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Trick or Treat

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From the author of The Lifeguard comes the exciting suspense novel about Martha. Not long after Martha moved into the Bedford house, the phone calls began: Trick or treat, Martha. You're dead. Elizabeth Bedford had been murdered one year earlier, on Halloween night, in the very same room. The murderer was never found, and now the killer is back--for Martha.


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From the author of The Lifeguard comes the exciting suspense novel about Martha. Not long after Martha moved into the Bedford house, the phone calls began: Trick or treat, Martha. You're dead. Elizabeth Bedford had been murdered one year earlier, on Halloween night, in the very same room. The murderer was never found, and now the killer is back--for Martha.

30 review for Trick or Treat

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Martha's Dad has just remarried, and his new wife, Sally, has found a perfect house for them to move into. When Martha and her Dad arrive at the house, which is isolated in the woods, Martha really hates the house. It's dark and creepy with shadows in the corners, her bedroom is abnormally cold, and she feels as if she's being watched. Also living in the house is Sally's son, (Martha's stepbrother) Conor, who is a year older than sixteen-year-old Martha. After Martha makes some friends at school Martha's Dad has just remarried, and his new wife, Sally, has found a perfect house for them to move into. When Martha and her Dad arrive at the house, which is isolated in the woods, Martha really hates the house. It's dark and creepy with shadows in the corners, her bedroom is abnormally cold, and she feels as if she's being watched. Also living in the house is Sally's son, (Martha's stepbrother) Conor, who is a year older than sixteen-year-old Martha. After Martha makes some friends at school she finds out that her new home (the old Bedford house) is supposedly haunted. A young girl was murdered there a year ago on Halloween---in her bedroom! The worst part is Martha bears a resemblance to the dead girl. And she's starting to receive threatening phone calls. One night, a scarecrow is found hanging outside her bedroom window with a knife in its head. Then her Dad gets a phone call and he has to go work on an assignment in Hawaii, and goes with wife Sally, leaving Martha alone with Conor in the creepy house. This was an enjoyable read, it started and ended well, even though the middle was a bit slow. It had a dark, spooky house, a cemetery/mausoleum out back (in the woods), whispers and cries in the night, and surprisingly, a little/slight romance. There wasn't much Halloween in the book, except for the last couple chapters. This was an okay young-adult suspense story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I read this when I was a teenager and just reread it. I didn't remember anything about the story, but I did remember the cover well... used to love that picture of the old house! So spooky-looking! FYI, I pretty much give 5 stars to all my old favorties from back in the day, b/c I remember how much I loved them at the time. Rereading this one today, at 33 years old, it wasn't nearly as exciting or "scary" as it was when I was a teenager, but it was still a fun and good read. Happy Halloween! :D

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Martha moves into a new house, the old Bedford house, together with her new step mother and her step brother. The house was the scene of murder and seems to be evil. Now Martha receives mysterious calls and she feels quite frightened in her new home. The murderer from back then, Dennis, is missing. Martha resembles the victim, Elizabeth. It's a youth orientated story, girls romanticizing certain boys, highschool surrounding, well and then there's Halloween just round the corner. The killer wants Martha moves into a new house, the old Bedford house, together with her new step mother and her step brother. The house was the scene of murder and seems to be evil. Now Martha receives mysterious calls and she feels quite frightened in her new home. The murderer from back then, Dennis, is missing. Martha resembles the victim, Elizabeth. It's a youth orientated story, girls romanticizing certain boys, highschool surrounding, well and then there's Halloween just round the corner. The killer wants to strike at Halloween and see Martha dead. Who is he? Overall professionally and well written, okay a bit tedious in the middle of the book, but to my taste a bit too youth orientated. It was like watching one of those teen horror movies. I'm a bit through with that genre. If you don't mind 'Trick or Treat' is certainly worth a second look as there definitely are some eerie moments and stunning twists.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    This Point Horror has a great set up, but with the main protagonist Martha being really annoying. I also the second of the novel not really paying off, this seemed like a miss hit by Cusick. With her father remarrying Martha moves into the Bedford house with him. She soon learns of the houses informs history as the previous Halloween a young girl was murdered in Martha’s bedroom. I absolutely loved the location, I could get a real sense of Martha’s isolation. It was just a This Point Horror has a great set up, but with the main protagonist Martha being really annoying. I also the second of the novel not really paying off, this seemed like a miss hit by Cusick. With her father remarrying Martha moves into the Bedford house with him. She soon learns of the houses informs history as the previous Halloween a young girl was murdered in Martha’s bedroom. I absolutely loved the location, I could get a real sense of Martha’s isolation. It was just a shame that she was really irritating. Not one of Cusick’s best, but it was nice to revisit this again.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Peter Monn

