Recap #33 – The Seance by Jo Gibson

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Title: The Seance (the cover up there is from the omnibus 3-in-1 collection, as it seems it’s near-impossible to find The Seance by itself anywhere)

Author: Jo Gibson (aka Joanne Fluke)

Published: I’ve got conflicting reports here. Google Books says March 1996; the collection I have has the copyright date for The Seance as 2014. 1996 feels right, but why would a Halloween book be published in March . . . ?

Description: There’s nothing like a killer party on Halloween – especially when it’s in a secluded lodge in the woods. But when Jennifer Larkin’s friends insist on holding a seance – in spite of the warnings of a local psychic – it’s anything but a game. For the spirits are vengeful. The partiers are prisoners. And no one gets out of here alive . . .

Nostalgia Time!


Well, I’ve got nothing. I’ve never read this one before. I’m hoping it’s going to be as ridiculous as Slay Bells but less boring than My Bloody Valentine.  Since those two followed the same template, I’m going to assume this one does as well, and make some predictions based on that template. First, our protagonist will be in love with someone who “doesn’t know she exists,” but then end up with her friend’s brother. Second, there will be terrible threatening poems sent to people before they’re murdered. Third, the main girl will be painfully clueless and naive about boys, and all wide-eyed ignorance about, well, everything really. Fourth, the killer will have some completely convoluted plan that may or may not end with trying to kill the main girl to keep some other dead girl company. Fifth, the motive will probably end up being some variation of “he’s crazy, and crazy people don’t make sense lol amirite?” Which, to be fair, ends up being the driving force of most of these books.

Once again, I’m going to recap this as I read it, one chapter at a time, so I have no better idea of what’s about to happen than you do. I’m sure I’ll make some embarrassing assumptions that will be proven wrong, but I’m willing to take that bullet for y’all.

Note from Future Me: Trigger warning for rape. I won’t recap it graphically, but it’s unavoidably there. I had no idea this was where the story was going to go, since Jo has never had any sexual content in previous books I’ve recapped. This shit caught me by surprise, y’all.

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Recap #28 – Deadly Detention by Eric Weiner

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Title: Deadly Detention

Author: Eric Weiner

Published: June 1994

Tagline: Just pray you’re not kept after school . . .

Description: When it comes to punishment, no one dishes it out the way Harrison High’s Mr. Crowley does. But there’s something even weirder than usual going on today. No one knows that better than the six juniors and seniors who are being kept after school. The doors are padlocked. All the windows are covered with wire mesh. And the phone wires have been cut. No one can get in – or out.

And somewhere along the dark and deserted hallways of Harrison High, a sadistic madman lurks . . . waiting to administer his special brand of discipline.

The fatal kind . . .

Nostalgia Time!


It’s still sort of back to school time, so how about a book about teenagers in detention getting killed off one-by-one?

This book came out right before I turned thirteen. I remember reading it when I was about 13 or 14, so that tracks. I’ve been wanting to do this one for a while, because I remember really liking it. That’s not to say it’s good. It’s probably not. If I remember correctly, the motive for murder is incredibly stupid. There’s a very stereotypical fat character, along with plenty of fat-shaming. Hell, the back-of-book description is telling us all about a madman – crazy for crazy’s sake, apparently. So, you know, mental health done well.

Still, I apparently liked this book enough at some point to read it several times – the spine of my book is nearly destroyed. So, let’s revisit this one, shall we?

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Recap #11 – Slay Bells by Jo Gibson

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Title: Slay Bells

Author: Jo Gibson (aka Joanne Fluke)

Published: December 1994

Tagline: Tis the season . . . to die!

Description: Santa Claus is coming . . . to kill! The just-opened Crossroads Mall is the place to shop this Christmas season. Diana Connelly and her friends are having such a fabulous time that they don’t even mind the sudden snowstorm that traps them there.

Until the accidents start to happen.

Killing off Diana’s friends . . . one by one.

Accidents that aren’t really accidents at all. Because hiding in the shadows of the Crossroads Mall is a twisted killer with a Christmas list of his own.

He’s checking it twice . . .

To find out who’s been naughty or nice.

And Diana . . . you’ve been very naughty this year.

Nostalgia Time!


That description is, um. Not exactly right? It’s the day before the mall’s grand opening, Diana and her friends are employees of the mall, and they get trapped there when they let other people use their cars to evacuate. The description makes it sound like they’re idiot kids who want to keep shopping during a blizzard. That’s probably not important, but inaccuracy on the back cover description always bugs the hell out of me.

This book was published in December 1994, so I was thirteen when it came out, and I probably read it right around its release. I didn’t remember it very well, which was probably a good thing. This book is a weird combination of absolutely ludicrous events and plot contrivances, and also just not a lot happening. And I’d forgotten who Killer Santa was, but it wasn’t hard to figure it out from process of elimination. This author writes a series of mystery novels for adults under her real name, Joanne Fluke, and I’ve never read them, but I hope they’re more complex and interesting than this. Also, this author has a penchant for lots of exclamation marks and commas in weird places. It’s really noticeable and annoying.

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Recap #1 – The Murder Game – Janice Harrell

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Title: The Murder Game by Janice Harrell

Published June 1993

Description 

It was no game.

The ad read “You’re invited to a murder . . .” It was to be a party, complete with a pretend corpse and plenty of clues. Only Meg Redding knew the host’s real motive: Dusty Ellis was determined to catch his twin sister’s killer – even though the police had ruled her death an accident.

The guests are gathered at an isolated cottage out by the reservoir where the stage is set for murder. But when the corpse is found – it’s real. Now Dusty’s a prime suspect and Meg’s out to clear his name . . . unaware that the killer is following her, step by step . . .

Tagline

Come to party and catch a killer – if you dare!

Nostalgia Time!


This was published in June of 1993, so I was probably around 12 or 13 the first time I read it. I didn’t remember too many details, but I remembered who the killer was and why. And the worst motive ever. Seriously, this motive is the weakest weaksauce to ever sauce. Even at 12 I was well aware of that. This was maybe the first time Rocky Horror Picture Show came onto my radar, and the first time I’d heard of Kewpie dolls. I also remembered the 16 or 17 year old girl and her 30-year-old “boyfriend.” Oh, boy, we’re gonna have a time with this one, folks. Not necessarily a good time, but some kind of time.

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