Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Focusing On Fear Street - The Cheater

WELCOME TO FOCUSING ON FEAR STREET WITH THERESTHEGIRL

Book #17 in the Fear Street series
Published April of 1993
Cover Art by Bill Schmidt
 
 
 
The girl on the cover is our main heroine, Carter Phillips, either receiving or making a call in terror. A menacing young man is looking in through the window, which is either the reason Carter is on the phone or she has yet to notice him. Awesome cover with lots of pale yellow shading.
 
I have this copy but I found a different piece of US cover art that is again simple but not as great as the artwork shown above:
 
 
Now of course I love the artwork on the German publications! They are always bleak and simple in the concept but always so well illustrated:
 
The color scheme of course isn't bleak in color but an overturned chair, scattered papers on the desk and floor...that is creepy enough. Who was sitting in the chair and just why is the studious person no longer at their desk?
 
I also found a Spanish edition with some interesting cover art:
 

Again our heroine on the phone with a shadow not looming outside but within her own house! Is she calling for help or has she just now noticed a stranger bent on doing her harm?
 
Taglines: On the front "Now she has to pay..." and on the back we have "No way out!" These are not very riveting *yawn* but reading the blurb on the back might make me interested in reading it.

The First Line: "The first time Carter Phillips thought about cheating, it was a joke."
 
So it seems that Carter has considered cheating before and no not on her boyfriend Dan Mason...but on anything involving math, her worst subject. She took a Math Achievement test and got a 570 (don't ask me if that's good I don't remember what I got for a score but seeing as Math is not my best subject...I don't think I even got that!) and that didn't sit well with Daddy.
 
Carter's father is a judge and an alumni of Princeton who of course wants his little princess to follow in his footsteps. Did I mention Carter is blonde and quite wealthy as she lives in the richest neighborhood of Shadyside? Her father wants Carter to retake the test and get a higher score while her mother is always running off to all sorts of fundraisers and other rich people activities and I don't think she could care either way. Carter doesn't seem to be as much a snob as people would believe and she even jokes that Dan could take the test for her which he doesn't seem to think she would do. When Dan leaves their date of shakes at the local hangout, Carter is told by a young man that he'll do it.
 .
We now meet Adam Messner, he's from the wrong side of the tracks but a whiz at math. He isn't the All-American type like Dan but with his long black hair he's mysterious and different so Carter takes him up on the offer. He asks for a date in return even though he has a girlfriend named Sheila and it also means Carter has to blow off her already planned date with Danny Boy. The day of the test arrives and everything goes without a hitch so the rich girl goes with the poor boy from Fear Street to some place called the Underground where they dance and then kiss in Adam's beat up Mustang.
 
Well that wasn't so bad! Wait...Adam wants to meet her at the country club to play tennis tomorrow? What for another date? Oh no what has Carter gotten herself into now? Adam does indeed show up and he also shows up one of the preppy, snobby guys which impresses Carter but she still has to explain to her friend Jill why someone like Adam got in their ritzy country club anyway.
 
So of course Adam wants more dates and Carter is also threatened by Sheila (remember Adam's girlfriend?) to stay away from her man or she will put Little Miss Rich Girl in her place. Carter handles herself pretty well until Adam gets a little too handsy and then things just go from bad to worse...the real Adam starts to surface and he isn't as nice as he seems. Soon a car starts following Carter around town with the intent to mow her down and she even finds a heart in her tennis bag! (That is so gross! It's not a human heart thank God but whatever animal had to be sacrificed for that...I don't wanna know!)
 
The straw that really breaks Carter's back is when she has to have Jill accompany her on a date with Adam and his buddy Ray and they take them to some dive bar. It's not the bar itself but when all of the guys get a little too rough with the girls where Jill is in hysterics and Adam doesn't even have any intention of helping...what a creepo! Carter and Jill make it out okay but the next day Adam has the gall to now just outright blackmail Carter for money or he'll tell her daddy what they did. In desperation, Carter has to pawn of her jewelry and even though I'm sure she has plenty to spare but when she has to pawn of the earrings her father gave her for "passing" the test a second time with a 730 is what is really sad.
 
 He was genuinely proud of her and even though I wish I could spend $3,000 on a pair of diamond earrings (not my speculation it's what Carter believes) it really is heartbreaking to part with a gift of a father's love just to pay some loser off. Being pushed to the edge, Carter is even beginning to have thoughts about just killing Adam to get him out of the way and when the police show up to her house one night to tell her that he has been shot dead...will Carter really finally have no way out and have to pay for something she didn't do?
 
I wouldn't say The Cheater is one of my favorite Fear Street books but it is a good read with some nice twists along the way but nothing too shocking. It has of course one of those cheesy endings about learning lessons but the characters aren't too obnoxious so you don't roll your eyes out of meanness.

Body Count: Of course I let it slip that Adam Messner bites the dust but does anyone else? In a word no unless you count whatever animal had to lose its heart to squick out Carter. As the words "warm" and "sticky" come to mind I'm guessing it wasn't from a butcher shop...*shivers in disgust*

Cameo Time!: No cameos this time around as the plot basically goes around a main and central cast of characters.
 

THE SHADYSIDE HIGH TIME CAPSULE
 
So it is mentioned that one of Carter and Adam's "dates" is going to see some horror movie that is more silly than scary with less than stellar effects. Now two movies come to mind and I guess it depends on your taste which one you think it would be. Either way it's still giving me the impression that the movie theater in Shadyside plays movies months after their original wide release. It's not that far fetched as I have been to theaters like that in very small towns and budget theaters where you get charged more for the concession than the tickets. Anyway it's a toss up between Leprechaun or Army of Darkness but I'm going more toward Leprechaun than AOD because well I love The Evil Dead series and have never seen the latter film except for a few clips when people talk about horror films but with the more absurdity of the sequels that's the winner.
 
 
 
 
 
Now if they had went to something released more around April, even though it wasn't a romantic date, there are a few choices I personally I would have rather seen (besides Army of Darkness that is).
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dan rents a few movies to watch over at Carter's house for one of their actual romantic dates seeing as they really are a couple. The choices are Batman Returns and Wayne's World which Carter picks the latter as she really isn't in the mood for comedy with the situation she happens to be going through. I like Wayne's World but I would have gone with her choice regardless...Batman Returns never gets enough love.
 
 
 
 
I'm not really sure what kind of club Adam and Carter went to for dancing but Adam's vibe kind of makes me think he was more of a rock kind of guy you know like Aerosmith or Def Leppard. Maybe a Cranberries fan...or something like Lenny Kravitz or Radiohead? Looking for something a little more upbeat then how about some Spin Doctors?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I don't even want to think that any club they went to would have played the number on song around this time:
 
 
 
 
NEXT TIME, NEXT BLOG: Summer may be over but that won't stop me from or protect you from a deadly case of...Sunburn.


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