she goes inside to get her books from her locker.
Then the lights get turned off.
And she hears footsteps.
So OBVIOUSLY it's someone trying to kill her right?
She bolts off and ends up injuring her arm before escaping and finally finding Conor outside.
He takes her to the doctor to get her arm checked and she's all "but someone tried to kill me" and I'm still wishing someone would. Turns out her arm is broken. If only it was her neck.
Wynn comes over the next day and Conor and Martha suss out some more information about last year from her. Wynn knows of some more passageways, and notes that Dennis and Blake knew about the one in Martha's closet. Wynn once again strongly believes Dennis wasn't Elizabeth's killer, and suggests whoever killed her maybe killed him too! So much suspense (not). So Blake and Elizabeth had a fight at the dance, and both disappeared. Greg left to find Blake but couldn't. Wynn then saw Elizabeth leaving with Dennis, and she told Wynn not to tell Blake and they'd be back soon. Greg was back in the hall chaperoning the dance, and after a while, Blake drove back looking sad and all wet, but Elizabeth never returned. So the trio went to find out, and Wynn remembers the boys arguing the whole way, and when they got to the house they broke in and she remembers Blake shouting at Greg not to let her go upstairs (so he's obviously the killer) but she did anyway and found Elizabeth's body and then all she remembers is the LONG DARK that's so LONG and DARK and lasts forever bc it's so LONG.
This book goes through literally the same thing every 3 chapters I'm about to kill myself seriously.
Nearly done. Deep breaths.
Ok so it's the night of the Halloween dance but Conor can't come bc he's super sick. Martha puts him to bed and let's him know she's staying at Wynn's bc she can't stay at the house tonight. She says she can't stay like 59593 times. I get it.
Blake picks her up and they head to the dance, and I'm afraid none of their costumes are very imaginative. Martha's a gypsy, Blake is Death, Greg is an executioner, and Wynn is a witch. Coooooool.
After a while, when Blake goes to get some food for himself and the beloved Martha, Wynn comes scurrying up in hysterics bc she's pretty sure she saw Dennis watching her! Uh oh.
Then the band on stage alerts Martha to a phone call in the change rooms for her, and she goes to answer and of course it's the breather, who tells her no one is home. Trick or treat.
And now Martha is super worried about Conor even though she's hates him for the whole book.
The girls find Greg and Blake and they speed off through the rain back to Martha's house.
On arrival Martha bolts upstairs before the others and finds Conor just as the lights go off. She can hear the others downstairs, and suddenly can feel the presence of something/someone else and Conor drags her to the secret passageway in her closet and they manage to escape into the pitch black cellar. Where they hear the voice that's been calling Martha, and whoever it is starts a fire down there.
Yes burn Martha! Burn her!
Conor is injured, apparently stabbed by the figure earlier when the lights went off, and as the smoke fills the room Martha manages to find a tunnel in the wall! The pair crawls through it, and Martha realises this is the "long dark" Wynn is always yakking about.
And the tunnel leads them to the mausoleum of course! And who's on top of the altar? Dennis' dead body!
And then someone in a Death costume jumps out and stabs Conor again who collapses. And just as Death is about to kill Martha, Blake and Greg arrive and save the day.
Death is... Wynn! Of course. I had a feeling but I was like "surely they wouldn't make it so obvious". Apparently they did.
Anyway Wynn was in love and obsessed with Dennis, was trying to scare Elizabeth away with the threatening calls and pranks, and followed them to Elizabeth's house on Halloween using the secret tunnels. She lured Dennis to the cellar and then through the tunnel to the mausoleum and struck him on the head, making him unconscious, then went and stabbed Elizabeth to death. Her best friend. Over a boy. Ok. Wynn reckons Elizabeth didn't love Dennis. So she couldn't let her have him.
She returned to the mausoleum and realised she'd actually killed Dennis, apparently repressing all this. But obviously the mausoleum is some sort of shrine to Dennis now for her.
Anyway that's basically the end and I couldn't be happier.

As you can tell, this book was PAINFUL for me. It took me like 3 months to read. And that's because I literally gave up reading for 2 months.
Richie Tankersly Cusick is the author of this, and it was as boring as the other book I've read of hers, The Lifeguard, which I read ages ago before I started this blog. And I have many others I've yet to read written by her, including 5 I literally just bought today.
And let's just say I won't be reading them any time soon. And to think I was excited to read it!
1 first date at the school cafeteria out of 100. NEXT!

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