March 10, 2012

SVH #116, Nightmare in Death Valley: Fool’s Gold

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , at 5:37 pm by Jenn

Eh, let her fall. There's another one

Summary: When we left our little campers, they were in a cave with skeletons, and it had just started raining. They set off to finish their trek, but Heather’s ankle injury is so bad that she can’t walk, and the guys can’t really carry her. Finally Jessica agrees to stay behind with Heather (it was going to be her or Ken, and Jessica doesn’t want the two of them alone together) while the other four finish the hike and send help back to the girls.

Elizabeth and the guys can’t choose between a high path and a low path, so Elizabeth and Ken take the high one (which she thinks is safer because the recent rain could turn into a flash flood) while Todd and Bruce take the low one. Back at the campsite, Jessica and Heather are just starting to get along better when the escaped convicts Heather spotted earlier find them and take them hostage. Jessica nicknames the mean ones Moe and Larry, and the nice, cute one Jack. (Don’t ask.) They want the kids’ gold, but they also wouldn’t mind killing a few teenagers, so they set off a flare to get the other four kids to come back.

There’s this really stupid part where Elizabeth almost falls off a cliff, and Bruce saves her but a bald eagle takes his gold. Yeah, I said it was stupid. Then Todd and Ken catch up to them and they all see the flare. Elizabeth, Bruce, and Todd head back to the campsite and are taken hostage, but Ken hangs back and the convicts don’t know he’s lurking around. The cons take the gold and leave, and the kids get untied and start to leave, but then stop to save Jack from a flood. He tells them he was in prison for armed robbery but is totally reformed, which I guess excuses him for freaking breaking out of prison.

Moe and Larry resurface, and Moe holds Elizabeth at knifepoint in a cave since he’s mad that his gold is gone. (Maybe an eagle took it?) Jessica does the old sick-prisoner routine and distracts him long enough so Jack can save Elizabeth. But Moe’s so mad that he shoots Jack, killing him. Then everyone hears an airplane, which the kids think was sent to get them. Moe goes outside to check it out, ordering Larry to kill the teens or be killed himself. Jessica saves the day again, convincing Larry not to kill them. Instead, he shoots six bullets into the roof of the cave and runs off to join Moe. Unfortunately, the bullets cause a cave-in.

There are, like, 20 things that happen, including the kids almost drowning, and Heather continuing to be helpless (and useless), but the teens eventually realize that the walls of the cave aren’t rock, just shale. They punch through and get outside, only to find themselves right near the spot where they were supposed to finish their trek. And then they find out the gold they risked their lives to get was pyrite, AKA fool’s gold. Wah wah waaaaaaaah.

Thoughts: I have the British version of this book, and the cover calls it “the final title in the terrifying Desert Adventure mini-series.” I’m not sure you can call two books a “mini-series.” Other words in that sentence that aren’t used correctly: “terrifying,” “adventure,” “the.”

If this were Lost, Elizabeth would be Jack, Bruce would be Sawyer, Todd would be Kate, Heather would be Shannon, and Jessica and Ken would be Nikki and Paolo.

When she’s about to fall off the cliff, Elizabeth thinks of her parents, Jessica, Todd, Enid, and Mr. Collins. So she thinks about her English teacher and not her brother. I don’t even know how to respond to that.

It’s too bad Jessica doesn’t stick with her Three Stooges nicknames and call Jack “Curly.” Then I could have made really bad “legend of Curly’s gold” jokes.


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