April 1, 2012
SVH Super Thriller, A Killer On Board: No Rest for the Wicked
Summary: Now that John Marin is back behind bars, Ned decides everyone needs a vacation, so he sets up a vacation to Catalina. (Steven doesn’t get to go, but who cares?) They’re just starting to relax when Marin escapes from prison, thanks to the utter stupidity of a prison guard who only took three days to fall in luv with him. He kills her partner, steals the guard’s car (leaving her in the trunk in the desert), and carjacks another family to drive back to Sweet Valley. There, Marin gets into Ned’s office, finds out the Wakefields are on Catalina, and follows them out there. Then he pays off a bunch of people to stalk the twins on a horseback-riding trip.
Jessica’s horse almost falls off a cliff, and just as Elizabeth is about to help her get to safety, Marin shows up. Jessica channels Jessamyn by jumping onto Liz’s horse, which Liz proceeds to force to jump off a cliff. Yes, that happened. Ned figures out that Marin is on Catalina and takes a horse out to find the girls, not that they need rescuing. Then the Wakefields rent a houseboat to escape the island, but Marin gets a motoboat and keeps following them.
Ned is apparently unable to ignore a person in need, and when he sees that the motorboat appears to be in trouble, he anchors the houseboat and heads over in a dinghy to help out (obviously not knowing Marin’s there). Marin busts the motorboat’s radio and makes it fill with water, then escapes to the dinghy. Ned is left behind on a broken boat with no method of communication. Oh, and of course it’s storming. Marin takes the dinghy to the houseboat, knocks out Alice, puts Elizabeth in a storage space, and then…just kind of hangs out with Jessica for a while. (There’s a part here where it’s not really clear what’s going to happen.)
After Alice regains consciousness and Marin randomly lets Liz out of the storage space, he ties them all up. Then he pours gasoline everywhere and starts some fires. Ned makes it back to the houseboat to save his wife and daughters, but instead of leaving with them, like a smart man, he goes back to grab Marin. It’s too late, but all the Wakefields survive to…be almost killed another day, I guess.
Thoughts: Jessica: “There just aren’t that many murderers out there, and we already found one this summer. So, statistically, there’s no danger anymore.” Except “this” summer has been going on for five years, and you’ve had run-ins with a dozen murderers in that time period. What are the statistics on that?
Why do women keep falling in love with Marin so quickly? He’s not that hot. Is he really that charming? The characters seem to think so. It’s like he’s a cult leader or something.
Though I guess I could ask the same about the twins – why do guys fall in love with them so quickly? There’s even one in this book. Brad, the guy leading the twins’ horseback-riding group, flirts with her, even though she’s clearly 16 and he’s married.
“At night the café at the pool turns into a disco. We get pretty funky bands here.” Brad, I’m just going to stop you right there before you make a complete fool of yourself.
Also, why does the ghostwriter think ’90s teens are so into dancing?
Jessica: “Maybe it’s an eclipse.” Elizabeth: “Maybe your brain is eclipsed.” Come on, Liz, you’re a writer. You can do better than that.
Apparently everyone on Catalina can be bribed with $100.
The houseboat part of this book was actually foreshadowed in the previous book – Elizabeth watched Cape Fear.
Alice tells Ned to free Elizabeth first, so there’s another reason Jessica will be in therapy for the rest of her life.
Ned claims that Marin died of smoke inhalation, but I found Ned a little scary in this book and the last one, so I’m not sure he didn’t help things along. But since he does sare me, I’m just going to pretend I believe him.