    It was a fun Halloween book but not a great read. You have to go into it knowing it’s probably not going to be that great. My full review will be on my booktube channel at http://Youtube.com/peterlikesbooks

  6. 4 out of 5

    Obsidian

    Wow. Not too much to say except for the most part this was enjoyable. The book drags at times and the character development beyond a few people wasn't really there, but this was a good representation of young adult horror books from the late 80s/90s. So "Trick or Treat" follows 16 year old Martha. Martha's father has recently got married and is now moving him and Martha to move in with his new wife and his stepson in the town of Bedford. Martha hates the scary old house that they move Wow. Not too much to say except for the most part this was enjoyable. The book drags at times and the character development beyond a few people wasn't really there, but this was a good representation of young adult horror books from the late 80s/90s. So "Trick or Treat" follows 16 year old Martha. Martha's father has recently got married and is now moving him and Martha to move in with his new wife and his stepson in the town of Bedford. Martha hates the scary old house that they move into, and when she finds out that almost a year ago (Halloween day to be exact) a young girl was murdered in her bedroom, she's ready to move back to Chicago. A voice keeps calling Martha and saying "Trick or Treat' and telling her she's going to die. So Martha at times I thought was bratty. I get it though. Her father got married without even telling her and moved her and him from Chicago to a small town in the middle of nowhere. The house is a mess, her stepmother can't cook, and her father then rushes off to Hawaii for an assignment and dumps the kids alone. I did laugh a few times how often it's mentioned the parents haven't called. I know this book was written in 1989, but seriously though, I can't imagine my parents taking a weeks long trip and not calling the house once. Martha is kind of hysterical though and tries to do some amateur sleuthing with her new stepbrother Conor when things keep happening in their home. Conor is kind of annoying I thought, and at times it seems as if Cusick was implying that Martha had a crush on him and vice versa. Probably because Martha keeps calling Conor her stepbrother and correcting anyone that called him her brother. Martha makes friends with the Chambers family which consists of Blake, Wynn, and Greg. Greg is a teacher at Bedford and hangs out way too much with his teen cousins, Blake and Wynn. So outside of these three people, Martha and Conor don't interact with anyone else in the town. I got a creepy vibe from Blake and from Greg too. Who hangs out with teens and tells one of them how pretty they are? The parents are barely developed beyond being selfish and we hear third hand accounts about the girl who was murdered and her ex-boyfriend who stands accused of killing her who disappeared. I thought the writing was a bit disjointed in parts and the flow needed to be a bit cleaned up. That said, this is a different type of book and I rated it based on that. Young me who read this at the age of 9 (the age this was published) would probably have been scared to death the whole time and had nightmares for weeks. The setting of Bedford was definitely creepy and hearing about the backstory of the Bedford family and the young girl who was murdered really set the mood for the book. I wish that Cusick had given us more details on Bedford. I am still puzzled if this is in the mid-west or not. I also wanted to know more about other people in the town adults, kids, etc. There was bare bones with regards to developing this past enough to keep readers engaged with Martha's story. The ending was a surprise to me though and kind of gruesome. I think it definitely echoes the types of YA horror that was coming out that time though.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This is a milestone for me. My first YA Point Horror read ever! I have a few more Point Horror’s and other YA horror books to read and I am definitely looking forward to reading them. I am in my 40’s so not really the intended audience for this story and I read the book within this context. It is YA. I am middle aged. So why read these books? Well, for a start they have fantastic covers. I find these books during my book hunting and they leap out at me. Finding old horror b This is a milestone for me. My first YA Point Horror read ever! I have a few more Point Horror’s and other YA horror books to read and I am definitely looking forward to reading them. I am in my 40’s so not really the intended audience for this story and I read the book within this context. It is YA. I am middle aged. So why read these books? Well, for a start they have fantastic covers. I find these books during my book hunting and they leap out at me. Finding old horror books is rare so I will grab these off the shelf. They are people’s favourite books of their youth and opened up the world of horror to them. I am curious to read these YA books which I did not experience as a YA. After reading this book the biggest reason for doing so is this. Time Travel. When reading this book I felt like I was travelling through time to my YA youth. It took me back to my younger self. I can just imagine my YA self interacting with the characters. Martha’s dad has just remarried to Sally who has a son, Connor. He is around Martha’s age but they are not the best of friends. The new family move into a isolated house which is in the middle of the woods, has a cemetery out back and has a recent nasty incident haunting it which the local community know about. It is also a few days from Halloween. Martha receives threatening phone calls, finds a scarecrow hanging outside her bedroom and is being stalked. A creepy, spooky, haunted mystery which reminded me of the Halloween movie. Who is this Michael Myers type of killer? A great YA read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Richard Cardenas

