The Horror Honeys: Hardcover Honey's Haunted Bookclub ~ The Game

Hardcover Honey's Haunted Bookclub ~ The Game

Book of the Week Review by Jocelyn 

The Game – Les Logan 

The final week of my revisit to the Dark Forces series is upon us and it didn’t come a minute too soon.  Although I enjoyed my re-read of “The Game” (especially in light of the recent “Ouija” movie trailers I keep seeing), I am chagrined to report that once again, the Dark Forces book ends with the dark forces being exiled by a friendly neighborhood priest and now I am re-thinking this entire series and wondering why, as an adult, I only remembered the spooky aspects of these books and not the “man of God” stuff……I suppose that must say something about me, though I am hesitant to consider what that may be!

In “The Game”, teenaged twins Julie and Terri Mitchell are involved in a serious car accident right off the bat, leaving Julie in a wheelchair, where she pouts and mopes, and sometimes for a change of pace, grumbles or bitches and whines.  The only thing that brings her pleasure is visits from an old family friend, Mrs. Barnes.  When Mrs. Barnes dies unexpectedly and her possessions come up for auction, Julie insists on attending and is inexplicably drawn to a battered old footlocker, contents unknown.

When Terri and her friendly vanilla boyfriend Scott haul the trunk home and stash it in Julie’s room, things go from bad to worse.  Almost immediately, Julie finds the predictable Ouija board and begins communing with an unknown spirit.  Despite Julie’s former sweet nature, she finds herself thinking about things like biting off her doctor’s fingers when he pats her head condescendingly and seducing her sister’s boyfriend.  Wait a second, haven’t we all entertained those thoughts?  Am I actually possessed by a creepy Ouija board and not just annoyed with people who patronize me?

This section of the book works well as a junior horror novel as Terri starts to notice that something is definitely wrong with Julie.  Strange noises and smells emanate from her room, tomato plants below her window wither and die, and when Julie receives a beautiful gold crucifix necklace from her parents as a birthday gift, Terri is alarmed to see that it burns her skin.  Good, classic throwback stuff here. 

Eventually Terri calls in the cavalry in the form of Father Shea, a local priest with a long history, including ministrations to the former occupants of the Mitchell home.  Father Shea notices right away that something is wrong with Julie and fears an old foe may have reawakened.

When the Mitchell parents leave town for a funeral and phones stop working (oh how horror has changed since the advent of cell phones!), the girls are left to fend for themselves as the spirit takes over the house, doing things like making it rain stones and sending Julie’s wheelchair through a wall into the ether.  It’s all very “Sweet Valley High” meets “The Twilight Zone”.  Despite the spirit’s best efforts, Father Shea is summoned, arrives and saves the day.  As in the other Dark Forces books, this is accomplished quickly with a few Bible verses and some holy water.

Much like last week and the week before it, I struggle to be objective about The Game.  The twin stuff was lame and the scary stuff not scary enough.  Two creepy games out of five for this one. And your Hardcover Honey needs a little break from YA stuff, time to remember I am an adult and read something darker for our next Book of the Week!