R L Stine
As a huge fan of R L Stine’s goosebumps series as a child, and his teenage fiction as I got older, I was beyond excited for his adult horror novel to come out! I was so excited that I preordered it in hardback!
Unfortunately, I finished this book feeling very disappointed! I could tell, in every page that I read, that this book was written by someone who has written for a young audience for a long time. The language is too simple, the chapters too short and I even noticed many trademark techniques from his children’s fiction. I really think that if you took the sex scenes out of this book then it could be published as teen fiction.
The plot line of ‘Red Rain’ is less than scary, and not exactly what I would call horror. Mostly, it had a few gory scenes (but I’ve read worse in mystery and crime fiction). The thing I missed most in this book was the lack of atmosphere. I didn’t really feel that there was much attempt to build up a suspenseful or spooky atmosphere, which is a key thing in horror fiction.
I’ve read a lot of horror, and watched even more, and ‘Red Rain’ did not tick the original box that is so important. I almost felt like I had already read or seen this story before. I mean, evil children and spooky twins definitely feature frequently in horror and I feel that you have to think very out of the box to come up with something original with this theme nowadays, which I don’t think R L Stine quite did.
I do have 2 positive things to mention about this book. Firstly, I did like the ‘abilities’ that the twins had – I only wish that they had been developed a little further. I also liked the final little twist on the last page. It did feel very ‘goosebumps’, but I did have a chuckle at it!
I didn’t really like any of the characters in this book – they all felt a little flat and I had no emotional connection to any of them. It seemed that there was little effort put into their personalities and histories that it felt like they were just “there”, rather than being a big part of the story. There a few tangents with some secondary characters (the cops), but they didn’t seem to slot into the plot well, it felt like they had just been shoved in there for no particular purpose.
I really, really hate to be so negative about an author that I am so fond of, but I didn’t find is book very good or enjoyable, and as I like to be 100% honest in my reviews…well, these were my honest opinions!
I still adore R L Stine, for his wonderful contribution to children’s literature and for being such a huge part of my childhood. But I will stay away from any future books he writes for adults, as I think his talents really lie elsewhere.