May 09 2010

Back amongst the spam

Published by Whitney G under Admin

So…yeah. I have no real explanation for my way-too-long absence from this blog, and from the fun, hilarious, comforting world of the YA (and non-YA) book blogosphere in general. I’m just going to blame vampire teenage aliens and leave it at that.

The problem now is plowing through all of the spam comments that have popped up during my hiatus. Although I must say that I appreciate this new type of spam, where the spammers talk about how awesome your writing is and how much they have learned from your blog. Call me easily flattered, but I can’t help but smile when a commenter named increase-your-penis-size tells me how insightful my blog is. Thanks, Large Penis Guy!

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Aug 16 2009

Stuck in the middle of Innocence

Published by Whitney G under Admin

Do not fear, my friends: I am steadily working on my recap of Execution of Innocence. However, I am currently stuck in a hotel with the slowest WiFi connection EVER, so it will probably be the weekend before I transfer the rest of my recap into WordPress and post it. I promise extra doses of awesomeness to make up for the wait.

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Aug 04 2009

“Execution of Innocence” by Christopher Pike, Part I

Execution of Innocence
Christopher Pike
1997, Archway

Execution of Innocence

Death and devotion in a small town.

Characters

  • Mary Dammon — Our Fearless Heroine; in love with Charlie; wants to go to Stanford
  • Hannah Spelling — Mary’s friend; Dick’s twin sister; unloved by father
  • Charlie Gallagher — Mary’s honey; poor; mechanic
  • Dick Spelling — spoiled rich kid; wants to bang Mary; currently deceased
  • Lieutenant David Sharp — the “young sexy” cop investigating Dick’s murder
  • Lieutenant Steven Riles — the “fat forty” cop who is Sharp’s partner
  • Dr. Kohner — coroner
  • Linda Hoppe — incredibly dumb teenage girl; witness

Execution of Innocence manages to be both fairly decent and pretty boring at the same time. Thematically, it’s a revisitation of his earlier works like Gimme A Kiss, the Final Friends trilogy, and Last Act: just teenagers being really shitty to each other, without the aid of any supernatural forces. Although my favorite Pike books (Scavenger Hunt and Spellbound) actually involve unearthly plotlines, I’ve always like the more “human” Pike books a lot. Where Execution fails is its hasty ending and the feeling that we’ve all been here several times before. Still, it’s a nice little quick read, and a pleasant reprieve from crap like The Book That Shall Not Be Named.

We open, as we so often do in Pike books, in a police station. I think maybe Pike wanted to be a cop as a kid, because he certainly loves him some men in uniform. (My husband, upon reading this, commented, “Don’t most serial killers want to be cops, too?” HA.) Pike’s books may contain the most consistently decent cops in literary history. Inside an interrogation room sit two lieutenants (David Sharp and Steven Riles) and a teenage girl, Mary Dammon, Our Fearless Heroine. Sharp is young and sexy, and Riles is…neither. Oh, so this is a buddy comedy! Sharp and Riles (hereafter known as S&R) are investigating the murder of 18-year-old Dick Spelling, “an all-American blond with good grades and a rich Daddy.”

Mary, to no faithful Pike reader’s surprise, is “not a truly beautiful girl,” as she has “slight imperfections to her features.” THE HORROR. She probably has small boobs, too. But S&R aren’t interested in Mary’s boobs, at least not yet, and they get right down to business as they inquire about Mary’s relationship to Dick. In my head, this conversation sounds like this:

S&R: So, Mary, how do you feel about Dick?
Mary: Well, I don’t have much experience with Dick…
S&R: But surely you know enough about Dick to say whether or not you’re a fan.
Mary: I guess I would have to say that I like Dick.
S&R: What kinds of things did you do with Dick?
Mary: What do you mean?
S&R: Did you ever kiss Dick?
Mary: Once or twice.
S&R: Were you ever rough with Dick?
Mary: Well, once I had to give Dick a good tongue-lashing…

Why yes, I do have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy. Why do you ask?

ANYway. Mary wasn’t good friends with Dick, but she did date him once, despite having a serious boyfriend. That boyfriend is Charlie Gallagher, who is currently missing. Mr. Spelling is convinced that Charlie killed his beloved son over Mary. In the YA Horror world, this is fairly common. Mary says that maybe there was some jealous rivalry between the boys, but she’s not sure. She gives a vague timeline of the night, with too many holes in her story to satisfy S&R. Then comes one of the stranger exchanges in the book, in which Mary tells S&R that Hannah and Dick were twins, and Riles says, “But not identical twins.” WTF, dude? If Riles is trying to be funny, then he is failing miserably. If he is trying to be thoughtful and deep, then he is failing even more miserably. Let’s just say that I don’t get Riles, and move on. We learn that Mary wants to go to Stanford, that Charlie is apparently a big ol’ dummy, and that Mary has blood in her hair. Fucking fascinating.

