Sweet Valley High Super Thriller #9: A Stranger in the House

ST07-OuterThe Moral of the Story: If you send criminals to jail, they’ll come back to kill your family.

The Big Deal: Summer vacation

Synopsis:

So, this book has a prologue, which is weird. A man named John Marin sits in a prison cell staring at the newspaper clippings he’s gathered over the last few months. Each one contains something about the Wakefield twins. They sure are in the paper a lot. Anyway…

It’s the first day of summer vacation again, and this time the twins are for once NOT going to work at a newspaper. They’ve taken jobs as waitresses at the Marina Café. Alice will be spending the summer working on a new job at a mansion that’s being remodeled, Steve will be working at Ned’s law firm and Ned will be fretting about the twins because John Marin just got out of jail. Marin, who is now twenty-eight but still looks like he’s twenty, killed a mother and daughter ten years ago and Ned was the attorney that put him away. Marin didn’t like that much and threatened Ned’s family and now here we are.

The twins’ boss, Mr. Jenkins, can’t tell them apart. Rather, he obviously can since he’s pretty consistent in calling Liz Jess and Jess Liz. Whatever, I don’t even care. Liz is awed by another waitress, Jane, who’s on her fourth summer at the Marina Café. Jane tells Liz she just graduated from college and Liz just can’t believe it because Jane doesn’t look twenty-two. Jane laughs and confirms that she’s really twenty-six. Oh, shut up. Jessica flirts with a customer named Scott Maderlake who looks about twenty and has blue eyes. He says he’s an intern scouting out locations for his boss’s next film, which will take place at a high school. Of course, Jessica offers to show him Sweet Valley High. He’s like Jessica’s dream man. When Ned gets home from work that night, he finds that John Marin has broken into the house and left him a threatening note.

This book sucks already.

Liz is tired of her boring life (again) and wants to do something adventurous (again). After she and Todd see some movie for the fourth time, they go to the Dairi Burger, where Liz looks across the room and sees her soulmate, some guy who looks about twenty with blue eyes. She doesn’t speak to him or anything, but she knows he was meant for her. He shows up at the café the next day, sailing up on his boat, The Emily Dickinson. Both twins notice a creepy old man watching them all day, and Liz actually runs into him in the storage room. She runs out and straight into the arms of soulmate guy. His name is actually Ben Morgan and he seems like Liz’s dream man. Neither twin wants to tell the other about her new boyfriend.

After showing Scott the high school and then having dinner with him, Jessica goes home and discovers her lavaliere is missing. Ned later finds the lavaliere, along with a note that says “Such a lovely young neck,” in an envelope with his name on it. He calls the private investigator he’s had watching the twins. His name is Jim Battaglia and he tells Ned that Jessica has been seeing a guy, but he doesn’t look anything like the mug shot Jim received (Marin intercepted the real mug shot and replaced it with someone else’s). Jim offers to investigate the boyfriend, but Ned says not to bother since he’s “no different from the other hundred or so that she’s been out with in the last year.”

The days go by and nothing much happens. Jessica secretly goes out with Scott, Liz secretly goes out with Ben, Marin sends Ned threatening notes, Ned freaks out. The twins are being followed and watched by at least two men, one having been hired by Marin and one by Ned’s P.I. We’re not supposed to know which is which. Then one day Jim calls and tells Ned that Marin’s been taken into custody. He had a lavaliere on him. Yeah, right. You know it’s the wrong guy.

The twins are locking up the café the next night. Jessica sees a man with a knife in the storage room. She screams and the guy runs away. They call the police and then go down to the station. The cops have them pick the guy out of a lineup, but the guy they pick is “Marin,” who’s been in jail since the night before. The cops finally figure out the guy they have isn’t Marin, but some guy named Pilchard. Marin hired him to watch the twins and gave him Jessica’s necklace as part of his payment. Ned, intending to demand how the mugshot got mixed up, drives to Jim’s house and finds the P.I. dead. There’s a note from Marin next to the body.

On the way home from the police station, Liz tells Jessica about Ben and asks her to cover for her while she goes sailing with him. Later that night, Jessica is confronted by Ned and a couple cops. They tell her about Marin and show her Marin’s picture and she’s all, “Don’t be silly, that’s my new boyfriend!” It finally sinks in that her new boyfriend is a murderer, but she still insists that Liz’s secret boyfriend is someone different altogether. Jane the waitress is the only one who’s seen Ben, so they find her at the Beach Disco and she confirms that the guy in the mugshot is Ben.

Liz and Marin are about to make out on “Ben’s” boat when a Coast Guard boat carrying Ned, Jessica and some cops shows up. Marin threatens Liz with a knife and there’s a struggle. Liz gets away from him and somehow falls overboard. Jessica seems to be the only one who notices, so she jumps off the Coast Guard boat to rescue her. In the end, Marin manages to escape in a dinghy and later the cops find evidence that he’s been eaten by sharks. But of course he wasn’t. He’s hiding in the Wakefields’ basement. After the twins go to sleep, Marin goes to their room to kill them, but Ned comes along and knocks him out the window. The cop outside says Marin is going back to jail. Yeah, right. If he was, I wouldn’t have a whole second book to read in this miniseries.

