cover image Red Rain

Red Rain

R.L. Stine. Touchstone, $24.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-4516-3612-3

Goosebumps YA series creator Stine fails to compel in his first horror novel for adults. After a destructive hurricane, travel blogger Lea Sutter encounters homeless 12-year-old “twin angels” Daniel and Samuel on a South Carolina island and brings them home to Long Island. Stine quickly immerses the family in tension and horror as the boys’ presence and supernatural abilities provoke conflict in Lea’s family. Although Stine makes the twins’ malicious intentions very clear, most of the adults seem astonishingly oblivious. Lea’s husband’s assurances to their children (“We’re all safe here. You don’t have to be scared”) ring hollow as the twins pursue their dark goals. Lea, whose devotion to Daniel and Samuel is described as “love at first sight,” becomes increasingly protective of them and immersed in nightmares of her island experiences. A predictable and disappointing conclusion is upended by a final tantalizing image that feels like a movie-viewer’s reward for sitting through interminable credits. (Oct.)