Spellbound by Christopher Pike

(No Series)

They found Karen Holly in the mountain stream, her skull crushed. There was only one witness to the tragedy, Karen's boyfriend, Jason Whitfield. He said a grizzly had killer her. But a lot of people didn't believe him. They thought Jason had murdered her in a fit of rage. And now weeks have passed, and Jason has another girlfriend, Cindy Jones. And there are the new kids in town. Joni Harper, the quiet English beauty that Cindy's brother, Alex, cannot get out of his mind. And Bala, the foreign exchange student from Africa, the grandson of a powerful shaman. Together they will return to the place where Karen was killed. Some will die. The others will come face to face with a horror beyond imagining.

Pike at his best: cunning and creative. I try to guess what the end will be but I don't find out until he leads me there personally.

It starts a little slow and the mystery doesn't seem that urgent or strong until later in the second half, but meanwhile I had some good writing to keep me focused, an interesting circle of friends whose different personalities sometimes complement, sometimes clash. There isn't a primary main character but head hopping is kept to a minimum. There is a false death scare or two, but it's forgivable since it gave me my happy ending.

I didn't guess what the villain would be, or who, until later. Even when the villain is revealed, the unveiling of how the villain is accomplishing the deaths is unique. Where Pike comes up with this stuff, I have no idea, his imagination seems endless at times.

The ending pages had a neat twist as well to give a nod of the ironic hat. Fans of Pike will probably enjoy this one.

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