A 30-something's lovingly sarcastic journey through all of Sweet Valley High, and then some (with lots of swears)

Archive for the ‘Super Thrillers’ Category

Super Thriller #5 Murder on the Line

"OK Jessica, which shadow puppet shape am I doing now?"

Um, this cover. I thought it was so suspenseful as a kid, but looking at it now, I’m very disappointed. Jessica went nuts with the Aqua Net again and then apparently fell asleep on it. Then she woke up, borrowed Liz’s blouse and Olivia’s skirt, and went off to work to play shadow puppets with some scrawny dude with a douchebag hairdo, on someone’s stucco house with a fuckin’ rain gutter on it.

Yeah! This is the last of our detective-style Super Thrillers – to the best of my knowledge anyway. I don’t know anything about the other Thrillers, besides their not seeming detective-like, but we’ll get to those eventually. The timeline here IS CRAZY. According to the back of the book, the twins are spending their second summer as interns at the Sweet Valley News. That should make them seventeen, but SVH doesn’t give a fuuuuuuuck. They’re still sixteen, and the first pages tell us this is only their second week at the internship. The actual story doesn’t mention this being their second summer, but like this is something their parents just recently made them do. The twins have the Jeep, Liz has Todd again (but he’s off camping in the Canadian Rockies with his family), and Sam Woodruff is nowhere in sight. Oh, but some of our old favorites are back, like the reporter Seth Miller (aka mystery writer Lester Ames). Dan Weeks and Anita Solarz are back as well. There are a couple of new people, too – news editor Bill Anderson, whom Jessica crushes on but admits is too old (he’s 30), Bob Carlisle the sports editor, and a new lady reporter named Katherine Francis who’s only mentioned to give us some extra estrogen on this team, if you ask me. They realized we were on to them about it being the old boys club. Crazy Darcy Kaymen is gone. Thank God, she was so fucking annoying.

Lila’s dad is busy getting a new building, Fowler Tower, developed in downtown Sweet Valley right across the street and down some from the Western Building, where the twins work. The construction has messed up the phone lines so that they keep getting crossed. Jessica’s job suddenly becomes a lot more fun as a result. She finds that probably 2/3 of the time that she picks up the phone, she can hear someone else’s conversation from the building, but they can’t hear her. It turns out that a lot of these people spend their time slacking the fuck off. (More about these later on) Jessica spends her days distracting herself from her work by eavesdropping on these calls. Of course, she tells Liz about them too, who scolds her, but is naturally more interested than she’d like us to think she is. Jess and Liz even spy some of Jessica’s targets around the building and have a good laugh.

Jessica also spots a handsome young blondie working in the Bank Building across the street and starts following him around trying to catch his eye. But when she lets her purse “accidentally” fall off her shoulder onto the ground, he walks right past her.

Then things take a shocking turn! Jessica hears a phone call one day in which a man called “Greenback” tells a woman named “Coyote” to deliver “red fish up the coast highway to point seven.” Jessica’s imagination goes wild. Liz thinks Jessica is crazy and it’s a delivery company from the building looking to drop off some seafood. ….the fuck? Bahahaha. Jessica hears a couple more phone calls between Greenback and another dude named Rock, and in the last one, Greenback orders Rock to “take care” of “her” and threatens him with “…if they don’t find her body floating soon, they’ll find yours.” Ohhh shit! Jessica runs to tell Liz, who responds with: “…it’s just incredibly unlikely that you’ve accidentally uncovered a murder plot unfolding in downtown Sweet Valley, of all places. I mean, really.” Liz, have you been sleepwalking for the last four Super Thrillers?! There’s no mention of how Jessica just saw such a murder plot unfold in front of her very eyes a few Thrillers ago. I guess these aren’t supposed to match up with one another after all.

Bill Anderson is in charge of the interns and very enthusiastic about their journalistic careers. Because Jessica is always in space either staring at the cute boy in the Bank Building or listening in to the phone lines, Bill starts giving her grunt work away from her desk, like doing research and filing in the “newspaper morgue” room (where they store all the old articles). Then Seth Miller sells a new book and I guess he got an advance because he suddenly has some cash and takes the twins out to expensive Chez Sam for lunch. Liz and Seth decide to get Jessica to help with an article on the upcoming Valley Mall expansion, so that she can get out of the office more, but Jessica is in space and barely listening, then dashes out of the restaurant as soon as Seth pays. Liz chides her, but Jessica explains she was just hoping to catch up with “Mr. Gorgeous” from the Bank Building, because he really gave a shit the last time she ran into him. Jessica is unsuccessful in catching his eye yet again.

Jessica spends another afternoon eavesdropping and Bill catches her (again) and sends her off with a dictaphone to do some transcribing. Jessica decides the dictaphone will also come in handy for recording Greenback’s phone calls. Later, she listens in again as she proofreads, then later she overhears Rock telling Greenback that “it’s done” and that he got “all ten packets” off of her. Greenback says “she” deserved it because she was holding out on them. Now Jessica is really freaked. She is sure they are talking about murder, and fuck whatever Liz tries to say about her “overactive imagination”. Then Lila calls to ask Jessica to skip out of work for the afternoon for the beach. Jessica agrees and leaves a note behind claiming she’s out doing “research” and meets up with Lila at Castle Cove. Hey, Castle Cove is the beach from book 5 (All Night Long). When they get there, they see a crowd gathered around a DEAD BODY, a girl floating in the water. Jessica blacks out and falls onto the sand in front of everyone.

Jessica is clearly in shock later that day – she’s cold and shivering and can’t eat – but her parents don’t seem too terribly concerned about her. She goes to the police station to report the phone calls she heard; a Detective Jason there is surprisingly receptive to her story, but warns her to keep her knowledge a secret for her own safety, and to keep in touch with him about what she hears so they can try to track Greenback down. Jessica feels like a big shot helping crack a murder case and thinks maybe she’ll get her own byline when she helps solve the case. Everyone has had their memory wiped, a la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and forgotten that she has already accomplished such a thing once this summer (or last summer …).

Seth takes Liz to a police news conference about the murdered girl. Seth has a brand new flashy car, oooooo. Well, isn’t he a mystery novelist? Didn’t he just say he wrote a new story recently? Makes sense. I get the feeling we’re supposed to be curious about how he’s got all this money, but duuuuuh. Anyway, the police just say they don’t know who the murder victim is yet, but that she was strangled before being dumped in the water. Everyone freaks the fuck out. MURRRRDER! In SWEET VALLEY!

At home, the Wakefields grill out. Adam Maitland, Steve’s college friend, is still living with them for the summer, with no mention of the horrible trauma he went through in the first Thriller. While the twins, Steve, and Adam hang out eating nachos, someone keeps calling the house and breathing in Jessica’s ear before hanging up. Jessica is freaked out, but Liz assures her it’s probably just some dude who has a crush on her and is too shy to say anything. Really Liz? You’d really say that after all the menacing hang-up calls you guys received in pretty much every other Thriller? Steve assures Jessica there’s no possible way Greenback could know that she was listening to him and Jessica thinks about how logical Steven is and what a good lawyer he will be some day. Right, because there’s no possible way he knows it’s Jessica, given that she’s been caught eavesdropping by multiple people and hasn’t exactly been discrete about it.

Back at the Western Building, Jessica goes down to the lobby to get a chef salad and apple juice from the coffee shop. A strange man with long blond hair, a baseball cap, and dark sunglasses rides down in the elevator with her. He sits at the table next to her as she eats, but doesn’t order anything, just stares at her. Jessica takes one bite of her salad, then freaks out and runs out into the hallway where she collides with cute blonde boy from the Bank Building across the street. It doesn’t occur to her to ask him what he’s doing in the Western Building, and he barely notices her. Ha ha ha! He still doesn’t give a fuck. But! Once she’s back upstairs, she sees him across the street at his desk again; this time he notices her noticing him and smiles at her. She writes her name and office # on a big piece of paper and holds it up in the window, and he calls her. His name is Ben Donovan, he thinks Jessica is hot, and he offers to take her out to get some “appetizers” at the Leeward Isles up the street after work. Although Jessica is of course very excited; her enthusiasm dims at the Isles as he drones on about his accountant job and all the “quiet” things he likes doing. Ha ha! Reminds me of when Jessica dated Sheffield Eastman from Todd’s old private school. Jess is totally bored and gives him her phone # out of politeness afterwards, but doesn’t expect him to call her. From time to time she runs into him again, and he tries to talk to her or ask her out every time, but she always blows him off.

The next morning, Liz and Jess arrive at work to find everyone buzzing about: the dead girl has been identified as 17-year-old Tracy Fox, a runaway from San Diego. Seth and Anita go off to the station to join the press conference or whatever while Seth leaves Liz behind to call Tracy’s parents for the details. Liz is nervous about upsetting the Foxes, but of course, her kind, caring nature comes out over the phone even though she barely speaks two words, and Mrs. Fox just goes ahead and babbles on about what happened to Tracy. Tracy had been sneaking out and going to parties with kids who did drugs for the past year. Then Mrs. Fox found a packet of cocaine in Tracy’s dresser drawer. They had a big blowup about it, and Tracy ran away the next day. Liz hangs up and cries and she and Jessica talk about what happened to Regina and how drugs are bad, mmmkay. Then Seth and Anita get back, all excited because a packet of cocaine was found on Tracy’s dead body. Hey “Rock” … you missed one of those “packets”, ass. Greenback is gonna put you under for this! You’ll be sleepin’ with the fishies, see! (I couldn’t help it)

Rose the receptionist quits rather suddenly, and Bill switches Jessica’s regular desk phone out for the switchboard phone that Rose used so that she can take all the incoming calls instead. It keeps Jessica really busy, but she finds that when she dials her old extension she can still listen in to the crossed lines. She is alarmed when she hears another Greenback conversation in which Rock wants to “take care of the nosy girl” and Greenback insists he has his eye on her and he knows she isn’t spying today. Jessica, time to get a clue. Instead Jessica notices how much money Seth suddenly has – he’s just moved into the luxury Pacific Heights condo complex – and decides the only way he could get so much money is by being a drug dealer. Hello? He’s a published mystery writer! Then she goes into Seth’s office and hears a wire report coming in over his telex machine. (Ah, the good old days of the successful print newspaper) She heard that same noise over the phone during one of the Greenback conversations. She doesn’t stop to consider that it could be someone else in the office. She’s sure Seth is Greenback. But Greenback and Rock also mention that they have a “buddy” with the SV police, so now Jessica is afraid Detective Jason is a dirty cop and lies to him saying she hasn’t been able to hear anything lately. She also learns there is an undercover cop trying to bring Greenback’s drug ring down. The “mole” at the SV police station isn’t sure who the undercover cop is.