    I wish they still made audiobooks like this! it felt like was listening to a movie. I listened to "Trick or Treat" on YouTube(link here: http://www.youtube.com/user/WrappedIn...) and I was enthralled. I have never listened to an audiobook where nearly 9 different voice actors are included and sound effects such as rain, music, bells, and birds were used. If you love YA Horror, you need to grab a pair of headphones and listen to Trick or Treat now. Richie is a wonderful writer and the actors, though a little cheesy, were believable and I wish they still made audiobooks like this! it felt like was listening to a movie. I listened to "Trick or Treat" on YouTube(link here: http://www.youtube.com/user/WrappedIn...) and I was enthralled. I have never listened to an audiobook where nearly 9 different voice actors are included and sound effects such as rain, music, bells, and birds were used. If you love YA Horror, you need to grab a pair of headphones and listen to Trick or Treat now. Richie is a wonderful writer and the actors, though a little cheesy, were believable and kept me wanting to carry on with the story. One thing you have to remember going to these "The Point Horror Tapes" is that they were recorded in the 90's. But I still enjoyed this one. I will be listening to more since there are about five more on that youtube page. I love 90's YA horror, I wish authors still came out with stuff like this, some do, but it's rare. I loved the suspense in this book and the ending was awesome. -R.D.

  9. 5 out of 5

    { U n s o l v e d M y s t e r y }

    In my opinion, this was not Mrs. Cusick's best novel. I did enjoy the descriptions of the weather. I'm a huge fan of meteorology. Weather descriptions (especially Fall and Winter) in books really set the mood and place me there. I'll post more later.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Raimondo

    I can't believe that finale. I was positive that I've pegged the actual perp since around the halfway mark, but I shouldn't have been so cocksure. This book ran scarlet, not with blood but with all the red herrings the author built like an impenetrable brick wall. It straddles a fine line between being ingenious and unsporting, but in the end it's all good. Cusick can certainly create a menacing atmosphere, and the deadpan irony of her wittier characters can be hilarious. While I enjo I can't believe that finale. I was positive that I've pegged the actual perp since around the halfway mark, but I shouldn't have been so cocksure. This book ran scarlet, not with blood but with all the red herrings the author built like an impenetrable brick wall. It straddles a fine line between being ingenious and unsporting, but in the end it's all good. Cusick can certainly create a menacing atmosphere, and the deadpan irony of her wittier characters can be hilarious. While I enjoyed this book, compared to her other works the quality seems to have flagged a little. I'm rating it 6.5/10 or 3 stars out of 5.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Georgia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First of my Point Horror re-read. This book is ludicrous. I loved it. However, I can't possibly give it 5 stars because my loving something doesn't necessarily mean it is good. I love Take Me Out, I'm partial to a KFC and the last song I downloaded was Will2k. Recap of the story - Martha and Conor are step siblings thrown together after their parents whirlwind romance; they've been moved out from Chicago to the town of Bedford and a ramshackled roaming house with "potential". They go First of my Point Horror re-read. This book is ludicrous. I loved it. However, I can't possibly give it 5 stars because my loving something doesn't necessarily mean it is good. I love Take Me Out, I'm partial to a KFC and the last song I downloaded was Will2k. Recap of the story - Martha and Conor are step siblings thrown together after their parents whirlwind romance; they've been moved out from Chicago to the town of Bedford and a ramshackled roaming house with "potential". They go to school, meet Blake and Wynn, Martha inevitably starts dating Blake, their parents disappear for weeks on end to Hawaii and then Martha begins to get the heebie jeebies about the house. Turns out, Elizabeth, Blake's former girlfriend and Wynn's BFF, was murdered IN HER ROOM (OMG WTF ARGH!!!). Wynn found her and apparently has amnesia about the whole thing. So... Problems. The Parents. I'm not sure it is even legal to leave your 16 year old for that length of time, especially in the care of a sibling who isn't even of age yet. Obviously, the parents needed to be gotten rid of in the story early on. But still... It was very premature and frankly hilarious. They didn't even call! They are the worst. Is it a murder story or a ghost story? Conor is drawn by an irresistible force to the mausoleum. The room is ice cold. There is fog everywhere. Then it turns out it's just a girl who is pissed off because her friend gets all the guys. Wynn... SO MANY CLUES. I've read reviews of this where adults have re-read and said they didn't guess. That's ridiculous. You're even told how she is exceptionally tall FOR A GIRL on at least three occasions to suggest the idea that she is physically capable of filling the window. She's clearly batshit. Her story doesn't fit with anyone else's version of events. And finally, she found the body and then FORGOT. It was only 11 months prior to the story, and yet no one thought to send her to a psychologist? The action parts are very fast. I feel ridiculous admitting this but I had to re-read them as I found myself going, "hang on, where are they now?" There are lots of problems with this story but I love it. I wish it was a daytime movie. I wish it had been made in the 90s and starred Charisma Carpenter.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Here's the honest truth. My teenage self would have ravenously read this book, only to pick it up again a few weeks later and read it again. Why? Trick or Treat utilizes all of the classic (and slightly cliche) horror aspects that keep you turning pages at a manic pace. Creepy house? Check. Hot guy who takes the girl's attention? Yup! Add in a haunting back story to the house, a well situated honeymoon, and you've got yourself quite the set up for a good horror story. I ate up books like this ba Here's the honest truth. My teenage self would have ravenously read this book, only to pick it up again a few weeks later and read it again. Why? Trick or Treat utilizes all of the classic (and slightly cliche) horror aspects that keep you turning pages at a manic pace. Creepy house? Check. Hot guy who takes the girl's attention? Yup! Add in a haunting back story to the house, a well situated honeymoon, and you've got yourself quite the set up for a good horror story. I ate up books like this back then, and I still do now even if it's at a slower pace. I liked Martha for the most part. She fits the bill of a horror story protagonist perfectly. A little whiny, a little uncomfortable in her own skin, and afraid to share how she feels with others. However what impressed me most about her character was how much I really felt like I knew her. Without even realizing it, I had been introduced to Martha's character so deeply that I knew what she would do next. Cuisck pulls you in close. She lets you see everything that's happening and, if you're like me, you'll find yourself screaming "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?" at the book pages. The setting too, is perfectly done. As I mentioned, you've got the haunted house! Martha's new hometown has that small town vibe. Everyone knows everything about everyone else. It's hard to hide a secret. Or is it? It's this setting that really helps make the story come alive. As I read I actually felt immersed in the book. It sucks you in and even if you know what's coming next, you'll keep reading. It's like waiting for something to spring from the shadows. You know it's coming, but you have to see it for yourself. Sure I figured out the plot twist about 40 pages in. Yes, I realized that this was following the road of most teen centered horror movies. Keep in mind that this book was originally written when all of that was new, fresh, and expected. Plus there's something to be said for that classic plot line. We know it, we love it. Especially when it's done well. By the time I got to the end I was reading like a mad man. Cusick knows how to take what's been done hundreds of times, and do it well enough to give you the shivers. Don't read this before bed.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Perfectly creepy, perfect for Halloween! Short and sweet, totally unexpected ending. I love Point Horror books from back in the 80s. Great read!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Book three of the Horrorthon 2019 Enjoyable, read like a 90s teenager horror movie. I guessed the killer early on, and I was convinced I was correct, until the end when I was wrong. It's a good solid 3 star book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    SAM

