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Posted December 16, 2010
A psychotic serial killer and an abused teen - who will win in the end?
Cover: I don't get it, really. I don't know what it represents, so don't use it to judge the book inside, which is really quite good.
Meet Conrad Sanders (Rad), a professor who has recently killed one of his students, his ninth victim. We get to read about it chilling detail .. this guy is a sick, sad puppy. There are veiled references in the book to a relationship with his mother that smack of an Oedipal complex, but we never really find out what made Rad a serial killer.
Meet Lisa, sent on a "vacation" to live with her aunt Debbie and uncle Hank, who run Hidden Creek Lodge. She is fifteen, and actually innocent of the wrongdoing her mom and step-dad think they're sending her away from. Debbie and Hank are not able to have children of their own, and Debbie feels a lot of responsibility and love for her niece.
Lisa meets Lu, who she dubs "Trailer Girl" to her best friend back home. Lu lives with her father Duane and her abusive step-mother Norlene in a trailer at Hidden Creek Lodge. Duane does maintenance and Norlene works as a maid on the property.
Lisa befriends Lu within a day or two of arriving, and witnesses some of the abuse Lu lives with on a daily basis. Lu's father Duane seems to only care about Norlene - HER feelings, whether or not she's going to leave again - he sees Lu's bruises, but doesn't seem to care. Lu sees what seem like spirits or guardians when things get bad for her: Black Claw-who seems to presage death, Delator-who gives strength, and Talion-beautiful and mysterious. Talion seems to know things that Lu couldn't possibly know, and Lu feels love whenever he is around.
Rad has followed Lisa to Hidden Creek Lodge. When he sees Lisa and Lu together, he pulls Lu into his plans - he might even keep her alive for a while, as her stepmother has already trained her so well in obedience.
This is an intense, absorbing read. If I could have, I probably would have read it one sitting. As it was, it took me two. Being inside of Rad's head was an experience in itself. He is a truly twisted individual, and I wondered whether or not he was simply born that way.
Poor Lu - she's so beaten in by her life experiences that she almost seems to accept it as her lot. It made me sad because I know that her experiences are ones that are shared by other abused children. In my mind, it seems that she brought Talion and the others out as a way to cope when things are really horrible, but I couldn't be certain whether or not they were real. You can read the author's thoughts on them at her Guest Post.
Lisa is a typical teenager from a middle-class family. Although she dubs Lu "Trailer Girl" and seems to be only peripherally interested in her, all in all, I think she is a good friend to Lu.
If you like suspense, you'll like this book. It is well-paced and well-written. I wanted to go into the pages and punch Norlene in the face :).
Lisa imagines Mom and Debbie on the phone discussing what type of friends she should have. They probably hadn't found anyone boring and retarded enough yet.
He'd known this would happen someday. Genius like his couldn't remain hidden forever, and part of himself yearned to take his rightful place among the monsters of the collective nightmare. He was prepared for his eventual unmasking.
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Posted November 13, 2013
Posted March 2, 2013
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