Horror Book Review: Wrong Number 2 by R.L. Stine

The cover of Wrong Number 2 features two teenage girls huddled around a telephone and a blurb that reads, “Call waiting …. to kill!”

What does that even mean? “Call waiting …. to kill.”  That would seem to suggest that there’s a person named Call in this book who is waiting to kill someone.  I’ve read the book.  There’s no one named Call.  Alternatively, it could mean that we’ve got a Ring situation on our hands and actually answering the phone will lead to some sort of supernatural death curse.  In that case, the call itself would be waiting to kill.  But again, I’ve read the book.  There’s nothing supernatural about it.

“Call waiting …. to kill?”  It means nothing but let’s just be honest here.  It’s kind of charming in its meaninglessness.  It’s an R.L. Stine book, so it seems appropriate.  You can’t expect these thing to make any sort of logical sense.

Wrong Number 2 is a sequel to Stine’s The Wrong Number.  One year has passed since Deena and her friend Jade were nearly killed by the chainsaw-wielding Mr. Faberson.  They’ve both managed to recover nicely from almost being killed.  Deena is now dating an Australian exchange student.  Jade is dating the star of the school’s basketball team.  Deena’s half-brother Chuck (who is also Jade’s ex-boyfriend) is off at college but, unknown to the rest of his family, he’s planning on abandoning school so that he can move to Los Angeles and become a big time movie star.  Everything seems to be just fine …. until Deena and Jade start getting mysterious phone calls from a man who says that he’s going to get revenge on them.

Could it be Mr. Faberson?  He’s still in prison but apparently, he’s due to soon be released.  Could it be Mr. Faberson’s former mistress, a real estate agent who is trying to fiind a buyer willing to overlook the fact that a murder that occurred there and buy Mr. Faberson’s old house?  Or could it even be Chuck, who shows up in town and appears to be desperate to convince Jade to dump boring old Teddy and run away to California with him?

Reading the book, it was hard to avoid the feeling that Stine himself wasn’t really sure who he wanted the villain to be.  Towards the end of the book, there are three different scenes that, taken on their own, could have served as an ending for Wrong Number 2.  It’s as if Stine just kept tacking on possible endings and solutions until he finally found one that he felt worked.  The end result is a book that feels somewhat slapdash, even by the lenient standards of R.L. Stine.  If I had survived being attacked by chainsaw-wielding maniac and was now getting calls from someone claiming they were going to do the same thing to me again, I would perhaps be a bit more upset than either Deena or Jade seems to get.  At the very least, I would consider changing my number or maybe moving to a different town.  Not Deena and Jade, though.  And hey, good for them.  If nothing else, this incredibly silly book suggests that there’s not a single trauma that can’t be conquered by dating a basketball player.  The cast of Hang Time would agree, I’m sure.

2 responses to “Horror Book Review: Wrong Number 2 by R.L. Stine

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 9/26/22 — 10/2/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

  2. Pingback: Horror Novel Review: The Secret Bedroom by R.L. Stine | Through the Shattered Lens

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