    Definitely remember reading this in the mid-nineties!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Chaney

    Earlier this week, Alex from Hey Little Thrifter posted a video announcing a Halloween Point Horror readalong, featuring Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick, and Halloween Night 1 & 2 by R. L. Stine. I didn't think I'd be able to participate in the readalong since my schedule gets pretty full this time of year, but I saw that Trick or Treat was available as a full-cast audiobook on YouTube. I was able to listen to it at my job while I worked in the office. The audiobook, complete with music and sound e Earlier this week, Alex from Hey Little Thrifter posted a video announcing a Halloween Point Horror readalong, featuring Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick, and Halloween Night 1 & 2 by R. L. Stine. I didn't think I'd be able to participate in the readalong since my schedule gets pretty full this time of year, but I saw that Trick or Treat was available as a full-cast audiobook on YouTube. I was able to listen to it at my job while I worked in the office. The audiobook, complete with music and sound effects, was produced in the early '90s. It is a nostalgic flashback that I totally would have checked out from the library as a kid. I enjoyed the whole production very much, cheesy voice acting and all. The story itself is standard Point Horror fare, with most of the same old twists and turns, but that's the charm of this series. They are quick, trashy, cozy reads that always feel familiar and welcoming. I wish this one would have been a little more Halloweeny, but it was still a breezy, autumnal story. I especially recommend checking out the audiobook, as well as the other audiobooks in the series. All are available on YouTube, complete and free of charge.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    For what it was this book was pretty good, although it was written in an odd style considering it's for high schoolers and college-aged kids.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Abbie

    I didn't find this creepy or interesting at all, so the story dragged for me unfortunately. Overall, Not an enjoyable read for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Janie Johnson

