Lois Duncan – Teen Horror Queen

Cover of "Down a Dark Hall"

Cover of Down a Dark Hall

I decided to revisit one of my favourite teen horror authors.  Lois Duncan is the author of classics such as I know what you did last summer and Killing Mr. Griffin.  I remember sitting in my school library during silent reading time in year 7 reading her terrifying tales whilst my peers were doing anything but reading around me.

I recently read Down a Dark Hall, which to my surprise was first published in 1974 and could easily be relevant to modern day teens.  It is quite an interesting story with a few creepy scenes that are well written.  4 girls are selected to attend a boarding school where spirits are able to channel talents (e.g. composing music, writing poetry, painting) through their bodies.  Emily Bronte & Schubert are amongst the spirits who use the girls to complete unfinished work.  It would be amazing if that could actually happen. Imagine what other stories and music would have been created if people lived longer back in those days.

I also read Summer of Fear which was a more typical teen horror story.  A strange cousin (Julia) whose parents died in a car crash comes to live with Rachel and her family.  Julia begins to take over Rachel’s life (stealing her friends, boyfriend, clothes) until Rachel suspects that Julia is actually a witch up to no good.  Although I probably would have appreciated this story a lot more as a teenager it was still engaging and show cased  Duncan’s ability to make even the ridiculous of situations seem plausible.

I will be on the look out for more of Lois Duncan books in second hand book stores as I believe that she can teach me a lot about suspense writing.  She sold her first story at the age of 13!

Cover of "Summer of Fear"

Cover of Summer of Fear

Joyland by Stephen King!

20130716_165658Joyland was a lot different from King’s usual horror novel.  For one it was a lot shorter and had no chapters. Instead there were cute little hearts to break up the passages which I actually found aided my reading experience.

You may think that a haunted Funhouse has been done to death & would be fairly predictable.  However, King being the master that he is, makes the story his own & keeps the reader guessing until the end.  The story consists of a murder mystery, unique and likeable characters and a ghost thrown in for added suspense.

Although it won’t be added to my list of favourite Stephen King novels, it was an enjoyable read and I am looking forward to his next masterpiece.


* ‘When it comes to the past, everybody writes fiction.’

* ‘Love leaves scars.’

* ‘You think Okay, I get it, I’m prepared for the worst, but you hold out that small hope, see, and that’s what fs you up. That’s what kills you.’

Red Rain by R.L. Stine – A Discussion (not a review, contains spoilers!)

Red Rain

Red Rain

Instead of reviewing the books I read I would rather discuss what I liked/disliked about them in hope that others will join me.

When I finish a book all I want to do is talk about it with someone but unfortunately my partner, friends and family are not really interested.  So I will discuss the books I read through this blog and at least if no one reads them I will get a chance to discuss them with myself.

The first book I read in 2013 was R.L. Stine‘s Red Rain.

* Note this is a discussion about the book not a review and contains spoilers!*

Discussion Points:

* I bought this book as soon as I saw it sitting there on the shelf.  I loved R.L. Stine as a teenager and was curious to see what he could write for an adult audience.  The cover was also eye catching and looked creepy.

* Evil children have never really frightened me and the book did not exactly scare me, nevertheless it was still an interesting read and the use of short chapters left you hanging to know what was going to happen next.

* I liked how the story switched between the characters viewpoints.  Lea, Mark, the police and the twins.  It kept the story moving and gave you a 360 view of what was happening.

* The gory parts were well written without going overboard.  I could certainly visualise each death scene.

* I particularly liked how he wrote the twins dialogue.  You could tell that they had unusual accents and I think that it gave the story depth.  I also like how the character of Ira was developed.  It was interesting that he was not portrayed as a stereotypical child.

* The ending was unexpected for me.  I didn’t see Lea’s death coming and the story finished perfectly with the twin’s (Samuel and Daniel) powers being passed on to Axl.  Perfect horror story ending with room for a sequel.

If you have recently read ‘Red Rain’ please comment!