Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Master of Murder (Christopher Pike)

Marvin is your average high school student, except for the fact that the 17 year old is a world famous author of books for teens. His latest series follows a young girl named Ann, who’s found dead, floating in the lake. He only has one book left to write, but it’s four months behind and his publishers are freaking out because they want it done now.

Part of the reason for his writer’s block is Shelly. They dated a year ago, but she was also dating Harry. He was found dead, she broke things off with Marvin and barely talked to him since. He reads a short story for creative writing class about a frog named Seymour who wanted to fly. The frog filled his lungs with air, flew into the air and when he tried to get more air into his lungs, he exploded. The birds ate him and carried him off, letting the frog fly like a bird. He then asks Shelly out and she agrees, telling him not to wait so long next time.

Marvin picks up his little sister Ann (does Pike know any other female names?) and checks his mail. Both their parents are alcoholics and he takes care of his sister because no one else will. He tells her he has a date with Shelly and she makes it clear that he doesn’t like the girl, but can’t say why.

They take his mail back to his house, where there’s a fairly long part about getting naked pictures from readers. That’s kind of gross considering that these are teen girls sending pics to a writer they think is middle aged. He finds a letter with a local postmark and a note inside saying, I know who you are. This should bother him, but it doesn’t because he has his date.

He picks Shelly up, they go out for dinner and a movie and then go back to her house because her parents are gone for the week. After some flirting, they decide to take a dip in the hot tub, sans suits. Shelly fills the tub with bubble bath because she’s shy about him seeing her naked. At the end of the night, she asks him to do some research into Harry’s death and he agrees.

The police said that Harry committed suicide by jumping off a cliff, but Marvin finds some weird stuff, like a series of rubbed/burn marks on the coat he wore that night, which his mom held onto for some weird reason. He goes to the bridge that crosses the water and discovers a piece of rope and some other clues, which puts it all together in his mind.

Harry was supposedly okay with Shelly dating Marvin because teenage boys love their girlfriends whoring around with another guy. He strung a rope across the bridge one night when Marvin was out with her. He tied himself to the other end and hid on the side of the bridge. He planned on lifting the rope when they crossed, causing him to go off, but something happened that caused Harry to die instead. Marvin finds that someone coated the rope with oil.

Marvin gets few more notes from his secret admirer before going to see Shelly to tell her what he discovered. Instead he finds her in the hot tub with Triad, Harry’s best friend. They’ve gone out a few times, but she made it seem like it was all over. Now she’s naked and doing some non-PG stuff with Triad. She also tells him that she’ll break her date with Marvin for the following night so they can spend more time together.

Marvin goes home, where he ends up in a fight with his dad. He hits him twice before Ann pushes him off, begging him to stop. He runs away and checks into a motel, thinking the whole time about how he nearly “killed” his dad. Two punches is not going to kill someone buddy. He comes up with a plan to get back at Shelly and decides to go through with it after she does break their date.

He drives to a car dealership where he buys a brand new Corvette right from the showroom. Then he heads to Sears to get the same stuff Harry once bought and stops by a bookstore. He ends up telling two girls that his Mack Slade, the big deal writer, but they don’t really believe him. Then he calls Triad and makes plans to sell him his motorcycle.

Marvin drives to the hotel and leaves the helmet with the owner, telling him that a friend will pick it up later. He sells Triad his bike and then goes to the bridge, where he sets things up just like Harry did. He hears Triad drive over the bridge and then waits for him to come back. He gets ready to raise the rope, but then realizes Shelly is on the back of the bike and yells out a warning.

Triad stops the bike, figures out what’s going on and snaps. It turns into a big showdown between the two of them, with Triad stepping on his fingers and pushing him over so he can’t come back up. Shelly begs him to stop, saying that they’ll go to the cops, but he keeps trying to untie Marvin’s rope. Marvin finally does get away, but Triad then threatens to kill Shelly by slitting her throat. Marvin makes a stand and tells him to do whatever he wants, then tells Shelly that it’s time for the heroine to fight back before getting on his bike and driving off.

Marvin checks into a hotel, rents a computer and calls his editor, saying that the book’s almost done. He writes the whole thing in two days (ha-ha) and then gets his people to setup a book signing at his high school, which is the first time he ever reveals himself in public. He does the signing, gets a bunch of phone numbers from girls who never gave him the time of day before and feels disappointed because Shelly didn’t show up. No one has heard from her since the night on the bridge.

Marvin goes back to the bridge and she shows up, holding a knife. She acts kind of shady about everything, but he still has feelings for her. They talk about what happened and how it all went down. Harry and Triad were both trying to kill Marvin because they both loved Shelly. Harry tried to stop when he saw Shelly with him, but Triad didn’t want anyone to have her if she wasn’t with him so he killed Harry.

She asked Marvin for help because she thought he was the one that killed Harry, based on his books. He tells her that he didn’t even realize that he was writing about what happened, even though he came up with the idea a few days after Harry died. She kind of threatens him with the knife and says that she’ll let him have the knife if he kisses her and gives her a piece of his profits.

The epilogue talks about Marvin going to California to meet with some movie guys who want to make his books into movies and then going to New York to finally meet his agent and publishers. He thinks it will be a great trip because he has Shelly by his side and he realizes that he loved her all along.

Okay, a few comments. First of all, Shelly is a huge bitch! She cheats on Harry with Marvin, then on Triad with Marvin and then on Marvin with Triad. She goes whatever way the wind blows and only cares about herself. Yet the whole book is about how Marvin is trying to protect her and do whatever it takes to make her his girlfriend. It’s ridiculous!

My other comment is on his “books”. He says at one point that it takes 3 months for the book to get through editing and advertising, but that he’s published FIVE books in the last year and only started writing after Harry died. Even Pike wasn’t pumping out five books a year back then and Patterson, who has his name on everything, doesn’t put out five books a year. He was taking care of his sister, going to high school full-time and yet somehow managed to find time to write the books too? It really doesn’t make sense.


  1. Wait a second, he ENDS UP WITH SHELLY? What the fuck?

    I'm pretty sure Pike has a sister named Ann and that's why he keeps naming characters that.

    Also, what kind of a name is "Triad"?

  2. In all honesty, I'd like to dwell on the nude-photos part. Was that Pike's personal experience? If so, ewwwwww. I wonder how many teen girls (if any) sent nudes to Bruce Coville or R.L. Stine in that case.

    1. I sincerely hope it's not personal experience! Why would anyone do that?? Would they really think some famous person is going to look at naked pics of a teen girl and run away with her or something? LOL