    This was a great choice for a Halloween read! It had mystery, creepiness, and horror all wrapped up into a great treat! (pun intended). I love this authors style of writing. She gets me every time I pick up one of her books. She gets you to believe one way and then something totally different comes about. I get sucked in so fast that it is hard to turn away from the book, and it is hard to enter this realm of creepiness at the same time. She brings her readers slowly and steadily to the climax o This was a great choice for a Halloween read! It had mystery, creepiness, and horror all wrapped up into a great treat! (pun intended). I love this authors style of writing. She gets me every time I pick up one of her books. She gets you to believe one way and then something totally different comes about. I get sucked in so fast that it is hard to turn away from the book, and it is hard to enter this realm of creepiness at the same time. She brings her readers slowly and steadily to the climax of the story. Leading us a long winding path into horror. I love it most because you can feel your heart starting to thud hard in your chest, your breathing coming faster, you become apprehensive as you feel the impending doom unfolding before your eyes. You want to yell at the characters and telling them "Be careful..." When you experience these things you know you are reading a great tale of terror. The characters are great in this story. At first I was pretty unsure of some of the characters. I was sure I had the story nailed only to find out I was wrong on just about every count. And the Author kept the story moving for me beautifully. Martha, our main character was pretty much my favorite and was a pretty good character. She could get a bit whiny some times, but now that I think about it, she really had reason to be. I don't want to say too much about them and ruin anything so I will stop there. MUHAHAHA.... I won't say anything else other than I am glad I chose this to start off the "Spook Season". it was a great choice. If you want that somewhat creeped out, looking over your shoulder feeling, then this is a great book to get that with. She knows how to make her readers expect the worse that can happen, does it happen? The worse that is? Maybe you should read it and find out. Trick or Treat....

  20. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is another of those books I've read millions of times (not literally millions...) and sometimes revisit even nowadays as an adult. It's definitely one of my favourites, and it has one of the hottest guy characters of all time (he definitely rivals Neale from THE LIFEGUARD. hehe). Anyone noticing an ongoing theme with my reviews of these Point books? Yeah, it's all about the man meat. But NO, that's not true. There's more to the books than just the boys! I actually think this book This is another of those books I've read millions of times (not literally millions...) and sometimes revisit even nowadays as an adult. It's definitely one of my favourites, and it has one of the hottest guy characters of all time (he definitely rivals Neale from THE LIFEGUARD. hehe). Anyone noticing an ongoing theme with my reviews of these Point books? Yeah, it's all about the man meat. But NO, that's not true. There's more to the books than just the boys! I actually think this book has one of the absolute creepiest scariest "evil dudes" of the entire Point collection. Wynn is completely freaky and INSANE, and the fact that she's got this altar in the old mausoleum for the guy she loves, whose remains are still there, and who she murdered (along with her supposed best friend), wins her huge points for creepiest villain. I'm not entirely sure if Wynn was meant to have split personalities or not, 'cause she was REALLY convincing as a "good guy". I think split personalities makes the most sense. But there was no outright stating of that being the case. But back to the hot guy! Conor...oh yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about. I guess it goes to show I've got a thing for sarcastic, 'aloof', teasing types. That can't be healthy, surely?! The aloof part, at least. But Conor turns out to be not so aloof in the end. Conor is Martha's STEP-brother, so not related by blood, but still, there's no way they would've got away with a romance between those two. Still, I felt sorry for Martha, winding up with too-perfect Blake instead of Conor. :D Oh, and this book really surprised me this round 'cause in one of the bits of dialogue, Blake actually said the word "bullshit". I didn't realise any Point books got away with that back in the day. ;)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liliana

