Chain Letter

Christopher Pike, Author Harper Teen $6.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-380-89968-5
Following the success of Slumber Party and Weekend, Pike's latest thriller is instantly engaging, as a chain letter forces seven teenagers into bizarre and dangerous activities. A year earlier, they were involved in a car accident in which a man was killedbut they covered up the crime. Now, ""Your Caretaker,'' the author of the letter, threatens to expose them, and assigns each of them a task. If it's fulfilled, they will be left alone. If it's not, the consequences are terrifying. One teen who defies the Caretaker disappears, leaving behind a blood-soaked bed; another is burned in a fire that consumes his home. But just as the reader thinks the teens will confess to their original crime, the author finds a convenient, though unconvincing, way to get them off the hook. Pike's story begins promisingly but leads into implausible motives and a feeble resolution. There are also formulas that crop up from his earlier books: teenagers thought to be dead reappear; alcohol figures heavily in all the plots; people with handicaps or terminal illnesses go ``over the edge.'' Despite these drawbacks, Pike handles suspense well, and has a good ear for dialogue. (12-upst)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1986
Release date: 05/01/1986
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 192 pages - 978-0-8085-8881-8
Prebound-Other - 185 pages - 978-0-8124-4886-3
Paperback - 503 pages - 978-1-4449-0127-6
Prebound-Other - 185 pages - 978-0-606-02005-3
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