Liz personally takes it upon herself to solve Tracy Fox’s murder in order to prevent other kids from ending up like her or Regina. Oh, sweet idealistic youth. Sorry, jaded 30-year-old lady cutting in here. Anyway, Liz sees a yearbook picture of Tracy Fox and realizes she has seen her before, but can’t figure out where. Then she gets a tip from an artist at Moon Beach in Big Mesa (where Liz learned to surf in The New Elizabeth!). The artist, an old man called Old Riley, tells her he used to see Tracy walking there a good deal and that she once met with a man. He sketches both Tracy and the man for Liz and gives her the drawings. She shows them to Jessica, who gets Liz to admit that Old Riley’s drawing of Tracy’s male friend does look a bit like Seth. Then Liz suddenly realizes where she’d seen Tracy before – right there in the Western Building lobby! They figure out the date that she was there, and formulate a plan to look for her in the guest registry. Jessica distracts the no-nonsense, tabloid-reading lobby receptionist, Ms. LePage, by yelling that she just saw Michael Jackson getting into a car down the street. As Ms. LePage tears off with Jessica, Liz flips through the guest register to the date she thinks she saw Tracy. Tracy checked in there to see Seth Miller, and someone checked her out with different handwriting. Uh oh! Not good for Seth. Ms. LePage comes back to her desk fully convinced that she saw MJ riding away in a car … hahaha.

The twins sneak into the office late at night to snoop in Seth’s office for evidence, against Liz’s wishes. They don’t find shit, but Bill catches them. Liz lies and says they were picking up a file for Seth. Bill gives Jessica a dictaphone tape he found among the tapes he’d given her to transcribe. Since that tape was unlabeled, he figured it might be hers. Jess realizes it’s the tape she made of Greenback and Rock’s conversation, but if Bill knows what’s on it, he doesn’t say anything. On the way home, the girls are followed by a dude in an SUV. As Liz makes a sudden maneuver to get away from him, Jessica sees it’s the same guy who was bothering her in the coffee shop the other day.

Whereas Jessica is absolutely convinced of mild-mannered Seth’s guilt and ready to go to the police, logical Liz wants hard answers. She goes to Seth with her concerns and he doesn’t understand how Tracy could’ve signed in to see him since he never met with her. Then he remembers getting a phone call from a scared-sounding anonymous girl who wanted to give him a big story, but never showed up to give it to him. It must’ve been Tracy! Seth then tells Liz he has information that will show that someone else in the building is the real killer. He just isn’t quite ready to give it to the police yet. Liz balks at going to Seth’s condo to look at it, and he agrees to meet her at the Box Tree Cafe instead. Meanwhile, Jessica has decided Bill is safe to confide in, and she tells him all about Seth and Greenback. Bill agrees that the evidence adds up, and he encourages Jess to meet him back at the News office at 9, where they’ll go to the police together. Jess somehow doesn’t consider the oddity of Bill’s wanting to meet her alone in a deserted office building at night when they could just meet at the police station. She is too giddy at the thought of having poor Seth jailed, and convinced that Bill is the undercover cop.

Liz runs into Rose, the former receptionist, at the supermarket, who tells her that Bill abruptly fired her. Then Liz meets Seth at the Box Tree Cafe and looks at his evidence – that in every city Bill ever lived in, there was a drug-related murder of a young person right before he moved somewhere else. He also was arrested for all kinds of other charges in each city under a different name. Bill is Greenback! Liz then remembers that Jessica is supposed to be meeting with Bill at that very moment … They call the police from a pay phone and Detective Jason answers and blows them off, refusing to send help to the Western Building. They hang up on him and go over there themselves.

Jessica heads into the News building and catches Bill bending over something on his desk which he shoves aside. He acts and looks funny and is suddenly in no rush to go to the police. Then she sees a vial of coke on his desk – it’s the first time she’s ever seen it, but she’s “heard” about what it’s supposed to look like – and realizes he’s high as a kite. She tries to make an excuse to leave, but he lunges at her. Jessica runs away and turns the light out so he can’t see what she’s doing. She ends up in her own office trying to call the police, but the phone is dead. Bill catches up with her, flips the light on, and waves his tie at her menacingly. He drags Jessica up to the roof where he shoves a packet of cocaine in her pocket and orders her to walk off the edge of the roof. He’s going to make her death look like a drug-related suicide and then frame Seth for the deaths of Jessica and Tracy.

Liz and Seth arrive at the building where they collide with Ben Donovan from across the street. Ben reveals himself to be the undercover cop. They all get up to the roof where they interrupt Bill just as he’s about to force Jessica off the edge of the roof. Bill and Ben start fighting close to the edge of the roof while Seth “hovers” over them, looking for a chance to dive in and help. Hysterical! I can see him just standing there going “Uh…uh…oh god … uh….” Bill takes a swing at Ben to knock him off the roof, but Ben ducks and Bill flies off the roof instead and dies … and that’s that.

The following Monday, everything is back to normal. Jess goes to work and feels like a hero. Rose is back. Seth explains he got all his money because his first Lester Ames novel is doing well and his publisher gave him a huge advance for five more books. Yes, I think that should have been at least a good guess from the get-go, but no one thought of it. He told Jessica and Liz that he had just written a new story and we knew he was a mystery novelist. Wouldn’t that make sense?

Ben has Detective Jason “detained for questioning” and explains he knew Bill was Greenback hence why he was camped out in the Bank Building. He asked Jessica out both because he likes her and because he was hoping she could give him more info on Bill. Why didn’t he fucking ask about it then, when they were having that boring lunch? “Rock” was the guy with long hair who followed Jessica. His real name was Kevin Stone – get it? Stone! Rock! Haha! – and he had been begging Bill to let him kill Jessica for a long time. The girl Jessica heard on the first call – “Coyote” – was most likely Tracy Fox. There’s some more talk of how evil drugs are and how teenagers should not go down that path, and then all is well and good again with the twins’ lives and we can pretend all this never happened.

WTF? Elizabeth accuses Jessica’s imagination of “working overtime.” Is it just me, or was that phrase used a lot in these books? Not just SVH but Twins too … “her imagination is working overtime” I just recall reading that phrase a lot. I’m not sure I’ve ever used it otherwise.

Greenback also has associates named “Hero” and “Chopper” … LMFAO!!! GET TO DA CHOPPA ~Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Predator”

Awww … Michael Jackson was still alive when this book came out.

I seem to remember that Seth had published several books as Lester Ames. But this book changes that and says he’d only published one so far, and he’s only just now becoming successful. That’s bullshit.

Check out the phone puns on the back cover: “When the twins start to get threatening calls at home, it’s time to put the killer’s plans on hold before he disconnects them forever!”

The fun stuff … those non-drug-related phone calls! First Jessica listens in to a lady named Maggie who is constantly whining to her jillion friends about how she’s cheating on her old bald husband, Frank, with a young, penniless hottie named Craig. Frank is filthy rich, so Maggie can’t bring herself to leave him because he buys her shit like a sapphire bracelet and a condo in Vail. If he’s so rich, why the hell do you work in the Western Building, Maggie? Maggie and Craig meet at the country club and eventually he begs her to run away with him. Then Frank starts to get suspicious. We never hear about how all that ends. There’s also a crazy lady who orders all kinds of junk, like neon-colored spandex outfits, and six (yes, six) poodle cardigans from a home shopping network. Jessica and Elizabeth run into a lady wearing a poodle cardigan in the elevator and nearly die laughing. Jess sees her again later wearing a giant gaudy pearl necklace that she had ordered off the network and thinks smugly to herself that she knows the pearls are fake. Plus! A nerdy boy named “Junior” who’s always on the phone with his mother getting barked at about what he should do with his life! Despite her constant bossing of him, he loves her and has flower bouquets sent to her house. The parts of the book with these phone conversations are a lot of fun.

Truth be told, I really like this book. I thought it was ten times better than any of the other Super Thrillers. It’s fun and a breezy, quick read, and there’s a notable absence of annoying fucking characters like Darcy and that nosy Mr. Beckwith. Plus, having the focus not be on stupid Liz for a change is always awesome.

At one point, Jessica is so freaked out by all that’s happening that she voluntarily misses a slammin’ Winston Egbert party. I think she was just looking for an excuse not to go and watch him do magic tricks all night.

Random characters: There’s another intern named Beth, and a subscription manager named Gwen. Not that we will ever see any of these people again. I’m kind of sad. Despite the shittiness of most of these detective stories, I like the idea of them overall.

When Jessica meets Lila at the beach, Lila loans her a bikini to wear. It’s her oldest one. Jessica accuses Lila of not wanting Jess to look better than her, and Lila just smirks at her. Hahaha!

From the Mouth of Lila Fowler: “Don’t you just wish you were me? I can hang out at the beach every single day.”

Coming up next: Lila stars in a sad tale.