    Reviewed on Lili Lost in a Book Martha's life changes drastically when she, her father, her father's new wife, and her new stepbrother (Connor) move to a new house in a new town. Martha barely knows her new family, she's new in town, and weird things keep happening in the new house...could it possibly be haunted? It's very probable. You see, Martha soon learns that there was a murder in that house not that long ago. Then someone starts pranking Martha, just like they did Elizabeth, the girl Reviewed on Lili Lost in a Book Martha's life changes drastically when she, her father, her father's new wife, and her new stepbrother (Connor) move to a new house in a new town. Martha barely knows her new family, she's new in town, and weird things keep happening in the new house...could it possibly be haunted? It's very probable. You see, Martha soon learns that there was a murder in that house not that long ago. Then someone starts pranking Martha, just like they did Elizabeth, the girl who was murdered in the house. Martha must figure out who is responsible for these pranks before they kill Martha too. I love horror novels and mysteries, and I have to say, this was an awesome mystery! I kept trying to guess who was pranking Martha and who killed Elizabeth...but I was wrong every time! The person responsible for this and they're motives...I did NOT see coming! I LOVE being surprised! :D I thought the book had a great plot, and great characters. I really liked Connor...he was all mysterious and gorgeous...totally swoon-worthy! Yeah, I know he's Martha's stepbrother, but that doesn't mean that I can't swoon over him ;) Anyway, I love these kinds of books: thrilling, mysterious, and suspenseful...remind me of the good old days when I read the Fear Street books by R.L. Stine...good times. Actually, I think Mr. Stine wrote some books for this Point Horror series! This novel was very short, yet very entertaining! I'd definitely recommend to anyone who loves a good mystery and thriller!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Been a while since I tackled a YA Horror book, and I've heard good things about Ms. Cusick, so when I saw Trick or Treat on the shelf of my local secondhand bookstore, I didn't think twice about picking it up. I don't regret doing so in the slightest, and she's absolutely going on my list of "YA Horror Writers to Watch For". Trick or Treat is delightful. You know...for a book where bad things happen to nice teenagers, I mean. Martha Stevenson's world has flipped completely upside down. Her newl Been a while since I tackled a YA Horror book, and I've heard good things about Ms. Cusick, so when I saw Trick or Treat on the shelf of my local secondhand bookstore, I didn't think twice about picking it up. I don't regret doing so in the slightest, and she's absolutely going on my list of "YA Horror Writers to Watch For". Trick or Treat is delightful. You know...for a book where bad things happen to nice teenagers, I mean. Martha Stevenson's world has flipped completely upside down. Her newly-remarried father has pulled her out of school right at the start of her junior year, uprooting her from their home in Chicago to live in a dilapidated old house on the outskirts of a small Midwestern town. She has a brand new step-mother in Sally, who seems normal enough, and a brand new older step-brother in Conor, who seems remarkably laid back about the whole thing. Moving into a spooky, run-down mansion in the middle of nowhere isn't easy at the best of times, but doing so right before Halloween isn't making things easier. What's worse, things are happening in and around the house. Things Martha can't explain. Things the rest of the family write off as bad case of nerves, nightmares, and typical October shenanigans. The prank phone calls and altered decorations might be nothing out of the ordinary, but Martha's seeing shadows, convinced someone's visiting her room in the middle of the night, and having trouble sleeping. It doesn't take long for the local high school kids to sour the mood even more: only a year ago, one of the house's previous occupants was found murdered by her friends. Elizabeth was young, pretty, and blonde, just like Martha. The prime suspect in her killing is missing, presumed dead, but his body was never found. Conor doesn't seem concerned, but then again, he's not the one getting the strange phone calls threatening his life. As Halloween inches closer, the anniversary of Elizabeth's murder draws near too. Someone seems intent on making this year just as memorable to Martha...for all the wrong reasons. Does a killer who escaped justice prowl the grounds of Martha's new house, is there a ghost on the loose making trouble for an already-troubled teen, or is it just an end of October prank being taken too seriously? Martha would really like to know before she, like Elizabeth, winds up on the wrong side of somebody's knife. This is my first encounter with Richie Cusick, and I'm thrilled with what I saw. Trick or Treat is 209 pages of slowly-building tension that blows up into a finale I expected but still did not see coming (if that makes any sense). Cusick's writing is different from other YA Horror scribes like R.L. Stine in that she's clearly not stabbing words out at a breakneck pace from behind her typewriter, or if she is, it's not immediately obvious. Stine's approach to teen horror is spartan and direct: things happen, people react, and more things happen. It's fast reading for people with short attention spans, and he's got it down to an art form. Cusick, on the other hand, isn't afraid to build tensions to a boil more slowly. Her characters in Trick or Treat have plenty of down-time where things aren't happening to ruminate on the mystery at hand, talk to friends, and get more parts of the story as more people open up. The action on the page is almost secondary to the time she takes to make you feel like a third-party observer, and while this is an approach that can backfire when dealing with teens, as an adult reader I found this refreshing. One of the things I loved about this story is that, just like real life, none of the characters knows exactly what happened surrounding Elizabeth's death, but each one of them paints a slightly different picture of what might have been. Elizabeth's best friend Wynn was the one who stumbled upon Elizabeth's body, but she's suffered a complete mental block when it comes to the memory of it all. She's positive Dennis, Elizabeth's ex-boyfriend, murdered her out of jealousy--Elizabeth, after all, dated someone else for a short time after she broke up with him. Wynn's cousin Blake agrees: he played on the same team with Dennis, and saw what a temper and competitive drive the other boy had. What's more, after Elizabeth's death, Dennis drove his car off a bridge and into the river. Police found his clothing washed up on the shore, and though there was no body, it was impossible to see how anyone could have survived such a thing. Conor, on the other hand, isn't so sure, but he knows if Dennis is still alive, he'd potentially be unhinged enough to come after the people inhabiting Elizabeth's old house. If Dennis isn't alive though, that means someone else wants to kill the new girl at school...maybe the ghost of Elizabeth herself. Cusick paints a convincing picture of a female protagonist driven to the brink. While some leads in these type of stories seem to waltz from one terrifying scenario to another without being affected, Martha's life rapidly spirals out of her control. Her father and step-mom zip off to Hawaii for their honeymoon, leaving her alone with Conor in the strange new house. Once the pranks start, Martha has trouble falling asleep at night, and even swapping rooms with Conor doesn't put a stop to the agony. Her grades suffer, her guidance counselor takes notice, and most of the other students at the school pull back from the new weirdo, leaving her more isolated than before. It's a nice touch that is mentioned but not harped on, and it lends a nice layer of veritas to the goings-on. Of course, a story can only maintain questions for so long before the action happens, and Cusick handles this well too. Early goings-on are simple, short affairs: phantom phone calls and pranks at the house. Later ones get more involved: a house fire gets Conor and Martha out of bed in the middle of the night, and my personal favorite revolves Martha's return to school after-hours to retrieve a book from her locker which turns into a chase from hell through the darkened building when a power failure shuts off the lights. This is tense, fun stuff, and Cusick understands very well just how creepy places like a high school can be after everyone goes home and the halls are deserted. The real pay-off is the end reveal of what everything's all about. Cusick plays her cards very close to her chest, and up until the final couple of chapters, I still wasn't sure if this story would go the supernatural route or if there was a more mundane and rational explanation for everything. I'm not spoiling it either; you deserve to find out the same way I did. I had most of the puzzle sussed out before the final reveal, but suffice it to say Cusick doesn't cheat and all the necessary clues are there. Bottom line? I'm totally down to read the rest of Cusick's teen horror output. Four carving-knife-stabbed scarecrows out of five.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    "The body was hanging there, so close she could have touched it. She knew he was dead from the way he was swinging, a slow, crazy dance in the cold, cold wind. There was a carving knife through his head.... And as the moonlight fell across his slashed face, he grinned up at her." These Point horror novels from the 90’s are bringing me back to life. They are so creepy and a bit disturbing. I don’t remember them being that way but glad that they are. Trick Or Treat May have spooked me enough th "The body was hanging there, so close she could have touched it. She knew he was dead from the way he was swinging, a slow, crazy dance in the cold, cold wind. There was a carving knife through his head.... And as the moonlight fell across his slashed face, he grinned up at her." These Point horror novels from the 90’s are bringing me back to life. They are so creepy and a bit disturbing. I don’t remember them being that way but glad that they are. Trick Or Treat May have spooked me enough that I had a nightmare last night.... (Or it could have been the cold medicine I have been taking.) It’s better if I just blame the book!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Hooray! 90s YA cheese is re-emerging! My evil plan is working! What? Yes, TRICK OR TREAT was originally 90s cheese of my now major obsession. No, it's not a total turd like some cheese is. I was actually really surprised reading this and realizing just how well it transcended time. Initially I thought it might have been updated but with the mention of records, cassettes and VHS tapes, my fears were eased. I am always super giddy for horror and sometimes that eagerness comes Hooray! 90s YA cheese is re-emerging! My evil plan is working! What? Yes, TRICK OR TREAT was originally 90s cheese of my now major obsession. No, it's not a total turd like some cheese is. I was actually really surprised reading this and realizing just how well it transcended time. Initially I thought it might have been updated but with the mention of records, cassettes and VHS tapes, my fears were eased. I am always super giddy for horror and sometimes that eagerness comes around to bite me in the ass. Not this time. While TRICK OR TREAT may come off as your standard haunted house story, the twist at the end will have you totally creeped out. I certainly didn't see it coming. Then again I'm not really adept at spotting those kinds of things in advance so take that as you will. Martha comes off a bit insufferable, a drama queen and a definite whiner to begin with so it's really not a surprise when no one believes her when she starts complaining about the creepy house and her cold bedroom. And Conor is a bit of a creep factor. He's really elusive and isn't straight forward when he speaks. Some people might find that mysterious. I pegged him as a baby serial killer. Enter the absentee parents that leave their teen kids alone in a house for weeks while they honeymoon (brilliant!) and you have the beginnings of a super horror story. So while Martha comes off as a bit ingratiating eventually I did get past her initial complainer attitude and start to sympathize with her plight. The house was affecting her so badly that it was starting to show physically. And still no one believed her. But by the time people started seeing the forest for the trees, it might have been a little too late. Or was it? TRICK OR TREAT is one of those old school YA horror books that actually has some genuine creepiness to it. Chances are you won't want to read it in the dark. Or during a thunder storm. Or around Halloween. Because who knows what you'll see when the lightening flashes on that old, dying oak in your front yard? Or equally creepy lawn element? TRICK OR TREAT is a good piece of nostalgia that transcends the current YA market and injects some honest to god horror back into the YA world. I love it. I need more.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Talarico

