B&N Blurb: From Possess author Gretchen McNeil comes this teen horror novel inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Perfect for fans of Christopher Pike’s Chain Letter and Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer, Ten will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page!
It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie are looking forward to two days of boys, booze, and fun-filled luxury. But what starts out as fun turns twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. And things only get worse from there.
With a storm raging outside, the teens are cut off from the outside world . . . so when a mysterious killer begins picking them off one by one, there’s no escape. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on one another, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
Case File: Slasher Films/Valentine / Crossbow/ Minority Characters
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Ten was exactly what I expected from a novel that reminded me of all the slasher films that I have ever watched. People die one by one as one character struggles to understand their connection to each other and why they were chosen, it’s a murder-mystery party. Nothing new. That being said, it was a quick and enjoyable read.
I was very impressed the killer knew how to use a crossbow because besides Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead and the Argent family from Teen Wolf, it’s rare for the crossbow to be use as weapon even though it is a weapon. Props to McNeil for that and for making the love interest of Meg Pritchett, be a black teenager boy, T.J Fletcher. The cast of Ten was diverse, there were three Asian girls, one black teenager, and possibly everyone else was white which is better than most slasher films where they have one minority represented in the cast. McNeil was self-aware of the genre and the tropes that are embedded in it so she twisted some of them like the love interest and calling out the genre for always having the minority character die first or just never surviving to the end of the film (which is also a problem in horror films but some have challenged it like A House on Haunted Hill, fantastic movie, watch it). The characters are still identifiable by the stereotypical role they play such as Meg being the shy virgin, Minnie being the bitch or the whore, Nathan as the douchebag of the group, etc. McNeil changes some aspects of the genre but it is still recognizable as a thriller/horror novel.
The plot of the novel is just figuring out the mystery as the characters die one by one. Besides the survivors, half of the cast is unlikable starting with Minnie and the other half is one dimensional (like Lori who was a singer) that they don’t matter. It’s a simple novel and the mystery in unraveled through a series of diary entries, there is a couple of red herrings but when the killer is revealed, it’s an “oh”, a small “o” moment. Even the reason why they were selected for the island is not shocking, it’s just that some of them were shitty individuals like Nathan who needed to someone to kick his ass and the other half were oblivious to the effects of their actions. For the killer, it was about revenge for betrayals committed. I’m not saying they deserved to be on the island but they needed to re-evaluate their lives but it is also high school, were people do shitty things in general because life after high school tends to be a foreign concept. Like the naivety of Meg in thinking that her relationship with Minnie will survive college (most relationship don’t or maybe it was just mine that didn’t survive). It’s barely surviving high school and Minnie’s bipolar disorder which plays a very strong role in their relationship because the disorder dominates both of them .
Ten is inspired by And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. The original novel has a nursery rhyme which is replaced with the diary entries which is interesting because the deaths are more tailored to each individual and befitting of they crime committed.
Ten, as a book, is a fast-paced read that acts like a literary slasher film meaning that it will blend in with other murder-mystery parties. It will stand out for having a minority as a love interest but it is just an all right novel. It’s not a bad novel, it’s just… go in expecting a slasher film in writing and it’s a pretty good novel. I’m actually looking forward to reading Possess because Ten drops some interesting horror elements and the suspense was well-written. I want to see what McNeil can do when she focuses on demons.