Sociopathic slashers terrorize the Adirondacks, but can they foil a motley crew of campers from Manhattan?
A teenage girl who calls herself Nikki charms her way into an isolated woodland cabin near Shadow Creek, occupied by an elderly couple, the Laufers. She’s followed shortly by her older boyfriend, who, with Nikki’s enthusiastic participation, makes short work of the hapless Laufers with a machete. Meanwhile, thanks to snafus too numerous to detail, Val and her sophisticated friends, vintage costume-jewelry maven Melissa and former Broadway hoofer James, cancel her 40th birthday club crawl to accompany her 16-year-old daughter, Brianne, and Brianne’s future stepmother (you heard that right), Jennifer, to a lodge in Shadow Creek. Evan, whom Val is divorcing after finding him in flagrante with Jennifer, can’t—again, it’s complicated—join them. Brianne keeps trying to elude the adults to tryst with boyfriend Tyler. Even after her mother confiscates her Blackberry, Brianne and Tyler manage to hook up, but after a park ranger catches them, the scandalized lodge banishes the once and future Mrs. Rowes and entourage from the premises. They reluctantly repair to a nearby campground. Brianne is still scheming to meet Tyler, while sparks fly between Val and Gary, a high school classmate she’s encountered by chance (although she would, if asked, take Evan back). In the background, rumors roil about a series of grisly slayings in the Berkshires. The Adirondack murders remain unreported, since Nikki and her beau are still skulking in the Laufers’ cabin, eliminating all potential witnesses who happen by. It is only a matter of time before their widening net snares Val et al. In fact, alternating third-person voices and ambiguous clues planted here and there suggest that Brianne and Nikki may actually be the same person. For those who don’t relish extensive carnage, Fielding includes just enough humor and social satire to leaven the proceedings, while never leaving us in doubt that justice will ultimately be meted out.
A sassy, scary read.