PHBC – THE WATCHER BY LAEL LITTKE
Posted by James Dawson on January 13, 2015
Soap addled fangirl Catherine Belmont is a huge fan of glossy, two minute drama ‘Lost River’ until the events of the show start to come true! As her lookilikey ‘Cassandra Bly’ is stalked by a mysterious figure, so is Catherine.
Stalked by a mysterious figure?
Indeed. Catherine is secretly filmed, left numerous roses, presented with balcony DIY, spooky phone calls and haunted by whispering. It’s all to do with her mum’s old shag.
Sadly, Catherine takes us firmly back into the April Fools territory of TSTL – Too Stupid To Live. OK, girl, we all loved a bit of Sunset Beach back in the day, but we didn’t all write to Annie Douglas for a signed photograph. Oh, wait, I actually DID do that. Even so, I didn’t get her haircut, practice a British accent and start running to an electrical goods shop to watch over lunchtime. Also, her level of non-commitment to cheerleading makes me question her commitment commitment.
The Love Interest
A feeble love triangle sort of thing is brewing with Catherine/Cath/Cathy/Cassandra and boy-next-door Wade and handsome newcomer Travis.
Wade says stuff like: ‘I like watching you, Cath.’ Creepy.
Travis says stuff like: ‘Oh boy…I’ve stained your carpet.’
Slim pickins. Worst OF ALL THE BOOKS EVER, Travis has some sort of shady backstory WHICH WE’RE NEVER TOLD. Never. No clue. Answers on a postcard, pls. Fuck it. In the end, Catherine decides to send 14 of her eyelashes to Dr Carlton Wyatt at Lost River ER anyway.
As well as the boys we have reliable best friend sort, Liz and Regina Georgesque Britny, whose name I couldn’t see without thinking of Brinty from the Nekci Minij Show.
Some key 90s fashions for Catherine include: ‘A full, flowered skirt and rust coloured blouse’ and full marks for ‘a pair of black pants and a gold shirt.’
OK are we ready for this: He fingered through the ring…
‘But how could it slip off my ring?’
He held out the ring to her
‘Britny took the key from your ring.’
‘You must have been watching the day Britny gave that key to Travis and he put it on his ring.’
‘The key to the cabin was on my ring.’
Some Mild Peril
All very standard PH. A breathy phone voice just isn’t what it once was. And it’s all ‘a little far fetched’ as Wade points out at one point.
Body Count: 1 (historically)
Did The Best Friend Do It? ‘Surprised, Cath?’ No. Not in the slightest, Liz.
Is It Any Good?
Well no, not if we’re honest. The soap opera concept is a fresh one but the issue with seeing what’s going to happen before it happens is that you know what’s going to happen. The most intriguing part for me was the back story with Catherine’s mother and TJ, although the reveal is so crushingly predictable I had scarce fucks to give. I can’t even with how Travis and Wade watched Lost River, went searching for a cemetery and got to the cabin in the woods in under two minutes. Unforgivable though is never finding out what happened in Travis’s past.
Over To You
Just one question this month – what the fuck is up with Travis?
It’s with a sad little heart I have to announce this is the final PHBC from me. It’s a lovely problem to have, but I’m just too busy with paid writing to do free writing any more! I know! Boo! But the most important thing with a book club is that as soon as it starts to feel like an obligation, you must stop at once. I gift it to you though. We’ve trolled nineteen titles now and some of us (Paul) have been here from day one. If someone else wishes to take over the mantle, I’m more than happy for the group to continue and I’ll drop in and out if I have time.
What have we learned? Teenage readers are perhaps drawn to different elements than adult ones – repetition and pattern being big draws. The ones I loved as a teen (Dream Date, Camp Fear) haven’t aged as well as some of the ones I wasn’t so sure about (The Yearbook, The Cheerleader). We learned Caroline B Cooney is a legend. We established RL Stine is as good now as he was then and that Collect Call is as good as we remembered The Cemetery being awful.
We can all agree that The Forbidden Game is still the undiscovered Twilight of its generation and that, I think, was my highlight.
Love you all – check out Under My Skin in March. Like Point Horror, but weirder and pinker.