Lea Sutter is a travel writer researching the rituals of the living and the dead on a small island off the coast of South Carolina. While Lea is exploring, a hurricane blows through town, devastating everyone’s lives. In the aftermath Lea finds a pair of orphaned twelve-year-old boys - twins. In spite of the fact that everyone she knows cautions her against a hasty adoption, especially without knowing the boys’ background, Lea brings them home to Long Island to live with her, her husband, and two teenaged children. The family doesn’t have long to settle into their new lives and routines before a series of gruesome murders begin occurring. Lea’s husband Mark is the prime suspect, but are the twins as sweet and innocent as they appear?
Red Rain is R.L. Stine’s foray into writing for adults after spending many, many years scaring the bejeezus out of pre-teens, and some teenagers. With the exception of a few sexual situations and a bit of extra attention to the lives of the adults, I’m not convinced that he has successfully made the move from YA fiction. To start, the plot is never finely developed, and at times is not even plausible. Lea leaves the state with two children who are not her own without finding out anything about them, and no one stops her. She just adds to new members to her family. Her husband Mark, the child psychologist, doesn’t approve, but he doesn’t protest very strongly either. The children inexplicably have British phrasing and accents even though they grew up on a South Carolinian island in the United States, and no one thinks anything about that either – besides thinking they are cute. Wouldn’t that make anyone more curious about their history? They also don’t seem to miss their parents very much, and are only intent on “ruling the school”. Lea’s children adjust extremely well to having new brothers. Nothing is much of a big deal for anyone.
Though Red Rain requires major suspension of disbelief, it was easy to read and piqued my curiosity enough that I read it until the end. I was trying to figure out what the deal was with the hell twins, and there was a twist there that I didn’t anticipate. I was grossed out a few times, but I wasn’t ever scared. With the exception of a few passages here and there I would recommend this for Stine’s regular audience, but it’s back to the drawing board for a compelling adult horror novel.