Red Rain, R.L. Stine (Touchstone)

stine

Stine, the wildly popular author of the Goosebumps series for children, proves he’s also capable of scaring the willies out of adults. This is a dark, atmospheric, spine-chilling story of a husband and wife who adopt a pair of homeless twin brothers—their family was apparently killed in a fearsome hurricane—and find their lives turned upside down, as the husband is inexplicably accused of murder. And that’s just the beginning of the horror. The novel owes a debt (which Stine acknowledges) to such vintage horror movies asChildren of the Damned—movies that feature “disgustingly evil children”—but it’s by no means a simple rehash of familiar material. Stine has a freshly terrifying story to tell, and he tells it with gusto, ratcheting up the chills until we’re frozen in our chairs. Parents, be warned: this is emphatically not for younger readers.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, October 2012.

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