Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Missing, or “The Cult of the White Monkey Head and Bad Spies”

Mark and Cara are new to Fear Street – like every person in the first books just moved to Shadyside, and we get to hear all about how terrifying Fear Street really is. I just have to comment how awesome the cover art is. Mark is supposed to be a dumb jock, but he looks more like a dumb greaser. Or, Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. Cara looks like a scared mime.

Anyways, their parents are late getting home from work, so … they have a party. That usually happens when you know they’ll be out of town for awhile, not caught in traffic, but whatever. Mark has a sexy girlfriend, Gina, who Cara thinks is a slut. Apparently the missing parents don’t much like her either. A cop comes by to ask them questions about a nearby burglary, and gives Cara his card – that seems to break things up, and everyone leaves. Mark and Cara go to call their parent, and find out their phone is (gasp!) dead. If I had a dime for everytime that happened … Anyways, they hear some creaking from upstairs, and freak out, but it’s only their hunky but shy distant cousin Roger who lives in the attic – random they totally forgot about him, and didn’t invite him to the party. Bizarrely, Cara seems to be crushing on her mother’s cousin. Is that – legal? They all talk about Star Trek a bit – I’m assuming that has nothing to do with the plot. Cara then freaks out over their parents’ unmade bed, assuming something bad happened. Overreaction much?

Maybe not, because they see a pair of shoes sticking out from underneath the curtain. Chills. Turns out it’s just Roger. Wtf? He felt like hiding on them? He’s supposed to be a PhD student or something. They find a carved monkey head in their parents’ bed, with rhinestone eyes. They think it’s creepy, I say tacky. Rhinestone eyes?

Hunky Roger starts to display weird behaviour: he runs out to a van in the middle of the night. A search on his room shows he doesn’t attend classes, even though he’s supposed to be a student. He has a drawer full of navy blue socks, and a pistol. Likely bet is he’s a spy. A bad spy, since he hides behind curtains. Does that ever work? Cara goes to her neighbour’s house to call her parent’s work, but nobody picks up. I bet her parents are spies too, and the work at a computer systems firm is just a front. The van that’s been sitting in front of their house is still there, but the driver doesn’t know Roger. He’s just either profiling the neighbourhood, or looking for kids to give them candy, I guess.

Mark and Cara decide to go to their parents’ work for the first time ever, where they go through some impressive probing security, and then ignored in a high end lobby. But Mom and Dad are not listed in the directory. The CEO of the entire company comes to see them, and tells them their parents have never worked there. Dun dun DUN! So they head to school late, feeling a bit ‘bummed’.

Things get worse for Mark, because Gina calls him crying and shaking and tells him he can’t see her again, or talk to her at school. She then calls back and tried to get an important message to Mark, but there’s a struggle and she’s cut off. Mark takes off through the Fear Street woods to get to Gena’s place. He starts to get freaked out about giant rats, because why not giant rats? He falls into some kind of trap. Pulling himself out, he is attacked by a dog. Of all the rotten luck. But then he breaks the dog’s neck, and I’m less sympathetic. The dog’s collar has a tacky carved monkey head as a tag – so it must be a conspiracy. Mark figures this area of the woods has booby traps and attack dogs to protect something important. He keeps on going to Gena’s house, and sees her dad in the living room, so he decides to climb the trellis to her room. Um, really? You think your girlfriend is being attacked, but you’re still going to sneak around her dad? He falls off the trellis a bit but eventually sneaks into Gina’s room, only to find her dad there with a gun. Oops! The dad is pretty nice, but tells Mark Gena went upstate to visit her cousin, which she clearly didn’t.

Meanwhile, Cara calls the police officer she spoke to the other night, and then realizes that Roger was listening in on the call when he clicks off. Worst spy ever. She takes off after Roger as he leaves the house and goes into town. He goes to a college coffee bar, and meets with the guy who’s been driving the creepy perv van around town. He notices Cara right away, and lies about the van guy. While walking home, the police officer she’s been dealing with pulls up and offers her a ride home. She tells him everything about the monkey head and Roger’s perv van.

Mark and Cara meet up, and Cara has a breakthrough when she remembers their parents’ friend from work, Wally. They drive to his house the next town over in the middle of the night, to ask him for the company phone directory. Their parents are in there, so they have proof that they exist, at least. They go home to find the pedophile van parked a block from their house, and Roger shot dead in the attic with a bow and arrow. Worst. Spy. Ever. The police officer comes in right behind them and accuses Mark of killing him, since he’s an archery buff. I don’t think this guy really works for the police. Pervy van driver jumps in with a gun, and fake police officer shoots him.

Fake police officer makes a call to “the station”, but Cara knows the phones are still dead. Predictably, he’s not a real police officer. Mark attacks him and he snaps, confessing to killing Roger. He says he used to be a cop a long time ago. Roger was sneaking around too much so he killed him. I’m a little disappointed he wasn’t a crappy spy. The fake cop goes to shoot Mark, but Gena bursts in with a rifle. What? She says they have to get to the meeting, and nearly shoots fake cop. She wants to rescue their parents, and they sneak through the Fear Street woods again to grab some robes and candles.

The meeting is for the Brotherhood of the White Monkey, a creepy cult, and they sneak in in their robes. Gena’s dad is a member, and their symbol is a tacky monkey head. Marcus, the CEO of their parent’s company, is the leader. Cara and Mark’s parents are about to be sacrificed to the monkey. Just as Marcus is about to plunge the knife into his dad’s throat, Mark throws a little monkey head at him. And misses. Way to go, tough guy.

It distracts him, though, and their parents escape. Dad pulls a gun on Marcus and arrests everyone. They are FBI! Haha! I knew someone was undercover here. And Roger was working for them as an agent. He really was a crappy spy! Awesome! I thought this was about corporate espionage or something, but I’ll take a cult in a pinch. Turns out the fake cope had nothing to do with the cult, just an escaped ex-cop prisoner put behind bars by their parents. Talk about bad timing.

So this one started slow, but turned out to be the best Fear Street ever. 10 out of 10 tacky rhinestone-eyed monkey heads!

L. K. Stine


Anonymous said...

...The Hell? Was anything off-limits for Fear Street? I'm not sure what genre they are any more...

zanne said...

I know I read this book because I have it at home, but I don't remember the end at all!

When their parents didn't come home the next day, didn't Mark and Cara eat cereal with Coke or something like that? Because there was no milk left? I thought that was this book.

The phone lines were always dead in Fear Street books.

L. K. Stine said...

They did eat cereal with Coke. Because their parents had been missing for a day, so clearly they're lives are falling apart. That scene was so random: we ate our cereal with Coke. Then I felt sick. Super insightful!

Justin Duhe said...

Is it me or is this book sounding an awful lot like an American Dad episode? I mean they have a guy living in the attic named Roger, there's spy stuff going on, a van parked outside of the house. All this story needs is a talking fish.

RecallerReminder said...

The purpuse of the cult wasnt really clear to me....and why a White Monkey? Thats no sense, Can get anything better?
Was interesting the fact in this book there are two main characters (hard to tell which was better, Cara starts good but end up being pretty useless, Mark was more a man of action when was required).

Nick Carlyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.