Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick (review)

October 31, 2014 All Reviews, Horror, YA 0 ★★★★

Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick (review)Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Published by Open Road Media on October, 1989
Number of Pages: 224
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Purchase: At Amazon

Martha knew there was something evil about the house she was moving into. It was so cold...and creepy. And it wasn't just the house that was giving her a weird feeling. Martha was sure someone was following her...watching her every move.

Then the practical jokes began -- the scarecrow with a carving knife in its head, the fire. And the phone calls: "Trick or Treat,'re dead."

It was October, but these were no Halloween tricks. Someone would be coming home this year with more than just a bag of treats. And Martha was the prize.

Trick or Treat.


“Trick or treat, trick or treat, candy is dandy, but murder is sweet.”

This has all the hallmarks of a good scary story. Creepy house, a secret that the whole town knows and that the main character doesn’t. Mysterious phone calls, Halloween right around the corner. Some of the book will seem cliched now, but you need to remember this was published back in 1989 when most of this was new and fresh. It’s still a sufficiently chilling read for this time of year.

I’d love to be able to explore this house, in daylight, without someone wanting me dead. It sounds like it has the perfect amount of secrets and age and all the neat things really old houses tend to have. (And yes, I’m being deliberately obscure so as not to reveal some of the best plot in the book.)

The characters were really well-written. Martha is a bit of a spoiled brat, and takes the view of how everything effects her as opposed to anyone else. This is most likely typical teenage mind-set, especially as her mother is dead and her father re-married a woman with a son a year older than Martha. They then move into this big, spooky house with little to no notice, in another state far away from all her friends. So she has reason to be a bit of a whiny, slightly freaked out teenager. And then the spookiness starts.

Connor is seen mostly through the eyes of Martha, and so in the very beginning he is painted as the not-so-likable stepbrother. But soon his actual character starts becoming more apparent. He’s thoughtful and smart, and he really tries to see things from not only his point of view, but Martha and his mom and stepfather’s. Very laid back, he doesn’t talk a lot, but what he does say is usually spot-on for teasing elder brother, or the calm mediator Martha needs.

Blake is the typical charming popular athlete. Everyone likes him, and he knows exactly what he wants out of life. To get an athletic scholarship and get out of the small town they live in.

I had read this book many years ago, but remembered nothing about it when I read it again. There are some neat plot twists, a few I saw coming, and some I didn’t see at all until they were revealed. If you’re looking for a spooky book, I would highly recommend this one.


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