Thursday, 12 February 2009

April Fools - Richie Tankersley Cusick

Oh, RTC, you know I can’t stay away for long. And here I am back again, unable to resist your loving arms with April Fools. And you know what? It’s pretty pretty good. If you replace the word ‘good’ with the word ‘shit’, that is. SLAM!

So, let’s set the scene – Belinda is best chums with Hildy and Frank, who are a couple. Belinda once had the hots for Frank herself but he chose Hildy. I don’t know why anyone would have the hots for Frank as he is an absolute imbecile. Exhibit A: the book opens with Belinda, Hildy and Frank driving home from an April Fool’s party (is this a thing?! How come I’ve never been invited to an April Fool’s party?!). Frank is drink driving because drink driving is totally 90s.

Upon reaching a hairpin bend, another car approaches them, honking away, and Frank decides to “give these hotshots a scare.” That’s probably the only time you’ll ever get to read the word ‘hotshot’ and the word ‘honking’ in the same sentence. W00t. And give them a scare Frank does, basically running them off the road and into a gorge. Why is there always a gorge? I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a gorge.

Anyway, Belinda wants to help the people in the gorge but Hildy and Frank are all like, “Belinda! Noooo.” And the car in the gorge goes KABOOM, but not before Belinda catches a glimpse of someone burning to death in the car. And also spots a man watching the three of them from above, who suspiciously remains unresponsive to Belinda’s cries for help.

Two weeks later, Hildy and Frank are ragging on Belinda for being upset. Jesus, it’s only been 2 weeks since they basically killed a carful of people Hildy totally tries to justify it by being all, “you know Frank, he’s always joking, that was totally just a joke, and those people should have watched where they were driving, as if their fiery death was EVEN our fault” Umm, Hildy? It kinda was your fault. She even accuses Belinda of being “dramatic”, saying “you’re acting like this is some kind of huge tragedy or something,.” Speechless.

Hildy also thinks they totes did the right thing by not telling the police about the accident, because Frank would get chucked off the swim team for drink driving, and Hildy was meant to be grounded so her parents would be pissed. Yeah, and the prison thing. Don’t forget the prison thing Hildy. Hildy doesn’t believe Belinda when she says there was a man there watching them. Belinda’s worried this man’s going to come after them. I'd agree that that’s a pretty safe bet

Belinda’s super smart, so she gets hired to be a tutor by some chick called Mrs Thorne. She needs a tutor for her stepson, Adam Thorne as he’s ill. The reason he’s ill is…because of the car accident he was in 2 weeks ago. Dun dun dunn. Mrs Thorne was also in the accident and escaped with just a few bruises, together with her husband, Adam’s dad who wasn’t so lucky and is currently in a coma. She’s a really cold bitch and she makes no secret of the fact that she hates Adam and really doesn’t give a shit about him.

Belinda tells Hildy but Hildy’s a psychopath and still doesn’t understand why she should care. There’s something about that Hildy that I really like. Hildy actually finds the whole situation hilariously funny. Like, irony or whatever. Frank and Hildy both think Belinda is insane for even thinking that this could be the SAME car accident. Okay psychos, either way you’ve definitely killed someone though, right?

Hildy actually thinks it all sounds incredibly romantic and encourages Belinda to agree to tutor Adam Thorne. He might be cute, right? And Frank thinks everything’s okay because there’s no way anyone could have survived their car accident. Him and Hildy are really made for each other.

Belinda goes to meet Adam at his super swish mansion and is warned by Mrs Thorne that he’s pretty hostile. Sure enough, Adam slinks in on a walking cane and talks to her from the shadows. It's kind of a beauty and the beast type bonding moment. Pathetically, Belinda actually faints. And then as she comes round she sees his face hovering over her and he’s all covered in gashes and icky looking. Understandably, Adam’s a bit upset that she actually fainted and Belinda leaves. There’s a spark between these two through, a spark I tells ya.

