Recap #27 – Whisper of Death by Christopher Pike


Title: Whisper of Death

Author: Christopher Pike

Published: Dec. 1991

Tagline: They returned home to a dead world . . . .

Description: All the people had vanished.

Roxanne and Pepper are a teenage couple with problems. They leave their small town for a weekend to try and solve them. They don’t really succeed, and when they return home they find their town empty.

They call other towns.

They find the whole world empty.

But eventually they discover three other kids their age who are still alive in the town. They cannot imagine why the five of them seem to be the only ones left of the entire human race. They have only one thing in common. They were each directly or indirectly involved in the death of Betty Sue – the plain, shy girl who committed suicide only a short time ago. Betty Sue – the quiet, brilliant girl who wrote short stories about each of them. Stories of hate, of revenge, of death in a dead world.

It makes them wonder who Betty Sue really was.

Or what Betty Sue was.

Nostalgia Time!

Pepper. Jesus Christ, Pike, what’s with the names? I can’t wait til I get to Road to Nowhere (and end up with the Ozzy song stuck in my head the entire time I recap it, I just know it) with its characters, Freedom Jack and Poppy Corn. Fuck me, these names.

So, I was ten years old when this book came out, and I know I didn’t read it that early. I’m not sure exactly when I did read it, though. I was probably 13 or 14, I’d guess. I’ve never known quite what to make of this story. It’s one of those books that makes me feel dumb because I can’t quite figure out its full meaning. Interestingly, the first time I read this, I was still firmly entrenched in my mother’s anti-abortion beliefs (hell, the woman dragged me to an anti-abortion protest when I was ten – getting flipped off by motorists going by on the highway was, um, an experience) and this book read as pro-choice to me then. Now that my whole ideology has pretty much flipped, this book reads more anti-abortion to me now. I’m not sure Pike himself knew where he stood, since the message of this book seems a bit . . . muddled?

I think this is also the book where I got the wild idea that Christopher Pike was really Stephen King writing under another pen name. I know better now, of course, but there really did seem to be similarities in the styles and substance.

Also, if you couldn’t tell from the above paragraphs, content warning for abortion, of both the doctor-approved kind and the more DIY kind. (One of the things I thought I vividly remembered about this book was a coat-hanger abortion. Turns out that’s not actually in here, it’s just alluded to, and that might not even technically be what’s being alluded to. Memory is weird.) Heads up for suicide and rape discussion, as well.

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Birthday Recap – Leo: Stage Fright (Zodiac #1) by Jahnna N. Malcolm (Recap #26)


Title: Leo: Stage Fright (Zodiac #1)

Author: Jahnna N. Malcolm (Actually wife/husband team Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner – Jahnna ‘n Malcolm, get it?)

Published: July 1995

Tagline: The stage is set for danger

Description: Break a leg, Lydia.

First she falls into the open trapdoor on the night of her high school play’s cast party. Then she finds a creepy, voodoo-like doll in her locker. And then a car tries to run her down in the park. It looks as if someone wants seventeen-year-old Lydia out of the picture, but who? Sure, Lydia loves the spotlight, but that’s what Leos live for.

When auditions for the production of Evita get under way, Lydia’s usual confidence is gone – her best friend isn’t speaking to her, another friend accuses her of being jealous of the new girl in town, and her audition is sabotaged. Lydia knows that someone is out to get her, but by the time she discovers who it is, it may be too late.

Nostalgia Time!

I’ve actually got nothing for this. I know I read this book as a teenager, but other than one tiny little nothing scene, I didn’t remember a single thing about it. It didn’t even come back to me as I reread it, which is kind of unusual. This book is pretty unremarkable, though, so it’s not too hard to see why I didn’t remember it. Also, I’m a little confused as to why this series starts with Leo. I can’t find a single instance of Leo being listed first in any zodiac chart. I mean, I’m cool with it, it’s just confusing.

I wanted to do this recap for my birthday, since I am also a Leo. (August 13th, yo!) I am nothing like our protagonist, Lydia, however. I considered taking a shot every time she mentioned being a Leo, but a couple chapters in I realized I would have died of alcohol poisoning long before the end of the book, so I (reluctantly) scrapped that idea.

One last thing – the female half of this writing duo was born right here in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas, so that’s kind of cool. You know, even though I’m not really a fan, I’ve still gotta shout out my famous (???) Wichita peeps.

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