Super Thriller #4 Deadly Summer

The twins are getting their O-faces on once again for another detective story at the Sweet Valley News! It’s the same summer that it was in the previous three Thrillers, so the twins are almost relieved to go back to school and start their senior year (or a repeat of junior year). Whatever. The title Deadly Summer is supposed to sum up all the shit they’ve gone through while working for the News without being forever traumatized one bit!

The twins open the book reminiscing about all that’s happened to them over this deadliest of summers, but somehow fail to mention the events of book 3 completely. Then they head over to the Dairi Burger where Jessica and Lila excitedly talk about the Ouija board Lila brought back with her from London, where it’s the “latest craze.” I thought Ouija boards were all the rage in America for a long time, man. I loved playing with those long before this book came out. Anyway, Liz brings out the condescension on page 8 for fuck’s sake, so you know this book is going to be a real gem! Lifting her precious golden California girl good looks chin at Lila, she says, “I don’t understand how you can waste your time on something so incredibly silly. I know Jess can be a space agent, but I thought you were smarter, Lila.” HOLY SHIT. We got fucking Buzz Killington here slamming her sister and Lila in the same sentence! No one talks to Lila like that, so she snaps, “Maybe I’m just a stupid idiot with nothing better to do, right?” and then storms away while Liz shrugs and goes all, What’d I say? What’d I say? Everyone else tells her not to worry about it, it’s just Lila. God man … when is someone going to throw a Dairi Burger clam special in Elizabeth’s face? Someone do it soon, please, pretty please? Can we have that scene in Sweet Valley Confidential? Francine, I’m begging you. Or, AT LEAST – and I’m just going to volunteer myself for this right now – allow me to ghostwrite a brand new SVH book called LILA’S SECRET DIARY in which it’s revealed she had a fling with every boyfriend of Liz’s behind her back! Oh man, I would so love to do that.

Jessica spends the night at Fowler Crest that same night, where Lila rages about how Liz thinks she’s “so superior” (correct) and “Little Miss Perfect Know-It-All” (correct) and Jessica insists that Liz wasn’t cutting Lila down (incorrect) and thinks to herself that “Elizabeth would never deliberately be insulting” (incorrect). Lila decides to teach Liz a lesson about the Ouija board and use it to play tricks on her, and Jess is eager to help. You’d think Jess has had enough drama for one summer. (What am I saying? Never!)

Liz agrees to play Ouija with Jess and Lila, secretly admitting to herself that she is curious about how it works. The hypocrisy is just stunning, I know. Jess has been reading Jeffrey’s letters to Liz from summer camp, so she directs the planchette to spell out that Liz will get some good news soon, but that it’s a secret. Jeffrey recently wrote such a thing, so Liz is instantly suspicious of Jessica, but she swears she didn’t read the letter and Liz seems to believe her. Next the planchette claims that the big Endless Summer concert is going to be delayed by a week. Liz thinks that’s ridiculous, because she and Seth Miller have been working on an article for it, and they would know if it was in fact delayed. So she runs off downstairs with her haughty ass, where she receives a sudden phone call from Seth Miller at the News. And guess what? The News editor Lawrence Robb just found out that the Endless Summer concert has been delayed, and now Liz and Seth have to get in there early the next day to rewrite their whole big feature story on it. Liz is completely taken aback and starts feeling dubious that Lila and Jess were really moving the planchette. (Of course they were; Lila’s dad had found out about the delay early because the concert organizer is a friend of his.) Liz doesn’t even try to do any of her classic detective work to discover how the girls already knew about the concert. For someone so smart, Liz sure is dumb. And then she goes upstairs and finds her journal is missing. I was hoping Lila would pull a Gimme a Kiss (anyone else love that Christopher Pike book?) and plaster that shit all over the school walls. Nope, instead Jessica had just stuck it on top of the refrigerator.

The next day, the Ouija board tells the twins where the journal is, and Liz continues to freak out, because she’s sure Jessica wouldn’t lie to her about a thing like that. So, this book further confirms that Liz is a patronizer, a hypocrite, and an idiot. Awesome work, ghostwriter.

Soon afterwards, Jessica catches Liz reading a book titled Beginner’s Guide to Occultism. Wow, really? That is hysterical. Lila next decides that she and Jessica will have the Ouija board say that Bruce Patman is dying from cancer or something but that he doesn’t want to talk about it. Liz is dumb, so she’ll feel sorry for him and spend a lot of time meddling in his business. Lila knows that Jeffrey will be pissed off when he comes back from camp and sees his girlfriend hanging all over the boy (or man, since he’s 18) who once tried to rape her. In fact, although she doesn’t share that thought with Jessica, she hopes that Bruce and Liz will wind up getting together so that Lila can finally get with Jeffrey for real. Oh, god. Okay Lila, I love you and all, but please get over Jeffrey already. Anyone who would seriously choose Liz over you is a tool, and it’s time to let it go! But the plan works, so Liz gets all depressed and hangs all over Bruce, who’s excited at the thought of finally being able to close the deal with the other Wakefield twin.

The news report at work the next day announces that a paranoid schizophrenic named Donald Redman has escaped from San Rafael Psychiatric Hospital, and the whole area flies into a panic. He once kidnapped a cheerleader named Melanie, because she rejected him and got all her jock friends to bully him in high school, and he also attempted to kill his parents with a homemade bomb. Then Liz goes to babysit for this kid Max Bartel and tells his mom, Elsa, about Redman escaping. Elsa is so freaked out that she decides to stay home with Max herself and kicks Liz out. Gee, do you think Elsa has some personal connection to Redman?

Meanwhile, Liz and Bruce are together all the time, and Bruce is always about to kiss Liz but she excuses it thinking he’s just hiding behind a facade. I think she’s had too many head injuries. Jessica wants to end the whole charade but changes her mind after Lila casually reminds her that telling Liz the truth means also letting her know that she snooped around in her notes and journal. Later on, she does tell Bruce that Liz is only being nice to him because she thinks he’s dying, but that only makes Bruce more convinced that he can get in Liz’s pants. Then Jeffrey comes home early from camp – that was his surprise for Liz – and finds Bruce and his girlfriend getting all close in the Wakefield’s Spanish-tiled kitchen. Liz does that same shit she pulled in Two-Boy Weekend where she drapes herself all over another man while refusing to tell Jeffrey what’s going on, yet insisting that he trust her and getting pissed off when he doesn’t.

Redman starts making bomb threats and leaving fake bombs behind for the police to find. In the first one, he leaves a gift-wrapped package at the Valley Cinema, and the police just pick it up and are all, “Oh, this is fake.” WTF? No testing it out first? He makes another threat to Sweet Valley’s “county airport”. Liz also begins getting prank phone calls at home, work, and at Elsa Bartel’s. A couple of the calls are from Lila, who’s trying to keep up with the latest Ouija “prediction” that someone mysterious is trying to reach Liz, but Redman is doing the rest of them. He thinks Liz is Melanie, the cheerleader he kidnapped, and he’s out to get her again. Then a mysterious visitor, who says he’s an old college friend of Elsa’s, comes to the Bartels’ house wanting to see her while Liz is there sitting. He says he has to leave town very soon so he’ll come back the next day. Liz thinks he looks familiar but can’t figure out that’s it’s in fact Redman with a little facial hair … huuuuuurrrrr.

The Droids are playing a “Be True to Your School” back-to-school pep rally at the SVH stadium with a song called “A-Plus.” Yes, that’s what it’s called! Holy shit. Liz is at the stupid rally with Bruce and Jeffrey and they’re fighting over her and it’s lame. She storms off by herself into these tunnels that connect the stadium to the school. Then Principal Chrome Dome cuts in on the Droids to make the announcement about the bomb threat. Everyone in the stadium freaks the fuck out and total pandemonium ensues. Liz runs into Elsa’s mysterious visitor man in the stadium tunnels right before the announcement. She finally puts two and two together and realizes the man is Donald Redman. But when she calls Elsa to ask her about the visitor, Elsa acts weird and insists that it really was an old college friend. Then we learn that Elsa is really Redman’s brother and that it was him, and that she just doesn’t want to turn him in to the police yet. You’re not helping things, Elsa.

Jeffrey goes to the record store ahead of a date with Liz, where he sees Bruce buying a huge stack of “compact discs” – you know, just to help rub in how rich he is. Bruce brags about how Liz is going to ditch Jeffrey for him tonight, then he calls Liz and pretends he’s about to commit suicide. Liz runs out of the house to meet him at the tennis courts. Jessica and Lila are over there, and she makes them swear not to tell Jeffrey where she went when he gets over there for their date. So of course Lila pretends she has to go back outside to look for something she left in her car, waits for Jeffrey, then tells him where Liz went when he pulls up in the driveway. Jeffrey tears off like a bat out of hell and finds Liz and Bruce embracing in the stadium stands, where they’ve gone to have a chat about Bruce’s suicidal thoughts. God, Liz is such an idiot. Not only does she try to convince herself that Bruce isn’t really kissing her collarbone – his lips are just moving because he’s sad – but she is ENRAGED that Jeffrey came to see what was going on. Why can’t he just TRUST her! Jesus!!! Liz is so upset that she yells out Bruce’s “secret” that he’s sick and Bruce starts smirking and Liz realizes it was all a joke and that she is the planet’s biggest moron. (If it was such a secret, then why doesn’t she think about how Bruce knows that Liz knows? Shouldn’t Bruce be surprised that Liz has figured out he’s ill?) HA ha! I only wish she hadn’t figured this out until she’d agreed to sympathy fuck Bruce so that he wouldn’t die without knowing the pleasures of the flesh one last time. I’m sure he could pull that off. Liz tears off into the tunnel under the stadium and thinks that an electrical closet is a great place to hide so that Jeffrey and Bruce won’t find her. When she steps into the closet, she sees this giant bomb and then Redman traps her in there, calling her “Melanie” and roughhousing her a little. Next he gets her to scream to help lure Jeffrey and Bruce inside the closet, then tells them about how he’s going to blow them all up a week earlier than planned. He was going to wait till the season opener football game. This is the climax of the book, but I’m getting bored. Try to hang in there you guys, I’m almost done with this recap, I swear.

