I've always been a big fan of Christopher Pike - as a reading machine teenager I gobbled his stuff up like candy. Most of his stuff still wows me as an adult, but while this was a good book, it doesn't fully hold up to my standards anymore.
A group of young adults go to visit their rich friends for a weekend of fun, drinking, and just joking about orgies that never happen. The two sisters who own the cabin are a blended group - one is a the too-pretty-to-be-true girl who can grab any man she wants, while the other is a sweet and ailing sister who is the victim of a poisoning the last time the friends got together. We have to go through her frequent kidney dialysis, and can I just say that's not a fun thing? Kidneys always bugged me, so I can sympathize with anyone who has to go through that.
'Weekend' loved to freak me out with snakes too. Rattlers are everywhere - in the first few chapters, later, and then with the ending in a big way. *Shudder* I HATE snakes, especially vipers. The ending scene was especially bad and nightmare worthy, I can't imagine much that would be worse. I'm not sure Pike was realistic with some of the snakes, though. I don't think they drip brown stuff from fangs, but who knows, they're creepy enough without it.
The first part of the book was almost dull because the gang drives and talks, stands around and talks, gets together and talks, and then is in the cabin awhile...talking. I know Pike wanted to set up the mystery that happened before, show the characters and their connections to each other, set the stage so to speak, but it would have been nice to have something jarring in between to keep the interest. The book got much better when the actual mystery part happened where they were confronted again about that awful party that went oh-so-wrong a year ago.
The ending is a little weak just because it was a bit unrealistic being so happily ever after for the characters. I expect this was because Pike was sticking true to the age level of this novel and needed to have something like that neatly wrapped up, but still it bugged me about one of the characters being let off so easily about the 'big, bad thing' they did.
Overall it's a good book and as usual, Pike shows his creative mental ability to show a twisted story a hand at a time, holding a lot of cards back until he reveals the full flush. His parable with the Dove, Eagle and Snake was also awesome, that small twist he puts in a story that makes it stand out as unique.