Quotes:

Elizabeth tried to listen, but she found herself focusing on Todd’s neat, conservative haircut, his wholesome good looks, and his mall-store rugby shirt. He was so ordinary…For the first time, Elizabeth realized just how unsophisticated her boyfriend really was.

Ugh, you are such a snob.

Jessica: The money isn’t what’s important!

Lila: Bite your tongue!

Your daily dose of Lila.

The Cover: Awesome floppy nineties hair, John! Love it. The best part of this cover is the clippings on the wall. Most of them are whatever, but you can clearly see the covers of Jessica Quits the Squad and Murder in Paradise. Up at the top you can see Marin in his twin-tailored personalities – the poet sailor with Liz and the movie guy with Jessica.

ST07-Inner

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Comments
  • Sandy October 26, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Wow, this was horribly awesome. I love how this guy just doesn’t die. And you ruined it for me, I didn’t know the guy with the necklace that got locked up wasn’t Marin. I’m sorry but I was too into the synopsis to figure anything out. Damn.
    So no Bruce in this series??? Damn that too.
    Well at least Lila made a cameo.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha ha, sorry! Reading the book, it’s totally obvious it’s the wrong guy because there are still about a seventy-five pages left at that point.

    Nope, no Bruce. Too bad, I was starting to almost like the guy.

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  • Girl talk read October 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    OMG!! The necklace thing with the note reminds me of Fear!! doesn’t Mark Wahlberg’s character do something like that?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    I’m not familiar with that movie so I can’t say.

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  • Merrie October 26, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Wow. Sweet Valley’s law enforcement officers really suck.

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    Shannon Reply:

    I know. When they’re not refusing to help, they’re just being bumbling idiots. No wonder the twins have to solve so many crimes on their own.

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    Shannon Reply:

    Merrie, I just noticed your name has a blog link now!

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    Merrie Reply:

    Yes. I’ve messed around with a few, never kept ’em going. We’ll see how I do with this one. 🙂

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    Darren Reply:

    They need a Cordell Walker bad in that town! I think that’s where Sheriff Roscoe P Coltrane hangs out now, officer of Sweet valley along with Deputy Dipsticks in Cletus and Enos, ha hahahaha! ONe time when I wrote some fictional Sweet valley, I had Boss HOgg as the mayor until Sorrell Booke that played him passed on.

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  • KateC October 26, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    “If you send criminals to jail, they’ll come back to kill your family”

    Well no wonder they don’t ever go to the police when someone’s trying to kidnap/kill them! They’re just afraid that the guy will come back to kill the whole family!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha, it’s all coming out now!

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  • itsfreckles October 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I would have dumped that gut the minute I saw his boat was named the Emily Dickinson. OBVIOUS CREEPER! And I like how everyone is old but ‘looks 20’ or whatever. Also, the shark bit. Classic. I think. I’m sure that happens all the time in Sweet Valley High books. Some guy falls off his boat named the Emily Dickinson, gets eaten by sharks, but ends up in the twin’s basement. I bet the twins are so annoyed by now.

    Thank you for writing this, it is distracting me from a paper I should be writing on Titus Andronicus; instead I am getting laffs about the silliness of Sweet Valley.

    Also (this is very long, sorry), I read an article in Entertainment Weekly by Diablo Cody about making the Sweet Valley movie. Sounds like its going to happen fo sho, and she is a long time fan.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Ha! I’m glad I could distract you.
    I’m glad the Diablo Cody thing is really going to happen. I hope it’s as cool as I think it’s going to be.

    Seriously, the twins think everyone looks 20.

    [Reply]

    Darren Reply:

    Any word on if they’ll put out a chapter 7 of the revamped Sweet valley, or is Elizabeth going to be called ‘Samantha Who’ when she gets out of it? Yeah, I had to go there, ha hahahahaaaa! You can’t just stop a book after 6 chapters. Also, think a Sweet valley High TV series could return? They never finished up on Devon Whitelaw or had the earthquake that destroys Sweet valley.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    LOL, Darren, I’m not sure if you know this, but I don’t work for Francine Pascal or Random House or anyone who is affiliated in any way with the Sweet Valley High franchise. Please stop asking me if there will be a seventh book. I have no idea.

    Here is Random House’s contact page: http://www.randomhouse.com/about/contact.html
    Maybe they can help.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    Hey now! I’m almost 30 and I would like to think I could play a student in high school! lol
    Or I could play a 29 yr old who looks 19…

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Yeah, me too!

    (Sadly, I know there’s no way I can pass for a high school kid anymore. Sad, sad times.)

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  • Fear Street October 26, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    John looks kinda like Billy from “Scream”.

    [Reply]

    Lorelai Reply:

    Yes. He does. A lot. He also kinda looks like the dude who played Todd Wilkins in the SVH TV show, which is, uh, weird.