Jessica and Lila are back at the Wakefield homestead, where they try out the Ouija board yet again. Jessica is upset because she just knows something isn’t right with Liz. Then the board spells out that “EW” is in danger at the stadium. Jessica flips out and accuses Lila of making it say that, but Lila really wasn’t doing it. Elsa comes over and shares what’s going on at long last, and they call the police and rush to the stadium. A SWAT team comes out and the cops try to get Redman to leave the tunnels. Instead he sets off the bomb’s timer, and Bruce grabs it and takes off running. Redman follows, and Jeffrey and Liz struggle to grab the remote out from under a cabinet and destroy it because they think that will stop the bomb. (They really just had to hit the button again, but I guess only Redman knows that.) BOOM! There’s an explosion. But the bomb doesn’t go off the way Redman wired it to. It was supposed to start a whole series of bombs that would implode the whole stinkin’ stadium. Fail. Liz screams and cries thinking that Bruce exploded, but instead he’s just injured. The dead man is Redman because he tackled Bruce or something to get back his precious bomb. I’m so confused.

Oh, and how did the Ouija board know that Liz was in trouble? Well, according to Liz’s Occultism book, people often subconsciously control the planchette with their thoughts when they’re stressed about something. So Jess was doing it with her famous twin intuition but didn’t realize it. That still doesn’t explain how she knew Liz was in the stadium. She said she was going to the tennis courts!

Anyway, the ordeal is over. Liz and Jess link arms and skip off to the Dairi Burger. No really, they do. The end.

I find this cover HILARIOUS. The twins don’t look even slightly scared. Liz: “What’s that, you say there’s a bomb? You really should get some professional help, sir. Here, let me assist you and help you do a complete turn-around and see the error of your ways.” Jessica: “Wait, did you say sir?! It’s a man? Does he sound cute? Tell him I’m making my best blowjob face right now and he just has to come see it!” Also, why is Jessica dressed like Liz? And WHY IS SHE WEARING A SWEATER IN THE SUMMERTIME? That makes me sweat to death just looking at it.

WTF? So! Since about book 50, Liz has been knocked out and dragged away by a mobster, tied up and threatened with a gun, tied up and shoved into the trunk of a car, and trapped with a bomb. But she’s still here. And still annoying.

Jessica keeps saying “y’all” to her friends. Since when does she ever say that? Isn’t that the type of slang she made fun of those kids in Kansas for using?

No one in this book really talks like themselves. Something about the tone is just … off. I know that can’t be helped when you have multiple people writing a series, but it strikes me as really odd this time. In fact, the dialog sounds like some Girl Talk or Fifth Grade Stars characters speaking. I haven’t read those books in years, but I still remember the basic tone because I’m a big nerd with a memory like an elephant.

When Liz and Jess get to the Dairi Burger, Enid is already there and sitting with Lila and Cara. The book explains that sometimes Enid finds herself hanging out with people she can’t stand just because of the way her social life with Liz interacts. So in other words, Enid has no other friends besides Liz and has no choice but to do whatever it is Liz wants to do. Although that still doesn’t explain how Enid was already sitting with Cara and Lila voluntarily.

It’s genuinely funny to me that Liz is such a fucking stick-in-the-mud about having a little fun with a Ouija board because she’s sure the supernatural doesn’t exist – then, less than a year later, the Sweet Valley Twins Super Chillers were published in which Liz meets a ton of ghosts at age 12.

There is all kinds of talk about how Liz has always been disdainful of Bruce and made “cutting remarks” to him, but NO mention whatsoever of what he did to her in book 7! Liz thinks she must have just misunderstood him all this time, or not looked hard enough to see the real Bruce (because she wrecked his junk when he tried to make her look hard enough).

There’s a brief mention of the events of Slam Book Fever, but the ghostwriter gets it way wrong. He or she writes that the slam books said Liz was in love with Roger Patman (it was A.J.) and that Jeffrey was in love with Enid (it was Olivia).

That bratty intern Darcy Kaymen is completely absent and there’s no mention of her. Perhaps Whitehead Academy starts school earlier than everyone else. But there are new reporters named Anita Solarz and Pete.

Near the end, Jessica goes back and forth from thinking Lila’s gone too far with the Ouija crap, and thinking it’s hilarious and they should keep fooling Liz. Hey, she never said she was consistent.

It kind of bugs me that everyone keeps calling San Rafael Hospital the “nuthouse” over and over. I know, I know, that’s what many people call mental hospitals. But let’s face it: no one in Sweet Valley has any kind of mental illness except crazed killers that try to blow up high school stadiums. Everyone else can just sit on their lofty perch and call mental institutions nuthouses.

There’s a lot of talk about how the SV police force is made up of bumbling idiots since they can’t catch this guy. Some try to defend them and say they’re doing all they can. Sorry, I have to agree with the “bumbling idiots” opinion.

Oh, and although the whole town seems to be lined up outside the stadium waiting to see if it blows up or not, Ned and Alice are nowhere to be found! Um, and HOW was everyone allowed to get that close anyway?

Sweet Valley is referred to as a county in one paragraph and then as a city several paragraphs later. Whatever it is, it has its own airport and towering office buildings, so it can’t be THAT small!

I’m not clear if San Rafael is just the name of the hospital or if it’s also the name of a neighboring city. The book doesn’t seem to know either.

Jessica and Lila are watching Terror in the Subway, Part Four when the bomb threat is called in to Valley Cinema. Awesome movie name! It’s about droids climbing out of drains in the subway stations!

I laughed to myself every time I read “Redman” in this book because it made me think of the rapper Redman.

Sweet Valley timeline issue: Lila thinks to herself about the time that she sabotaged the slam books to break up Liz and Jeffrey. That happened after the first two Super Thrillers had been released, yet here’s the fourth one and we’re supposed to still be in that same summer as the first Super Thriller. *Note to self: Stop doing this to yourself … stop doing this to yourself …*

Next up: Olivia has a crush on a teacher, because the book is called Teacher Crush! Unless they’re going to have a hot affair, I’m so not interested.

Super Thriller #3 No Place to Hide

'Cause this is Thrillaaaa, Thriller night ...

I’m getting sick of these Super Thrillers. By now, I get that they’re supposed to be some kind of mini-series all taking place in the same long-ass, traumatizing summer. (How, exactly, this fits into the Sweet Valley timeline is beyond me – let’s not go there.) I just feel like whoever wrote these had to be the same person who wrote Hostage! because they’re that dumb. And the idea of these ridiculous kids working at the Sweet Valley News – the reporting and writing of which sucks by the way – grates on my nerves the same way getting cropdusted during a cramped elevator ride up 13 stories does. (Oh it’s happened)

Look at Liz on this cover. She’s like a prissy version of The Scream! “Oh my word! There are strange things afoot. Oh, I’m just so frightened!” And nice frosted lipstick and super-sprayed hair there Jess. At least we get a cool Gothic romance background with a foreboding house rather than some weird garage or closet, or the typical Lifetouch portrait background. That’s appropriate considering this book is obviously trying to be one of those old Gothic romances (of which I am a big fan), but the whole thing falls flat, and had me snoring just a couple of chapters in. So I’ll do my best not to put YOU to sleep as you read this re-cap …

Here’s the deal. Remember Nicholas Morrow? Of course you do. Well, now it seems he’s still moping over Regina’s death. He’s so depressed he won’t even leave his house. In real life that would make sense, but let’s think about this for a second. We are told that’s the way he’s been since the events of book 40. Riiiight, that’s why he was so happy to come hang out at the Dairi Burger in book 45, and cheerfully agree to get Kelly Bates to go out with him. Whatever, just roll with it.

Liz decides the best way to get Nicholas over his grief is to pushily convince him to come to the News‘ COMPANY PICNIC. Wow, I know if I was devastated over a loved ones’ passing you could brighten me right up by dragging me along to watch a bunch of douchebags pretend to like each other as they make painfully awkward small talk and look for excuses to leave early. Oh, but there’s going to be VOLLEYBALL! And FIREWORKS! And debate about the next Sweet Valley mayor! Jessica rightfully thinks Liz is fucking crazy, but Liz literally congratulates herself for getting Nicholas to come out!

The company picnic happens to be in Ronoma County, yet another one of the many mysterious environs surrounding Sweet Valley. It’s only 40 miles away, but Jessica and Liz have somehow never heard of it. Nicholas takes off from the picnic to follow a mysterious unpaved road so he can have some time to walk and think alone, but then Liz insists that she come along too. They end up in the yard of Bayview House, which sits on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. There they meet a yappy little terrier named Rory and his teenaged owner, Barbara, who’s supposed to be the most gorgeous woman ever created. Nicholas falls in love with her, instantly. Lucky Barbara. Barbara tells them that she was raised in Switzerland but her parents sent her out here to spend the summer with her Uncle John, whom neither she nor her parents had ever met or heard of, and his housekeeper Josine. Although initially excited at the chance to learn more about her family history, now Barbara is terrified of her uncle. He forbids her to leave the house without his permission and to hang out with kids her own age. Meanwhile, Josine keeps getting confused and thinking that Barbara is her grandmother, also named Barbara, who died in a mysterious fall on the cliffs many decades before, on her birthday. Barbara shares her birthday with that of her dead grandma Barbara and now she’s having nightmares that she will suffer the same fate. Sounds like a fun summer.