And now, with a new chapter, we move back to the past. Until the end of the book, we will be transitioning between past and present with each chapter break. It’s all very Gimme A Kiss. Mary, Hannah, Dick, and Charlie all go to Maple High, a small high school in a small town. Well, Maple High has a total student population of 830, which makes it four times the size of the high school that I was unfortunate enough to attend. I know from small towns. Charlie is a mechanic, and one day Mary takes her dilapidated Honda Civic to him for a tune-up. Charlie has nice blue eyes and a handsome jaw, and black hair that is “long and stringy and [hangs] over his broad shoulders like strips of leather.” Well, I’m turned on, what about the rest of you ladies? Charlie tells Mary that her car is just plain old and probably needs to be put out of its misery. Uh, yeah, but dude, it’s a Honda Civic. Mary might be able to get a good 940,000 miles out of it. But Charlie agrees to see what he can do, so he drops her off at her job at the library.

That night, when Mary gets home, she finds her car parked out front and Charlie eating cookies and milk with her mother in the kitchen. So he’s 10, then? Charlie tells Mary that he did what he could, but that the Civic is on its deathbed. He initially tells her she owes him $10, but Mary tells him to “charge what’s fair.” He amends his price to $50, and Mary gets all huffy ’cause “that’s a lot.” Jeez, Mary, make up your damn mind. Do you want him to give you a break ’cause he wants to do you, or do you want to pay a fair price? Anyway, Mary discovers that Charlie lives in the “ghetto” of Maple City. Mary’s squicked out but quickly recovers.

As Mary pulls into Charlie’s ghetto driveway, the ol’ Civic sputters and dies. Mary pitches a major hissy, yelling at Charlie that it’s all his fault. He says he’ll see what he can do and takes her bitchy ass home. The next morning, her car is parked out in front of her house with a big red bow on it. Charlie apparently stayed up all night rebuilding the engine. Charlie must be the World’s Best Mechanic. I know from rebuilding engines, and this is not an overnight job. Just getting the damn thing out of the car can take over a day. Plus, I find it hard to believe he had all the necessary parts available to accomplish the job, since Honda Civic motors are notoriously indestructible, therefore limiting the demand for onhand parts. But whatevs, it’s SO ROMANTIC *squeee* blargh.

Back in the present, Riles is pissed because Mary’s holding out on him and his pardner. Sharp, who is young and horny, is not as pissed. S&R decide it’s time to talk to Hannah, but first they stop to check on the autopsy of Dick. Apparently the autopsy is being performed in the police station because the coroner recently burned down the morgue when he “accidentally set some chemicals on fire with his lit pipe.” Oh, that wacky coroner! The impromptu autopsy location is never named, but I like to imagine that it’s the office of the police chief, and every morning he comes in with his coffee and pastry and has to wipe the bodily fluids off of his desk before sitting down. Also, while Googling for potentially flammable morgue chemicals, I came across this awesome bone decalcifier that I totally want to buy and display on the vanity of my guest bathroom to freak out visitors. I also found this morgue deodorizer pouch that I am definitely going to buy for the cats’ litter room — because if it can tackle the stench of decaying flesh, then it might be able to make a dent in the horror that emanates from the litter boxes of six cats.

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah…Dick’s autopsy. I am not exactly blazing my way through this recap, am I? The coroner’s name is Dr. Kohner, which HAHAHA PIKE I GET IT, IT SOUNDS SORT OF LIKE “CORONER” HAHA WHEEEEE. Ahem. Dr. Kohner is half-German, half-Japanese, and he is of course incredibly weird. Because there are no well-adjusted forensic pathologists in the world. Dr. Kohner gives S&R the lowdown on what he’s learned so far, which is…that Dick was killed by a bullet. Bravo, dottore! Or should I say, Durchgebraten, Isha — in honor of Kohner’s Japanese-German heritage. Dr. Kohner goes on to say that the bullet is a .38 and that Dick died within the last four hours. But probably not within the last hour, since that’s when the autopsy started. Unless Dr. Kohner killed Dick. But, since Dr. Kohner is not a horny teenager, I think we can eliminate him from the universal YA horror suspect list.

We are then introduced to Dick and Hannah’s dear old daddy, Mr. Spelling (no relation). He obviously named his beloved son after himself, because Mr. Spelling is a dick. However, he loves his son. His dead son. Oh, how I wish Dick had been gay, so I could make the requisite Heathers joke. Aw, what the hell, I’ll throw it in here anyway.

S&R manage to convince Mr. Spelling to let them question Hannah. Big surprise: her story matches Mary’s exactly. We learn that Hannah is cool and blonde and sly, with expensive clothes and perfect makeup. She doesn’t think that Charlie killed Dick, because Charlie’s so gentle and caring and sweet. Why don’t you just come right out and call him a pussy, Hannah? When pressed about the love triangle between Mary, Dick, and Charlie, Hannah says that Dick liked Mary but wasn’t in love with her, and that he may have been a little jealous of Charlie but that it was obvious to anyone that Charlie and Mary were in lurrrrve. She admits that Charlie and Dick had a big fight over Mary, which piques S&R’s interest.

Stay tuned for Part II, where Charlie and Mary have bloody sex, Mary whores it up for a chance at Stanford, and we learn more than we ever wanted to know about Hannah’s tits and ass!

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