    Martha’s parents have just divorced and her father decides to move with Martha into a house that his new wife has chosen. Away from the city she grew up in, her family and friends, Martha is alone and scared. Her stepmother, Sally, isn’t much help in the transition and her new stepbrother, Conor, acts like a real creep. The house that they move in to is an old, creaky Victorian house in the middle of the woods. It immediately frightens Martha. Then the tricks start happening. Phone calls that al Martha’s parents have just divorced and her father decides to move with Martha into a house that his new wife has chosen. Away from the city she grew up in, her family and friends, Martha is alone and scared. Her stepmother, Sally, isn’t much help in the transition and her new stepbrother, Conor, acts like a real creep. The house that they move in to is an old, creaky Victorian house in the middle of the woods. It immediately frightens Martha. Then the tricks start happening. Phone calls that always start with the same whisper, “Trick or Treat.” At one point, a scarecrow with a knife through its head is swinging slowly on a tree branch right outside of Martha’s room. Another time, it’s more serious: a fire almost engulfs the house in flames. Who is doing this to Martha? And who can she trust to turn to for help?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I don't remember too many details about this one except that I absolutely loved the book and its cover. I read this during my R.L. Stine & Christopher Pike days (yeah, long ago). Trick or Treat, though quite an unoriginal title, ranks right up there with R.L. Stine's Twisted in my book. Creepy good fun! I may have to revisit this one for the sake of nostalgia.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy Mueller