Not long after Liz and Nicholas first meet Barbara, Uncle John comes out and spots them all chatting in the garden. Barbara is terrified and runs back inside with Rory while ordering Nicholas and Liz to get the hell out of Dodge. But Nicholas has already decided he is madly in love with Barbara, and so he drives back to Bayview the next day to see her. Uncle John slams the door in his face. I’m surprised Nicholas didn’t charge into the house and punch him, haha. Instead Nicholas canvasses the woods, where he finds Barbara having a picnic in the woods with her dog. She agrees that they can meet secretly and he leaves determined to find out what the deal is with this John character.

Barbara is always wearing old-fashioned clothes, carrying her silly dog Rory around, and speaking like she’s from the 1880s.  She’s terrified to leave the house or go anywhere, because Uncle John has been threatening her and she’s afraid he will hurt Josine or Rory. But she keeps meeting Nicholas secretly to make out in the woods, and they profess their love for one another like, immediately. Every time he sees her, old Saint Nick gets all fired up as Barbara sobs all over his silk shirts, but she refuses to let him try to help her. One time he comes over there with the twins, and Barbara is, of course, immediately entranced by the fact that they look so much alike. Sigh. Barbara explains to our three little members of the Scooby gang here that Uncle John keeps having some mysterious man come to visit. Just then, Uncle John almost catches the kids hanging out again, and the twins and Nicholas hide behind some shrubs and watch as he drags Barbara back to the house and boots Rory with his foot, yelling that she can never go outside without his permission. The twins have to hold Nicholas back so he won’t go tackle Uncle John. Why not just let him? Like old John can overpower four people. The Scooby kids leave trying to figure out the mystery of Barbara, and as they do, they see a mysterious silver-blue Jaguar parked off the side of the road in the woods … it’s THE VISITOR’S car …

Most of the rest of the book is all about Nicholas and Barbara meeting and professing their love for one another in an overly melodramatic way. Nicholas wants to help Barbara, Barbara won’t let him, and it just gets very tiring very fast. Nicholas keeps seeing the silver-blue Jaguar parked in the woods and Barbara keeps telling him it’s dangerous for Uncle John or “THE VISITOR” to see him and he keeps right on parking his Jeep in the same area anyway. Nicholas finds a letter on his Jeep one day in Sweet Valley that tells him to stay away from Barbara, but he’s like, “What the fuck ever.” He then convinces Barbara to sneak out of the house with him to go to a special dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant, Francesco’s. There’s always a different fancy restaurant in these books. Anyway, it doesn’t take much badgering to get Barbara out there, so I guess she’s not too scared. Nicholas stops to get gas on the way, and the gas attendant is an old dude who gasps at Barbara and seems to recognize her. Because she looks just like her dead grandma, natch. The couple arrive at Francesco’s, where Nicholas sees the silver-blue Jaguar parked. Not caring about his girlfriend’s safety, he doesn’t mention it to her, nor does he let her know there’s a strange man inside staring at Barbara like she’s a dead person the entire time they eat. I hate Nicholas.

While all this bullshit is going on, Liz and Jess are at the dumb paper where editor Lawrence Robb has, for some reason that just can’t be defined considering all the other shit they’ve fucked up this summer, given them MAJOR ASSIGNMENTS to help with. “Helping” means dragging out the research in the “newspaper morgue” of random old clippings and shit. I have never worked at a newspaper of any type, but why don’t they have microfilms they can use or something? It’s 1988, not the stone ages! Liz gets assigned an article with Seth about the mayoral race which is all she’s been able to run her yap about for half of this book when she’s not clutching her lavalier and worrying about Barbara. Liz is convinced one of the candidates, Russell Kincaid, is an evil evil man but she and Seth can’t prove it so they’re just going to run editorials in favor of the other guy, Miles Robinson, instead. And Jessica gets to work with Dan Weeks on a story about a new art gallery at the Sweet Valley Art Museum (there’s a museum?) by some dude no one’s ever heard of called Paul Lazarow. Art is the last thing I can see Jess being excited about, but hey, she is. It takes the twins forever to write their effing stories. And eventually, they do make the SUPER OBVIOUS connection (after many, MANY agonizingly slow, boring pages) that the Freaky Jaguar Man is Russell Kincaid, that he was an artist in his youth, John is his brother, and that Barbara’s great-grandfather was in fact Paul Lazarow, the famous artist. Even writing this recap is painful for me.

Thanks to Nicholas’s interference, Barbara’s dog Rory goes missing. They find his collar on the cliffs indicating that Uncle John has tossed him over. I’m sorry, I just started laughing at that and I don’t even know why. Animal cruelty is so not funny in the slightest, but this book just has me like … losing it. Nicholas goes back to his car dejected and finds that all the tires have been slashed and his windshield has been broken. Then Liz gets threatening calls when she works late at home. The Scooby kids here decide they’ve got to do something. Well, just do it then, god! This book is way too long!

The kids go back to Bayview House, park near the Jaguar yet again, and formulate a little plan to “kidnap” Barbara, who has no idea about the plan, but it’s assumed she’ll just forget about Josine and leave with them anyway. Liz will go to the front door and distract whomever answers, while Nicholas runs and gets Barbara. Jessica will stay in the Jeep as the getaway driver. But then Liz falls down in the dark and sprains her ankle. Jessica comes running up to check on her, helps Liz grab onto a tree for support, and leaves saying she’ll be right back with Nicholas and Barbara. Oh, they always say “I’ll be right back”… Then Uncle John appears and shines his flashlight right on Liz, helpless and alone! Oh dear! Oh my goodness! John pulls a gun and drags Liz off with him. Liz kicks him because she’s stupid and he bashes her in the head with the gun and knocks her out to silence her big mouth for a change. I wish Uncle John was in every book.

Nicholas and Jess don’t know that Liz has been captured, but they do see Barbara and Russell Kincaid struggling on the edge of the cliffs, so they go to help. Russell and Barbara fall off the edge together, but of course only Russell goes all the way into the ocean. Barbara manages to catch herself on a lower ledge, and Nick and Jess help her back up. They go back for Liz and can only find her broken lavalier on the ground. Jess flips the fuck out immediately and everyone runs around looking for Liz. I have an image of their feet making that noise from the Flinstones, you know what I’m talking about? When they’re in the Flintmobile getting ready to drive off and Fred’s feet make that noise? Hahahaha! And fuckin’ Barbara suddenly drops all her lame delicateness and bawling and springs into action, talking like a normal teenage chick. It’s about time! The kids find Josine tied up inside who directs them to the art studio outside. Liz and freakin’ Rory are in there. Liz goes to the hospital and as the kids leave they see that the Jaguar is gone, indicating that John took off. Why didn’t he just come back and shoot them all? Why must you disappoint me this way, John?

Liz has a concussion and a sprained ankle, and she’s out cold for the time being, but she’ll be okay. Dammit John you can’t do anything right! Ned and Alice show up at the hospital and are like, “Oh, someone tried to kill you again. Huh.” Jessica and Nicholas go to the police station where Barbara gives her testimony. Then the crackpot police force drags in John Kincaid, saying they found him near the border. He vacillates between being defiant about being caught and sitting there bawling about what he did. WTF dude? Pick a side and stick to it! And, he is interviewed, for the first time, officially, right in front of Barbara and EVERYONE right there listening and interjecting as they feel necessary. Right, that’s the way it’s done! Get that shit thrown out on a technicality!

Oh, but we’re not done yet. First Barbara has to have a birthday with Nicholas, who gives her a locket with their initials, and they spend way too many pages professing their fucking love for one another yet again, and then we get the whole story of Barbara’s history from Josine. So here it is, the sad story of Barbara’s fam, if you care. The artist Paul Lazarow had a beautiful daughter named Barbara, and two of his artist students, Jack Pearsall and Russell Kincaid, fell in love with her. Barbara chose Jack, but she married him in secret so that her dad wouldn’t get angry or something. Barbara got pregnant and the parents-to-be moved to Switzerland for a year, claiming that they were just visiting friends. They were hoping that when they returned, the new baby would charm Paul out of his anger. But when they came back it was Russell who was enraged that Barbara hadn’t chosen him, so he threw her off the cliffs on his birthday. No one could prove that the incident was a murder because there were no witnesses, so Russell went free, Jack went crazy and became a hermit, and the baby, Gwendolyn, was raised in Switzerland by Barbara’s artist friend DuPres and his wife. Russell’s brother John knew the true story of what happened to Barbara, but agreed to keep it a secret for years. But then they started a business together and Russell swindled John out of millions. Then Russell announced his candidacy for mayor and it was too much for John. He decided the best way to get back at him was to use Barbara to freak Russell out and make him think that Bayview House was haunted by the ghost of the girl he killed. So John wrote to Barbara and her parents claiming to be an old cousin or something. They were dumb enough to believe this random man was in fact related to them. They shipped Barbara out to Ronoma County and John forced her to wear the original Barbara’s old clothes and walk the cliffs, then hide the rest of the time so Russell wouldn’t see her and realize it was all a prank. Lar lar lar, don’tcaredon’tcaredon’t caaaaare.

So yeah. Barbara goes back to Switzerland with her grandfather Jack and Nicholas loses out on someone he loves yet again. This book is terrible. I thought it was a little boring as a kid, and now I think it’s way boring.

WTF? Nicholas is nineteen here. I could’ve sworn he was eighteen. Whatever, Steven’s age certainly jumped around enough too!

Ronoma County has a town in it called Denning. If you care. Yet another random environ for the SV world map.

The stupid shit with people not being able to tell the twins apart is just getting old. WOW THEY’RE IDENTICAL! THAT’S JUST CRAAAAZY! Yeah okay, now look for dumb girl with barrettes in her hair, that one’s Liz. Look for chick with crazy feathered bangs covering up her receding hairline, that one’s Jess. Got it? There was a moment where Nicholas was confused for a second because the chick he thought was Liz turned out to be Jess, and I wanted to throw up on his loafers, or whatever the hell rich 19-year-olds wear.

