#BrunchBookClub: Red Rain by R.L. Stine

red rainIn Red Rain, Stine uses his unerring knack for creating terror to tap into some very grownup fears. Travel writer Lea Sutter finds herself on a small island off the coast of South Carolina, the wrong place at the wrong time. A merciless, unanticipated hurricane cuts a path of destruction through the island and Lea barely escapes with her life.

In the storm’s aftermath, she discovers two orphaned boys – twins. Filled with a desire to do something to help, to make something good of all she witnessed, Lea impulsively decides to adopt them. The boys, Samuel and Daniel, seem amiable and immensely grateful; Lea’s family back on Long Island – husband Mark, a child psychologist, and their two children, Ira and Elena – aren’t quite so pleased. But even they can’t anticipate the twins’ true nature – or predict that, within a few weeks’ time, Mark will wind up implicated in two brutal murders, with the police narrowing in.

For the millions of readers who grew up on Goosebumps, and for every fan of deviously inventive horror, this is a must-read from a beloved master of the genre.

This is a first for me. I have to confess … I really didn’t enjoy this month’s readalong book, and I only finished it under (personal) duress. I tried, but Red Rain left me flat.

It just didn’t work for me. There are so many great horror movies out there about evil children that I thought this would be a home run, but I couldn’t suspend my disbelief long enough to actually fall into the story and actually care enough about the people. I wanted to reach out and smack them for being so milquetoast about certain decisions (hello? you let brand-new-to-you twin children stay in a guesthouse? Without supervision?), and I never felt that Lea and Mark were a solid couple. There’s an affair that seems to fall out of the storyline and disappear, and they never seem to communicate with each other beyond family drama. The twins were just odd, not scary, and I found them to be manipulative. Perhaps it’s the former teacher in me, but I just wanted someone to box their ears and tell them to snap out of it and behave.

I liked the start of the book, and thought that the island set-up was done well, but it telegraphed the ending to me pretty much immediately. I spent the rest of the book just waiting for that little tidbit to be revealed, only to find that this pattern repeated itself numerous times. Many time we as readers knowing full well who was responsible for all the chaos, but the characters in the book were too clueless to figure it out. It made for a very frustrating read, and I put it down numerous times for something more entertaining.

The writing is uneven, and to me it felt like a younger person’s novel that had been revised and “matured” with some sexuality and swearing. There was a lot of jumping around in the book, and I think I would have liked the book more if it had had a solid narrator. The switch between chapters meant that I never really connected to any of them, and by the end of the book I would have cheerfully taken out those annoying twins myself. “Rule the school”? Really? That was your grand plan? Seriously? Sheesh. And their grand power?? >spoiler here – highlight to read< LASER BEAM EYES??? Are you freaking kidding me?? 

There is so much more I could say about this book but to be honest, I can’t be bothered. Definitely close to being a DNF for me, but I struggled through. I may have skimmed the last half of the book, but frankly, that’s all I could give it.

Did you read Red Rain? Did you like it better than I? Be sure to leave your comments on the book below, and check out our Goodreads group for more info about our next Brunch Book Club read!