    [Reply]

  • Darren October 27, 2009 at 12:03 am

    I just ordered it last week, I can’t wait to get it now! Oh man, this could be the precurser to Jason, Freddie, and Michael Myers in one with this guy! Man, Ned really must’ve had the goods on that crook, it’s too bad that they couldn’t call him James Knapp. Ned got him arrested for the electdion, they should’ve used Knapp to ‘get even’ with Ned for what he did and gave the election to Peter Santelli.

    [Reply]

  • Darren October 27, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I’m confused…10 years ago? That would put the twins at 6 years old.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Yes, it would. What are you confused about?

    [Reply]

    Darren Reply:

    What confuses me Shannon is when I read book 66 and Ned Wakefield had to defend Peter Santelli in that bribery case, Ned said he hadn’t taken up this type of law in 15 years…but then Ned puts John Marin in jail 10 years ago. The ghost writers need to seriously get their facts right…you can’t say in one book Ned hadn’t done criminal law in 15 years, but he puts a man in jail 10 years ago. Plus I’m surprised that nobody in the family read of that particular case, it had to have been in the papers.

    [Reply]

    Sandy Reply:

    Wow, Darren, you’re like the human fact checker of Sweet Valley.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Darren, you have to just let these things go, lol. You know continuity is nonexistent in these books!

    [Reply]

  • Darren October 27, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Oh man, the BASTARD that Ned Wakefield can be, hiring a private detective, and his name wasn’t Jim Rockford or Magnum PI, the CHEAPSKATE! WHat aabout Simon and Simon? They’re based in san Diego, he couldn’t hire them to watch his girls?

    [Reply]

  • DarfurHerald October 27, 2009 at 11:02 am

    They replaced Lila with Elizabeth in the mockup of the ‘Murder in Paradise’ cover/Polaroid. (Wow, remember those cameras! I remember wetting my pants–figuratively–to see the picture come out.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Oh, you’re right. They put blond hair on Lila. I didn’t even notice!

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    Lindsay Reply:

    I was JUST about to say that! Yay, countinuality (I enjoy making up words)

    [Reply]

  • Tracy London October 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I’m somewhat interested in what exactly the evidence of someone being eaten by sharks would be? Was it like a forearm, with “I AM MARIN. NO REALLY, I TOTALLY AM” tattooed on it? I don’t get it.

    And something about the phrase “mall-store rugby shirt” made me laugh and laugh. Shut up, Liz.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    LOL! This made me laugh. Excellent question, though. Did they find a satisfied shark with a full belly? I don’t know.

    [Reply]

  • Lindsay October 28, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Well, making out with a psycho IS way more adventurous than getting a temp perm and dabbling in a little surfing.

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    Lindsay Reply:

    Also, I need more Lila-isms in my life

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Who doesn’t? I wish I knew a Lila in real life.

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  • Kristen March 4, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    This book terrified me when I was younger. I watched way too many episodes of Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted, so I was pretty much convinced that somebody was out to get me. This book certainly didn’t help my paranoia!

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  • Krista November 3, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Wait wait wait…so Marin stole the necklace and then sent it to Ned with a threatening note…how did the necklace end up with the Pilchard (or whatever his name was)? Did Marin steal it bacK?

    [Reply]

  • Dane Youssef October 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    “Elizabeth tried to listen, but she found herself focusing on Todd’s neat, conservative haircut, his wholesome good looks, and his mall-store rugby shirt. He was so ordinary…For the first time, Elizabeth realized just how unsophisticated her boyfriend really was.” –FROM THE BOOK

    Boy… she really did deserve what she eventually got in “Confidential.” Hell, she deserved what Jess and Todd were doing together over the entire history span of this series run…

    –Hating Them All, Dane Youssef

    [Reply]

  • Kim December 11, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    “Ned will be fretting about the twins because John Marin just got out of jail. Marin, who is now twenty-eight but still looks like he’s twenty, killed a mother and daughter ten years ago and Ned was the attorney that put him away.”

    Why is he getting out? That’s double murder, he should get life in prison for that.

    “Neither twin wants to tell the other about her new boyfriend.”

    Once again the twins have fallen for the same guy which proves they have the exact same taste in men which explains why they keep falling for the same guys and taking each other’s leftovers in so many other books. You’d think 2 girls who were so different would like different types of guys, but I digress.

    “Jim offers to investigate the boyfriend, but Ned says not to bother since he’s “no different from the other hundred or so that she’s been out with in the last year.””

    A psycho is threatening your daughter’s and you don’t bother to investigate any new guys they start seeing? Great parenting skills there, Ned.

    “Ugh, you are such a snob.”

    Liz is clearly bored with Todd. Personally, I don’t blame her.

    [Reply]

  • Jenna October 24, 2016 at 1:45 am

    This is such a rip off of Cape Fear

    [Reply]

  • Alex Kennedy February 22, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Oh, okay then – in this one Ned is a Criminal Lawyer. Nutty Negligent Ned does not even tell his family tat something is wrong. Would it not even occur for him to say, “Someone might contact you and the family might be in danger. It is a person whom the court had to place in custody. Pass the asparagus, please.”

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