On her way out of her house, Belinda meets the butler or whatever, Mr Cobbs. Its quite a dramatic meeting, given that he’s raising a bloody meat cleaver over head. But don’t worry, that has a perfectly innocent explanation I guess. She also discovers shitloads of boxes full of poisonous snakes. Sigh, rich people, eh?
Cobbs make Belinda a lovely cup of tea. She figures out that he’s English because of : “Your accent of course. And you’re very…stiff.” Well, excuuuuuse me for having manners, Miss USA.

Belinda discovers that Adam has a stepbrother called Noel, who is Mrs Thorne’s son. She also sees a picture of Adam from before the accident. He’s a hotty mctotty. “He looked beautiful and evil at the same time and Belinda’s eye filled with tears.” How romantic.

So Belinda decides to take the job, and a bunch of weird stuff starts happening to her – she finds a doll’s head covered in blood and entrails in her mailbox, she gets sent a calendar with April Fool’s day marked in blood etc etc. Belinda suspects that hilarious prankster Frank may be behind all this but he totally flips out when she confronts him and is all, “you’d better not go to the police, cos if you do….”

A couple of days later, Belinda walks through the park to get to the Thorne’s house and a “windblown leaf” makes her jump. This girl really needs to toughen up. Then she realises that she’s wearing the jacket from the night of the accident, and it has a rag she picked up that fateful night in her pocket, it’s a blood-soaked hankie with the initial A on it. Gasp! A for….Adam?

When Belinda reaches the house, Mrs Thorne’s leaving for a business trip for a few days. Adam freaks Belinda out and she runs out of his room – bumping into his step-brother Noel. Who is also a hotty mctotty, but in more of a laid back, less…DANGEROUS kind of way. Noel offers to drive Belinda home.

They talk about Adam – Noel says he really doesn’t know Adam very well – their parents only married 3 years ago and they’ve been at separate schools. Noel doesn’t even know where Adam’s mother lives. Noel says that Adam’s always been kind of weird and scary, that has nothing to do with the accident. He also tells Belinda that his own mother (Mrs Thorne) is a massive bitch who only married Adam’s dad for the money. A girl’s gotta hustle for a living, yo.

A few days later, Belinda goes back to the Thorne house and Cobbs acts all weird, and is like you should leave and never come back and Belinda kind of laughs and then he’s like, I need to shut the door now, so come in, and I’m like WTF is going on here. Cobbs is properly dry. I think he’s meant to be super witty. He’s not. Belinda decides she likes Cobbs after blabbing on to him about her problems whilst he listens politely. These Americans huh. Belinda doesn’t even bother visiting Adam. Hmmm, maybe RTC has upped the inappropriate relationship stakes and Belinda’s going to start macking with the ancient British butler.

On her walk home through the park, Belinda sees a car there “waiting for her”. This book really makes very little sense. The car doesn’t move or anything but Belinda just totally loses her shit and runs back to the Thorne house, to the safety of Cobbs. But Cobbs doesn’t open the door, Adam does.Oh yeah, he also has a snake hanging around his neck. As you do.

Belinda’s bleeding from when she spazzed out and fell over after the horror of seeing a stationary car, so Adam fixes up her cut. Adam reveals all this creepy knowledge he knows about Belinda and he’s all stroking his finger down her face and stuff, and kind of hinting that he’s seen her somewhere before and that she might have a secret and also keeps going on about how gross his accident was. What a downer.

Luckily, Noel appears and saves Belinda from the weirdness. He drives her home and she tells him that someone in a car was ‘chasing’ her (which, frankly, I think is stretching the truth.) Belinda’s suspicious that it could have been Adam in the car. Noel thinks this is a ridiculous idea as Adam can barely even walk.

Hildy arrives round at Belinda’s house, thankfully sans her douche bag boyfriend Frank this time. Belinda tells Hildy that now she’s sure that it was the same accident, and that Adam may have seen her and is now wreaking some terrible revenge. Noel arrives at Belinda’s house again like 5 minutes after dropping her off. Why? And then they spot Cobbs, standing outside the house and staring creepily inside. Never trust the British, am I right? Noel and Hildy convince Belinda that her eye(s) may have been playing tricks on her.