Jess definitely has a thing for WAY older men. Prior to learning the truth about him, she thinks Russell Kincaid is sexy, and he’s in his 60s. And of course, that’s her sole reason for supporting him for mayor.

Darcy Kaymen is still around. She appears for one whole paragraph.

Since the building in which the twins work is called the Western Building, I wonder if Artie Western’s family owns it. Remember Artie? He showed up in book 24 as Steve’s friend who had a crush on Cara before she and Steve started officially dating.

So if Russell Kincaid really thought that Barbara was the ghost of the old Barbara … why would that ghost be sitting and eating food with a modern day boy at Francesco’s? Couldn’t he just figure it out? Especially since he knew “his” Barbara had descendants? So fucking dumb!

Next up: That big dillhole Ronnie Edwards is here to warn you about the dangers of teen gambling!

Super Thriller #2 On the Run

Welcome to the second installment of the little SV mystery series. We’re back to the (eleventy-billionth) summer after 11th grade, and Liz and Jess are still interning at the Sweet Valley News. Jeffrey is still off at camp in San Francisco. So I guess this book is supposed to be placed right after the first one … I have no idea.

Since our last Thriller was mostly from Jessica’s juvenile perspective, this time around we’re going to get Liz’s lofty one, not to mention her hypocrisy and family worship. One of the first chapters of the book opens with Mrs. Wakefield feeling “bad” for eating a second taco (is there anyone out there who only eats one taco? for real?), while her son assures her that she looks just like a model. And of course we haven’t heard Jessica talk about diets for a while, so she tells us about a stupid grapefruit-and-rice diet that will get you to lose 20 pounds in the first month. Love how no one makes a point to say how ridiculously unhealthy that is.

We get a simplistic view of the “trial of the century” in New York City, involving a mob boss named Frank DeLucca who allegedly had the only witness against him, Ray Greenwood, murdered before he could testify. Everyone is talking about this trial and how DeLucca is expected to go free. (Frank DeLucca … sounds like Frank LaSalle from Malibu Summer… redundant much?) Liz is “passionately involved” with the case and is enraged whenever anyone suggests that the fear of being slaughtered will prevent someone from stepping forward to testify. And she smirks and proclaims her faith in human nature is proved right when a brave new witness steps forward at the last minute to testify! Dr. William Ryan has a handwritten letter from Ray Underwood before he died in which he stated DeLucca is every bit the criminal people think he is … and why he’d give this letter to his doctor, I have no idea. Isn’t that weird for a doctor and his patient to share such a close relationship? Well, the good doctor testifies, DeLucca is put away for good, and then the doctor is put into the witness protection program and moved off to parts unknown! He’s On the Run, get it? Gee, do you think he might wind up in Sweet Valley?

There are some new kids in town, and you’d think they’d make the plot of this more exciting, but they are as trite as ever. I don’t think anything can save a series that fumbles through the justice system and the bumbling Sweet Valley police department this badly.Here are our main players in this series:

Seth Miller, a reporter and the twins’ friend. He avoids Jessica because she had a mad crush on him in the last book and pretty much sexually harassed him at work. I thought they were good friends in the end though, but guess I was wrong.
Adam Maitland, Steve’s college buddy who is staying with the Wakefields for the summer. His beloved girlfriend Laurie was killed in the last Thriller. He was falsely accused of murdering her and was locked up for it, but he’s over it already. Jessica’s eyewitness account helped save his ass – but in this book, he thanks LIZ for saving him! Liz didn’t even believe Jessica, and it was Liz’s tattling that almost ensured Adam got sent to a pound-me-in-the-ass prison for life to begin with! What the fuck Adam!
Darcy Kaymen, the new girl in town and new intern at the News. She just moved here from Toledo and she’s *gasp!* going to Whitehead Academy (wherever that is) in the fall rather than SVH! I guess that’s a convenient way to explain her disappearance later. It’s also a good way for the ghostwriter to excuse her for being a huge snob, not to mention excruciatingly annoying and fucking delusional. Darcy is instant best friends with Jessica, but she hates Liz for no apparent reason (read: Liz is easy to hate), and plays dumb tricks on her, like fucking up a reporter’s coffee order. Darcy is infatuated with both Eric and Andy (see below) and acts like a ten-year-old around both of them. Kind of like Jessica used to act around Seth, only worse.
Eric Hankman, the new boy in town. He works in the Western Building coffee shop, and he also just moved here from Ohio. He’s from Cleveland. Liz and Eric are clearly crushing on each other while Jeffrey is away at camp, but Liz is in denial. Eric is brooding and is clearly hiding something. Since he gets depressed and secretive anytime someone asks him about his life before Sweet Valley, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what that something is. He also has lots of sad poetry about a destroyed love or something. Jessica figures he’s just broody because he’s from the midwest … is Ohio really the midwest? Isn’t it more northeast? Whatever.
Dan Weeks, another reporter who I think is supposed to be Seth’s rival or something.
Stan Fisher, the head of the editorial department.
Paul, some typesetter dude.
Andy Sullivan, a college intern who’s a sophomore from Stanford. Darcy wants a piece of it. For some reason, Jess is content to just sit back and let Darcy go after all these hot dudes.
Lawrence Robb, the editor-in-chief of the paper.

Um, has anyone else noticed the lack of estrogen on the newspaper staff? Darcy and the twins are the only females in the whole office, and they’re interns. I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, back to this crappy ass plot. Eric and Liz spend lots of time reading each other’s writing and Liz never mentions Jeffrey nor the fact that she is being a horrible cocktease. It’s clear Eric really likes her, especially after he tells her that Liz’s eyes remind him of the ocean. Um hello, you’ve only heard that from dudes who want you before, Liz. Like eighty other times. Yet Liz can’t bring herself to tell him about Jeffrey, even when it’s clear if she doesn’t, she’s probably going to cheat on Jeffrey while both he and Eric go on thinking they are the only ones in Liz’s life. She is just too strongly attracted to Eric and I wish she’d just give up and bone him already. Come on, you’re 16, get it out of your system and quit whining about it. Eric even wants to keep their friendship a secret which confuses Liz but pretty much gives her a free pass if you ask me. Hahaha. Eric and Liz go see a movie and then take a romantic walk on the beach and Eric tells her he’s been writing love poems about her. Liz tries to shush him but he kisses her finger instead. The chapter ends before we find out what happens next but I’m guessing a little roll in the sand was had. Maybe. This is Liz we’re talking about.

Meanwhile, Darcy continues to act like a seven-year-old around her crushes. She calls her friend Sue to see if she has any information about Eric, just because Sue just moved to Cleveland as well. Sue knows nothing, but says that a girl they knew has been found strangled to death in a parking lot. Jessica is still traumatized from having seen Laurie Forbes’s dead body in the last book and doesn’t want to hear anything about it. Later on, Darcy tries to get Jessica to ask Eric out to a Dodgers game for her, and Eric doesn’t take the bait, so Darcy throws a fit about how much he hates her. But then she changes her mind and goes ahead and throws herself at him yet again. She brags that she had to go to the ball game with some other dude named Ted McCarthy (which is a lie) and when it clearly doesn’t bother Eric, she doesn’t take the hint. This chick is crazy!!! She makes Jessica look like a model intern. When Darcy sees that Eric writes poetry, she cajoles him into saying the poems are for her. He stupidly just says they are, which makes no fucking sense, and then she fucking believes him, and this book is fucking ridiculous. Oh, it gets better. Darcy then grabs the book away from him while Eric is trying to work and tears one of his poems out. Eric is way too nice about it. I would totally smash a bitch if she tried to steal my writing. Darcy goes and shows the poem off to the twins and brags that Eric is in love with her and Liz feels sick and believes Darcy because she’s a fucking moron and gets mad at herself because she still can’t admit that Eric wants anything more from her than friendship, and I hate her and I hate this book. I think the same person who wrote Spring Fever wrote On the Run.

Liz starts avoiding Eric because that’s the way she handles shit, but then good old Ned goes ahead and invites Eric and his dad Rich over for a barbecue. Ned is working with Rich on some contract and Eric has been raving to his dad about Liz despite wanting to keep their friendship a secret. Ned announces this to the dinner table and Jessica tries to get Liz to tell her what’s going on, but Liz refuses. Then Darcy’s stupid friend Sue tells her that the police have released a composite sketch of the serial killer that they think killed her acquaintance in Ohio, named Christopher Wyeth, and it matches Eric’s description. Darcy and Jessica agree to start spying on Eric to see if he’s really Chris Wyeth. Yawn. I wish that he would murder both Liz and Darcy, but we’re obviously not going to be so lucky. Eric and Mr. Hankman come over for the barbecue, and the Wakefields’ neighbors the Beckwiths are there, and Mr. Beckwith keeps bugging Mr. Hankman about where he’s seen him before. I must say that it’s really annoying. Jessica is watching Eric like a hawk and noting all his strange behavior for Darcy while also trying to make sure that Liz isn’t going to get involved with Eric. Whatever Liz is telling herself, that ship has sailed.

Darcy convinces Jessica to dress up as Liz and go over to the Hankmans’ house to get Eric to give her his poetry notebook. They’re convinced it will say something in it about his being Chris Wyeth. Right, because he’d just hand it over to Liz if that were the case. Jessica leaves Eric’s house with the notebook having realized that Eric doesn’t just like Liz, he’s been seeing her. Two guys in a Mercedes chase after Jessica and harass her. One of them orders her to stop seeing Eric, knocks her bike over with her on it and steals Eric’s notebook from her. Jessica wants to tell the police, but crazy Darcy is intent on solving the case herself and getting all the glory for it, so she swears to Jessica to secrecy. Jessica agrees not to tell anyone even though she’s terrified Eric is going to kill her sister. Okay. Since when is Jessica this spineless? She is totally not herself in these books.

