by R. L. Stine
Review: Over twenty years ago, a new genre of literature was created — a genre that entered the minds and souls of young adults everywhere — a genre that kept teens up reading until the wee hours at night as they clutched their blankets in fear. Over twenty years ago, R. L. Stein invented teen horror. Now R. L. Stein has followed those readers into adulthood in his adult thriller, Red Rain.
Lea Sutter, a travel writer, heads to a disturbing island off the coast of South Carolina. There she embarks on a journey to learn everything about that island — including observing a death ritual. After the island is overtaken by a hurricane, Lea walks the war-torn coast in search of some life. When she sees two adorable orphaned boys, she knows that it's her responsibility to care for them. Against the warnings of all who know her, Lea takes the boys to her home in Long Island, and they become part of her family. That one single event is the event that changes her family forever. These two seemingly innocent boys use their charm to send the Sutter family into a spiral of doom.
Certain elements of Red Rain touch on the fear of every parent. Lea Sutter's husband is a psychologist who has just published a highly controversial book about limiting parenthood and allowing children to blossom without the hindrance of parent intervention. His parenting book sets up the ironic elements as the boys' power grows to the point that adult intervention is utterly impossible. Certainly Mr. Sutter's theory on parenting exists today, but those that subscribe to his ideals might want to change their thinking after reading Red Rain! This inner fear of the power of a child is the fear that R. L. Stein effectively relates to readers as it is combined with gruesome murders, police investigations and subliminal power over others. These elements alone will keep readers up at night. However, one element is bothersome. The boys' main goal is to “rule the school”. From the first time they relate that information to the fiftieth time, it seems too simplistic and actually removes some of the fearful elements. Undoubtedly these two boys are young and ruling the school might be a logical goal, but there must have been a more frightening goal for them to try to achieve. The repetitive "rule the school" is almost annoying by the end of the novel, and although the intention was certainly to develop fear, in the end it took some away. Overall, however, Red Rain is a suspenseful, alarming, and somewhat thought-provoking book with an unexpected ending that will keep readers engaged until the very end. R. L. Stein is sure to be an adult horror novelist for quite some time.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Margo Nauert for contributing her review of Red Rain.
Acknowledgment: Simon & Schuster provided a copy of Red Rain for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Margo Nauert — All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission
Location(s) referenced in Red Rain: South Carolina
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Red Rain by R. L. Stine
Publication Date: October 2012
List Price: $24.99