Noel decides to tell Belinda some stuff about Adam – Adam has a history of imaganing things and being a compulsive liar. Noel also tells her that Adam is having a delusion that someone else started the car accident. Ummm, that ain’t no delusion, bro. And Mrs Thorne doesn’t even remember what happened, she’s always on a shitlaod of pills. Buzzing her tits off, mate. Oh, there’s also some picnic thing that people keep going on about and Noel asks Belinda to be his date.

Next day, Belinda’s back at the Thorne house and she marches right up to Adam’s room, having decided not to put up with any more of his creepy shit. She’s all, turn on the lights, yo! I feel so empowered! Adam’s all creepy as usual, and the bloody handkerchief that Belinda found in her pocket about a million years ago falls out her pocket. And Adam, sees it, and we knows that he knows that this means Belinda was definitely at the accident. Or something.

Belinda freaks out and uses the phone to call a cab. She overhears Adam on the phone to his dad’s doctor, and he’s all, when’s the old guy gonna hurry up and die? And basically drops massive hints that he’s going to kill his dad somehow. This kid’s not even TRYING to act sane.

At the picnic, Belinda and Noel are all laughter and joy. They suck face. Noel drives Belinda home,. They get rammed from behind by another car. They end up skidding and just miss landing in a ditch. Belinda tells Noel she thinks it was Adam and he loses his shit, all Adam can't even walk, as if he’d do this, and how comes you’re always going on about Adam anyway?

They drive back to Noel's house together, as Belinda doesn’t feel safe staying at home. Steamy. Adam and Cobbs are both out, having gone to the movies together. Hmm. I wonder if they DROVE to the movies. Noel lends Belinda a silky nightgown of his moms, then comes back and gets all cosy with her in the nightgown, and he’s all, mmmHMMM, this is even better on you than it is on mom. So. Very. Wrong.

Belinda ends up telling Noel the whole horrible story, and the subsequent attempts that someone has been making to terrify her. Noel suggests that the man watching from the cliff could have been Adam, and that he just lied about being in the car when the accident happened. Belinda seems surprised by this possibility. I thought that’s what she was thinking all along but WHATEVER. They come to the conclusion that Adam could have caused the crash on purpose to kill his dad and step mom. As they discuss it, they hear a door slam in the house. Uh oh, is that Adam listening in?

Belinda has a nightmare and then wakes up to find one of those pesky poisonous snakes in her bed. Oh the horror, the horror etc. Cobbs comes to fetch it. Yeah, I bet he “fetches” it good if you know what I mean.

Next morning, Belinda quizzes her homeboy Cobbs about Adam some MORE, asking him if he thinks that Adam is crazy. Cobbs tells her a little story: Adam’s parents fought loads when he was a kid, but he adored his father. Adams parents sent him away for a while to live with a mean aunt and uncle, Adam tried to run away and claimed they were abusing him, which they denied. Adam’s parents were too busy divorcing to bother with Adam, so they just left him there, until one night Adam and his aunt and uncle were in a car accident that killed the aunt and uncle. With her dying breath, Adam’s aunt gasped out the words “Adam…steering wheel…” but nothing was ever proved.

On her way out, Belinda spies Adam ruffling through some papers in his dad’s study and laughing evilly. I’m a little bit worried that Adam might actually be retarded.

Belinda goes to meet Hildy at the mall and now she has a new hypotheses – what if the car accident really wasn’t their fault, but the man on the hill was Adam, and he caused the accident and now he’s hunting down the witnesses – eg Belinda, Frank and Hildy. Despite the fact that they didn’t even witness him DO anything. And they clearly believe it’s their fault. Oh well, character motivation never WAS RTC’s strong point.