Liz goes off with Enid and Jessica goes to the Dairi Burger with a bunch of people. Eric Hankman shows up and learns from Aaron and Winston that Liz has a boyfriend. He freaks the fuck out and storms out of the restaurant. Then he stands Liz up for their date at the Beach Disco. Dramaaaaaa.

The book ends stupidly with the usual bumbling criminals that are supposed to terrify us. A little boy chokes nearly to death at the coffee shop where Eric works and Mr. Hankman has to save him with a tracheotomy thus revealing that he is a doctor. Then Mr. Beckwith shows up and realizes that Dr. Hankman is not just any doctor but Doctor Ryan, the one who testified against Frank DeLucca! That’s right, Mr. Beckwith just goes ahead and yells out Dr. Hankman’s identity in front of everyone and carries on about how he’s in the witness protection program and totally wrecks his life. Mr. Beckwith is a real fuckwad.

Dr. Ryan (Hankman) and his son flee the shop and Liz goes to their house and catches them packing. Eric reveals his real name is Michael Ryan and it turns out he has nothing to do with Chris Wyeth, who in fact has already been caught by the police. Eric and Liz confess their love for one another and Eric is literally a breath away from kissing Liz when …. ohmygod, three of DeLucca’s men bust in the house. One is the man who knocked Jess off her bike and the other is this FBI agent who followed Liz and questioned her. Oh I’m sorry, did I forget to mention that? It’s because I don’t give a crap about this dumb book. Dr. Ryan, Michael, and Liz are held at gunpoint and the criminals send Liz and Michael upstairs while they question Dr. Ryan. Even though for all they know, there could well be a phone up there they could use to call the police. WTF!!!! STUPID FUCKING CRIMINALS Liz magically finds an alarm system called the Good Neighbor System and pushes the button to alert their neighbors. And the neighbors show up and somehow tackle three gun-wielding mobsters without anyone getting hurt or any shots even being fired. The police show up and Dr. Ryan praises Liz for showing him that people really are good and they do care and will try to help you … wow. I’m glad to know a 16-year-old is, once again, able to teach adults such important life lessons. And that Liz gets all the credit when the neighbors are the ones who saved the Ryans.

Eric and Liz say a tearful goodbye and blather on about how much they love one another and then the Ryans pack off and leave Sweet Valley with new identities once again. I don’t think Eric ever kisses Liz, but her problem of whether or not to tell Jeffrey that she pretty much cheated on him is now solved! And Eric leaves his notebook with Liz and she reads his poems to her and cries. WAaaaaaaah

The cover: Liz doesn’t look half-bad. She looks kind of beautiful. Jessica looks way older than Liz, and why is she always grabbing at Liz’s arm like that? Totally unnatural poses like usual.

Other shit: Besides Whitehead, Greenwood Academy is another private school mentioned in this book. Amy and Jessica want to meet hot guys that go there at the Beach Disco. So now we know there’s Bridgewater, Greenwood, Whitehead, and some others I can’t remember right now. Apparently Sweet Valley is surrounded by fucking private schools and yet we are supposed to believe that rich people like the Patmans, the Fowlers, and the Morrows want their children to go to public school.

“Honey, can you toss the salad for me?” -Alice Wakefield. Gold

The Beckwiths have a son named Jack who lives in San Francisco. We’ve heard of the Beckwiths numerous times before, but never this dude. I’m guessing Jeffrey is off hooking up with him instead of being a camp counselor. Sorry, I gotta keep this stuff interesting.

Liz asks Jess, “Since when do you barge into my room without knocking?” Um, in every book?

Enid has a cat named Muffy. Hahaha. Muffy destroys a note Jessica left at the Rollins’s for Liz in which she told her to stay away from Eric.

Darcy worries that she looks too “voluptuous” in a dress and Jessica is like, well, she is pretty curvy but she actually looks good. On what planet are the words “voluptuous” and “curvy” bad?

Regarding her sneaking around with Eric, Liz thinks that all this would-be cheating is brand new for her and that “she had never really been in this kind of situation before.” Keep telling yourself that, Liz, and we’ll ignore your little tryst with Nicholas Morrow that stretched on forever … not to mention your sneaking out to meet Alex Parker back in Kansas while your relationship with Jeffrey was still brand-new.

And I just realized that Forbes was not Laurie’s last name in the last book. It was in fact Hamilton. Wow, way to go editors. I think someone else’s name in Double Jeopardy was Forbes though … like her grandfather’s … I don’t give a fuck, what am I saying?

Liz makes me want to PUKE. First she babbles on and on about how grateful Darcy and Jessica should be to work for the newspaper. Bla bla bla, shut up! Then she spends half the book talking patronizingly about both how good people are and how Sweet Valley is a perfect paradise on earth, where unicorns and fairies and magic exist and everyone is happy all the time! Even after they have witnessed a murder or been kidnapped a few dozen times! She even tries to convince the Ryans (Hankmans) that they should stay even after their identity is exposed because it’s so perfect that everyone would always try to help keep them safe. Who cares about gun-wielding mobsters when you have the Wakefields on your side? Shut up ya little twat. Just shut up!

Next up: Some stupid Robin Wilson drama.

Super Thriller #1 Double Jeopardy

Ah, the beginning of the Super Thrillers. A Super Thriller, in case you are unaware, is really a Super Edition that gives the twins an excuse to play detective. And you can tell they are playing detective because the first four Super Thrillers frame the twins with magnifying glasses. Just in case you couldn’t figure that out. Hehe.

Let’s look at this cover. Elizabeth and Jessica are cracking me up with deer-in-headlight, totally unnatural poses and mouths hanging open … total blowjob face on Liz. Liz’s suit is HIDEOUS. I know that these scarf-and-suit combos were popular in the late 80s, but come on! That pinky-purple color makes me feel sick, and of course she has the matching barrettes going on! The twins are in some kind of garage or basement under a glaring light, and Jessica’s hand clutching Liz’s arm looks so weird (and painful … could you clutch any harder, Jess?). Jessica’s shirt has weird sleeves, Liz’s chest is totally flat, and both girls need to give up on those feathery bangs already.

The plot: So, remember how Liz previously decided to give up her prized summer internship at the Sweet Valley News at Jessica’s wheedling? Now the tables have turned for the twins’ umpteenth summer. Elizabeth has the internship again, and Ned and Alice have pushed Jessica to do it too because she couldn’t come up with anything else to do (other than proposed luxurious vacations that never panned out). Although Jessica was sure it was going to be boring, she finds she now actually loves being a little gofer for one reason. If you guessed the reason is a male, DING DING DING. The book opens with her swooning over the hotness of one of the News reporters, Seth Miller, who’s from D.C. Even though he’s 22, Jessica is sure she can get him to want a piece of her jailbat ass. For right now, he seems to find her annoying. Oh, and also, even though he’s only 22, he’s a successful published mystery writer with the pen name of Lester Ames.

Jess does have some other things to pout about like a 2-year-old, though. One of those is Steven’s college buddy, Adam Maitland. Jessica is irritated that he and Steven are moving into the Wakefield home for the summer (for some bigshot law internship) because that means the house is now “cramped” and she can’t keep all her extra stuff in Steven’s room. How was she doing that anyway since Steve was home every damn weekend? The second thing that’s annoying Jess is that Liz is too seriously involved with Jeffrey. Jeffrey is away in San Francisco as a camp counselor, and Liz is mooning over him and writing him letters all the time. Jessica thinks Liz should find somebody new and stop the boring committed shit already. Yawn, same old song there. Jess decides to handle both of these terribly pressing issues by attempting to get Liz to hook up with Adam. Since Adam readily admits he’s just not as smart as Steven, he’s already off to a good start with the Wakefields. (“I wish I were as naturally smart as your son, though. I have to work really hard to get good grades,” says Adam. GAG ME.) He then proves my personal suspicion that the Wakefields have a hypnotic way of getting people they’ve just met to confess their most personal problems. He just goes ahead and spills all about his girlfriend Laurie Hamilton, a 17-year-old from nearby San Marino, whose wealthy grandfather Tucker Forbes (heh) disapproves of her relationship because Adam’s poor and not smart or something. Tucker wants Laurie to marry some other dick named Tom Winslow instead, who hates Adam’s guts because he also loves Laurie. Laurie is pretending to slightly like Tom for now, and hiding Adam from Tucker so that she’s safe to claim her trust fund when she turns 18 in a couple of weeks.

Jessica must be really bored this summer, because she starts acting even more like a twelve-year-old than usual. Seriously, I felt like I was reading something out of Sweet Valley Twins. First she decides the best way to get Adam and Liz together is to type up a fake letter from Adam professing his undying love for Liz and stick it under Liz’s pillow. In the note, “Adam” writes that he is going to act like he doesn’t feel anything for Liz for now until he can figure out a way to let Laurie down easy. Of course, Liz of Troy believes that someone who just met her like one or two days ago has indeed fallen for her. She’s a Wakefield, so it just makes sense. Vain bitch.

Further proving her ridiculous immaturity and ability to greatly pain my brain, Jessica decides the best way to get close to Seth Miller is to make up stupid “leads” for him to write about. First she lies and claims that a big kitchen fire at the Box Tree Cafe was an arson. Seth believes her and rushes to check it out, and is laughed away by an investigator and the manager, who saw the fire happen himself and makes a joke about how Seth will have to write about how an omelet deliberately caught the place on fire. Yes, I chuckled at that. Seth is super embarrassed, but he forgives Jessica because she just has such a pretty smile! Next, Jessica makes up a big fucking story about how her next door neighbor Mr. Bennett stole some money from the bank and buried it in his backyard. Once again, Stupidass Seth believes her, types up the story, and turns it into their boss, Lawrence Robb. Thankfully, Lawrence reads the story first, determines it’s a piece of shit and chews both of them out for making shit up that could have you know, destroyed somebody’s reputation. He should seriously fire both of them, and he has a mind to, but … but … JESSICA IS JUST SO ADORABLE! AWWWWW! So he reassigns Jessica to doing grunt work for some old hag and lectures Seth about journalistic standards that he clearly doesn’t know shit about.

