Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review: 'Road to Nowhere' and 'The Wicked Heart' and 'Monster' by Christopher Pike

This post contains three reviews of teen horror/thriller novels written in the early 1990s by Christopher Pike.

In Monster (1992), Mary Carlson shoots the head cheerleader and one of the football players at a house party but she misses her ex-boyfriend. She claims that the three teens were no longer human. After her arrest, Angela investigates Mary's claims that the teens were actually monsters. However, Angela's desire to fit in with the cool kids comes at a price. After learning the truth and craving for blood, Angela must destroy the evil before it's too late.

In Road to Nowhere (1992, 2002), Theresa Chafey ran away home to mend her broken heart. Driving north along the California coast, she picks up two mysterious hitchhikers: Poppy Corn and Freedom Jack. Together the three of them tell stories: Teresa of her devastating relationship with her boyfriend, Poppy of a sad young woman she once knew, and Freedom of a talented young man with a violent temper. Yet as they talk on this dark and stormy night, a darker story unfolds around them. A story of life and death, of redemption and damnation. It will be the longest night of Teresa's life. She has to make a decision whether to face her fear or die with a broken heart.

The Wicked Heart (1993) involves a high school senior named Dusty Shame who happens to be a serial killer. He has murdered three young women, yet Dusty did not want to hurt anybody. There was something inside him--a mysterious voice--that compelled him to kill. Sheila Hardolt has lost her best friend to Dusty's insane attacks. As a result, she is determined to unravel the clues behind fed Dusty's evil compulsion and find the missing girls' bodies, including her best friend. Racing against time, her journey will lead her to a wicked past that no man should ever have to endure in the face of evil.

Overall, I enjoyed reading these teen thrillers. My favorite story was The Wicked Heart because I was engrossed in the storyline of murder and suspense. Moreover, Pike makes you feel both sympathetic and intrigued with the main cast. He understands how teenagers think and behave emotionally. He covers typical themes of peer pressure, sense of belonging, and self-worth. The novels are easy to read and finish in under a week. Since these books were written in the 1990s, it's amazing how the technology (not everyone carried sophisticated cell phones around) was different back then. Yet, I found the plots more interesting because main cast was forced to search for clues in libraries and talk to people in face-to-face interviews. I can't believe that I had never read these books when I was a teenager! Back then, I was a huge R. L. Stine Fear Street fan as well as Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Stay tuned for more Christopher Pike novels this summer!

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