Belinda lets slip to Hildy that she told Noel all about what they did and Hildy goes nuts and tells Belinda that Frank played all those silly pranks on her such as the doll’s head one and the calendar one and the other ones that I can’t be bothered to write about. Frank is such a dick. Belinda agrees with me on this one, and goes to find Frank at the school’s pool to give him a stern telling off. Frank isn’t there – but his jacket is, floating ominously in the water. Hildy and Belinda have a total bust up, Hildy goes totally below the belt but for some reason Belinda keeps trying to apologise. They are NOT friends anymore.

Noel arrives at Belinda’s house later and drives her round to Hildy’s and Frank’s – neither of them are at home. Some random man shows up at Belinda’s door with an envelope for Belinda that’s he’s been paid to deliver by some guy. Inside the envelope is a braid of Hildy’s hair.

Belinda is now convinced that something terrible has happened to both Hildy and Frank, so Noel drives her round to his creepy house to calm her down. Cobbs isn’t in, he’s left a note to say that Mr Thorne has taken a turn for the worse so he’s gone to the hospital to be with him. Noel gets a call from Adam to say he is also at the hospital. Noel decides that he should go too, so off he pops, leaving Belinda all alone in the house….or IS she?!

Belinda does a bit of snooping and finds Mr Thorne’s last will and testament. She comes to the terrible conclusion that Adam has lured Noel away from the house to kill him, so that he will be the sole beneficiary of the will.

The phone rings and Belinda answers. It’s Cobbs – Noel isn’t at the hospital. And neither is Adam. Aaargh! Belinda hears someone moving around in the house - and out pops Adam, looking all scarred and inhuman and gross. She jumps back and somehow lands into Noel’s arms (I guess Noel has also arrived back home)

Adam suddenly stops limping and Noel reveals that he’s in on it too – Noel was the man watching from the hill! Noel and Adam force Belinda into a car with them, and in true villain style, they spill all. Adam explains that the car accident was all Noel’s idea as a way of killing their parents and getting the cash. Noel had worked it all out, exactly where to crash so Adam would be safe but the others would die (sounds like kind of a shonky plan to me), and then Belinda and her friends rocked up in a car tootling away and threw everything of balance. Meaning that Adam had to crash the car in the wrong spot and he got all injured and his stepmom survived and he’s totally pissed about it.

They take Belinda to a road with a gorge and they shove her into another car, containing Hildy and an unconscious Frank. Adam is going to push the car over the edge of the gorge to make it look like an accident. They also reveal that they’ve already killed Mrs Thorne, and she’s waiting for them at the bottom of the gorge. As the car starts rolling towards the gorge, Adam suddenly turns the gun on Noel and for some reason Belinda cares enough about this scumbag to be like, noooooo! And Noel and Adam start tussling, and then suddenly the police arrive with Cobbs and pull Belinda and her friends to safety. Hurrah!

Cobbs had suspected Noel and Adam were up to something, and then he sneakily listened in on some call and figured it all out or something? He drove to the Thorne house, saw Adam and Noel shoving Belinda into a car and rang the police straightaway “on the car telephone.” Heehee, good old car telephones.

Three days later, Hildy, Frank and Belinda are all A-OK. Hildy finally apologises to Belinda for her shitty behavoiour. Noel and Adam are “going through tests to see if they’re competent to stand trial” Which I guess is a nod to Adam’s possible retardation.

Cobbs arrives to speak to Belinda’s mom. Ok, this bit is fucking RIDICULOUS,. Cobbs barges in acting all British and cute and making tea for everyone and basically asks to come work as a butler for Belinda and her mom for FREE. Because Mr Thorne has left him a shitload of money in his will so he doesn't need payment. What the FUCK. Who decides they want to be a butler FOR FREE. Belinda sobs all over Cobbs about how much she misses Noel even though the guy is scum and Cobbs is all stroking her hair and she’s like, I love you Cobbs, and he’s like, I love you too, miss. And they make out. Well, OK, maybe not the last bit. But STILL!

"would you like some penis with your tea, miss?"

Conclusion: What the hell does this book actually have to do with April Fools day? Apart from the PROLOGUE, which happens to take place on April Fools day. I guess the publishers were just trying to cash in on that lucrative April Fools day merchandising market.