Let’s get into the mystery already. You know you can’t wait. Judging from what we’ve already seen of the Sweet Valley police force in previous books, this is going to be just golden. So Jessica leaves work late one night, working past 10 p.m., which has to be illegal for minors or something. The guard on that level of the parking garage is off-duty, and Jess sees a man near a white Trans Am (wtf, third white Trans Am in recent books), which has a rusty spot shaped like an S on it. She also notices Adam’s car is the only other car still in the garage, and the she notices that the Trans Am man is in fact carrying a dead body. Trans Am Man sees Jessica and she floors it out of there in hysterics. Everyone is understandably skeptical of her story because she’s already shown she’s a pathological liar many a time. But then it turns out Adam has been arrested. You see, he found Laurie’s body in the trunk of his car, and when the police arrived, they found the rope used to strangle her in the glovebox and just assumed that Adam did it. He’s charged with murder and everyone thinks Jessica’s story about the Trans Am and the body isn’t really that important, because look, THE ROPE WAS IN ADAM’S CAR! Oh, those pre-DNA days … Then the cops just go ahead and tell the whole story of the murder and all the crucial evidence to the Wakefields when they show up at the station to learn more about Adam’s arrest. Oh, these stupid fucking cops.

Meanwhile, Liz goes and shows the letter from “Adam” to her dad who takes it to the police, and then a douchebag named Dan Weeks gets to write up the story about how this proves Adam killed Laurie and gets a bunch of praise for it. Old Lawrence doesn’t trust Seth to get his shit straight anymore. Seth is pissed so he is super agreeable to Jess’s latest plan, which is to investigate the murder themselves and find Trans Am Man. They start spending a lot of time together and no one thinks to wonder what an adult is doing hanging around a high school chick all the time. After a bunch of farting around, Jessica finally tells the police that she actually wrote the note to Liz, and they’re like, “Now, keep this a secret so the real murderer feels safe and we can catch him, while your friend here rots in jail.” So of course she goes and tells Seth right off the bat, while hiding it from her sister who is still freaked out that Adam is supposedly obsessed with her. While also not telling Liz, Jess goes ahead and hints to Adam that he shouldn’t worry about this letter that he knows he didn’t write. Jess and Seth interview Adam and his parents, who have flown in from South Dakota (which is, of course, portrayed as the sticks) in the jail. They get more information about Tom Winslow, the dude Tucker wanted Laurie to marry. Tom’s supposed to be a scary person because he has severe depression. Okay. What I want to know is, WHY is no one asking Adam if Tom happens to drive a white Trans Am with an ugly old rust stain?

Ned and Alice have laid down the parental law for once, and won’t let the twins use the Fiat because Trans Am Man might see it and chase them, and garage it so he won’t drive by and see it. Um, you guys are aware that it’s not too much of a stretch for scary dude to find out where you live anyway, right? He just has to make the five minute drive around Sweet Valley looking for your daughters. Case in point: Jessica disobeys the rules one day, takes the Fiat, and runs into Trans Am Man driving around. She freaks out, but he just speeds away from her. Ned is pissed and takes the keys away for good until Trans Am dude is caught. He also grounds the twins. They are only allowed to go to their internship, only with a ride or in Steven’s car, and never anywhere at all by themselves.

Now Ned and Alice have grounded the girls for their own safety, but then think nothing of leaving them both home alone while they take off. The girls are supposed to ride with Seth to a stupid office party. Liz is too appalled that they have actually been grounded to be too alarmed when Seth has to beg off the ride, leaving the girls stuck to ride in Steven’s car together. Then Jessica gets a call telling her that she needs to go to the police station to check something out, but she doesn’t want Liz to know because then she’ll find out that Jessica wrote the Adam letter. So Jessica arranges to ride over with a cop instead while Liz takes off for the party by herself. Even though both the girls aren’t supposed to go anywhere without the other tagging along, because that’s going to ward off a killer from offing both of them, Liz stops playing Miss Responsibility for a change and doesn’t bat an eye at this plan. She also doesn’t know what a witness statement is. Wow.

At the station, Jessica is shown a single picture of Tom Winslow to see if it’s the same man she saw the night of the body-dumping in the garage. Um, okay, pretty much all I know about murder investigations I got from Law & Order and the newspaper and shit like that, but – aren’t you supposed to show several pictures together along with the “suspect”? What? Jessica says it is Tom and freaks out that he is the killer, DUN DUN DUN, DUUUUUUUH. I have no idea how one person is so hard to find in a little old town like Sweet Valley. He’s out there driving around in broad daylight in his very obvs marked car and no one gives a shit!

Meanwhile, Liz has no ride to the fucking boring office party but feels she must go, so she just finds Ned’s very obviously-hidden keys, then grabs the Fiat after Steven’s car won’t start. Liz, slow down baby, there will be a time when you will BEG not to have to go to these damned things.

The police drop Jessica off at the party but doesn’t offer to escort her through the same garage where she saw Tom with Laurie’s body. And even though she made this detour, she’s somehow there way before Liz. Well what do you know, Jessica sees the Trans Am in the garage again and freaks out. Once inside the party, she runs into Seth … talking to Tom Winslow! Tom is the son of some big shot and he is friends with a reporter named Bob Carlisle, or something. Seth is surprisingly calm about Tom even though he and Jessica were just interviewing Adam about what a nutcase Tom is and how it’s not at all unlikely he is Trans Am Man. In fact, Seth doesn’t seem to have heard of Tom prior to this fucking party. I’m so confused. Jessica gets Seth by himself, tells him that Tom is Laurie’s killer, and gets him to run and call the police “from a pay phone” (hello 1987, haha) while she stays behind to keep Tom from leaving the party. I don’t get why it’s not the other way around. And why is Seth using a pay phone? They don’t have a phone somewhere in the office that he could covertly use?

Tom leers at Jessica and tries to get her to go to a pub with him. Ewww! He’s like, way too old, and she just told him she’s in high school. I guess he’s looking for more ways to go to jail. I’m just sayin’. He knows he has seen her before, but he has no idea where. He was too far away to see her the night of the murder.

After Jessica denies Tom’s request, he gets pissed off that she is rejecting him and storms out to the garage, where Liz has just pulled up in the Fiat Spider. Tom blocks the Fiat with his ugly ass Trans Am and attacks Liz with a lead pipe, thinking she’s Jessica. He’s just NOW figured out where he’s seen Jess before. Way to go, Tom old boy. Oh oh oh, and we find the real reason for Tom’s depression. He yells at “Jessica” (Liz) that he has never really had a girlfriend before. Oh I get it! This is what happens when you can’t get a date. It means something is wrong with you and if Liz can’t fix you, you’re going to wind up going insane. I’m surprised Liz didn’t offer to get him a man makeover on the spot.

Jessica runs out, sees the attack and interferes. He chases both of them around the garage with the pipe. Every time he demands they come to him, they go ahead and do it rather than running like hell. The security guard comes up to help and Tom beats him unconscious. Then Liz runs off to the stairwell, pulls the fire alarm, and passes out in the stairs while Tom gets ready to beat Jessica to death. Seth and everyone else hear the alarm and run into the garage where Seth pulls Tom off of Jessica and then cradles her in his arms like she always wanted. Woo woo. Jessica is praised with catching the murderer and Lawrence Robb rewards her and Seth by allowing them to write their own feature story on the fiasco together. This pisses Liz off. Then Jessica admits to Liz that it was her, not Adam, who wrote that stupid love letter. This also pisses Liz off. I’m loving Jessica right now. Then Jessica uses the fact that Tom attacked her to coax Seth into agreeing to take her out to dinner AND give her a starring role in his next Lester Ames novel, all while failing to notice that he seriously doesn’t like her like that. Are you fucking kidding me? Now I’m not loving Jessica.

The story ends with Jessica continuing to snoop around and deciding that she is now a bonafide Nancy Drew. We never find out what the hell that rusty “S” on the Trans Am was all about. Oh, and the News didn’t put Jessica in the byline for the big story, which makes her pout but pleases Liz. They can both bite me.

This book is dumb beyond belief.

The back of the book has an ad for your own “Super Sleuth Sweet Valley High Miniature Camera”! There’s a picture of it:

The ad says it’s worth almost 14 dollars (in 1987 currency). Does anyone out there have one of these? And does it actually say “Sweet Valley High” anywhere on it?

Other stuff: It strikes me as somewhat morbid that our first Super Thriller is titled “murder” right after the death of Regina. It also strikes me as strange that this Super Thriller is themed around summer, but was released in December 1987.

In this book, Ned is said to practice “litigation.” I’m glad we have his type of law cleared up. I’ll remember that the next time he randomly does some other type instead.

Jessica plays hooky from work with Lila, who is absorbed in a show on her Watchman. You know, those mini-portable TVs with the headphones?

The detective “investigating” Laurie’s murder claims that in the past 25+ years, there has never been a murder in Sweet Valley. Right! Glad to know you’ve been forgotten already, Justin Belson’s dad.

The Wakefields eat dinner at a new Mexican restaurant out in Los Vistas, yet another town near Sweet Valley that we have never heard of before and never will again …

The book makes it sound like being interns at the newspaper means you get to write stories. Um, I don’t know a whole lot about being an intern, but I thought it would be more like fetching coffee and shit.

Cute play on a legal term with the title. Hurrrrrr. I think these Super Thrillers were a big deal at the time because the Nancy Drew Case Files series was all the rage. I read those like crazy in third grade.

Next up … it’s back to the regular series, and a story about that pathetic sack of shit, Sandy Bacon. Yeah, I’m harsh!

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