Travel-adventure writer Lea Sutter is visiting Cape Le Chat Noir, an island off of the South Carolina coast with a reputation for being mysterious and frightening. The tall tales about the island -- dozens of sunken Spanish ships from the 1600s, along with stories about the living dead walking around in broad daylight, should make great copy for Lea's blog. The stories about the re-animated dead on the island stem from a ritual known as "Revenir" -- French for "to come back." Lea attends a ritual, and what she witnesses is horrifying, but perhaps nothing more than a carnival trick. Before Lea has time to react or deal with the Revenir ritual she learns that a hurricane -- Ernesto -- is headed towards the island and is expected to destroy everything in its path.
Hurricane Ernesto wipes out Cape Le Chat Noir, killing most of the people on the island but sparing Lea, Daniel and Samuel -- blond-haired, blue-eyed 12-year-old twins who look like angels and (eventually) behave like nothing other than devils. The boys explain to Lea that their parents, home and all of their belongings have been swept out to sea, and she impulsively decides to adopt them and brings the boys home to her family (husband, son and daughter), to their home in Sag Harbor, NY.
Shortly after the boys arrive in Sag Harbor, things begin to happen. Small thefts slowly escalate into murder; and the pacing couldn't be more perfect as the plot unwinds at a steady speed that maintains plausibility. Stine has written a really scary book, where seemingly impossible situations occur, yet, somehow, he makes them believable. His technique is brilliant in its simplicity: By intertwining other (normal) storylines with tales of the supernatural, Stine keeps his readers grounded to reality. Red Rain has subplots that we all encounter in our daily lives: paying the mortgage, failed relationships and the difficulties we face raising our kids. When murderous 12-year-olds are thrown into the mix, we embrace the departure from our usual troubles as we venture into the bizarre.
Hopefully, none of us will ever encounter children like Daniel and Samuel. Red Rain is a page-turner and a rare adult book for R. L. Stine. Keep this one away from your kids.