    It was fun, I actually liked it better than I thought I would! I chose it for October thinking that it would be about Halloween, and be kinda cheesy, and we would laugh about it at the meeting. It is cheesy in parts for sure, but I really didn't see that coming at the end. Ended up being a pretty decent book for the time and its genre.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    Good book! Reminds me of the fear street book I used to read as a kid. A quick and fun read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This was not at all a good read. The story was full of patches and pointlessness. The characters were not at all developed. The stars I am giving are simply for the surprise in the ending. Martha moves into a haunted house with her dad who is marrying for the second time.The second day itself the parents leave for honeymoon without even ensuring that the kids are well settled in school or if they have any problems. Martha is not taken seriously even when she talks of some danger, completel This was not at all a good read. The story was full of patches and pointlessness. The characters were not at all developed. The stars I am giving are simply for the surprise in the ending. Martha moves into a haunted house with her dad who is marrying for the second time.The second day itself the parents leave for honeymoon without even ensuring that the kids are well settled in school or if they have any problems. Martha is not taken seriously even when she talks of some danger, completely ridiculed and the dad goes off. That's all we see of the parents.Leaving two completely unfamiliar children to fend for themselves in an isolated piece of land. Great. Then there's Maratha whole attitude of being hyper and insensitive. She supposedly hangs out with Connor and still doesn't know much about him. When asked about Connor by her newly made friends she says they don't talk much, which is weird because the entire chapter before that is devoted to their conversations. So basically Martha screams and runs around the house, Connor takes her to the school, brings her back, cooks meals for her which she doesn't eat at all( how is she alive, she doesn't eat at home or school? Some human form of photosynthesis that's applicable only to characters in a book?!) He rescues her, hears her long senseless rambles,manages to take her seriously when her own dad doesn't and after all this, Martha says she doesn't know him or talk with him much had me snorting. Blake,Greg and Wynn are the extent to which we get to see the new place and it's occupants. That's it. I mean I understand it's difficult to introduce many characters but still in the entire school and town these are the only characters that we see. Greg has a supposedly wholesome vibe which comes off more as creepy vipe. Which adult in his right mind would hang out with teens? Which gang of teens would enjoy the company of an adult who also happens to be their counselor in school? Theirs a portion in the story where Blake and Martha hang out for the first time and he takes her to an isolated place, her warning bells doesn't go off. They climb a loft, inside there's haysack and then they make out I think but the whole build up was jarring. The conversation that they had was completely different in terms of emotions and it didn't make any sense that they would make out. Martha was completely a cardboard piece. Wynn had more substance even if she makes only brief appearances. The entire thing ended with a twist and I heaved a sigh of relief. After going through some other reviews I have realised that this was more of a nostalgic read for many of the readers who had read it in their teenage . That makes sense. I remember enjoying some works by R.L Stine, enjoying the rich imagination and creepy monsters when I was young. They didn't make much sense when I grew up. It's probably the same. Over all a wasted effort.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Satomi

    3.5 starts This is my first Point Horror book, which is YA horror series (mostly stand alone). I planned to read this on the Halloween day and started to read a bit early, and ended up reading the whole thing in two days and two days before the Halloween day! It was quite enjoyable. There were some scary moments, too. I wish I grew up with this series... The biggest problem with this book was that the parents of the kids in this story. They just got ma 3.5 starts This is my first Point Horror book, which is YA horror series (mostly stand alone). I planned to read this on the Halloween day and started to read a bit early, and ended up reading the whole thing in two days and two days before the Halloween day! It was quite enjoyable. There were some scary moments, too. I wish I grew up with this series... The biggest problem with this book was that the parents of the kids in this story. They just got married with their own kids of high schoolers, and leaves them at this spooky house and fled to Hawaii for work/honeymoon. That’s not a sensible thing to do at all!! Anyway, this book was one of the kindle unlimited selection, and I am glad that I picked this up.

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