||Dec 1 2001
Thirteen teenagers, no chaperones.
An empty house, up on a hill.
It's the vacation of a lifetime.
Barnes & Noble.com
The Official Trippers Website
It seemed like such a simple plan: thirteen teenagers, no chaperones, to spend a weekend in a mansion up on a hill.
But their weekend of fun and excitement quickly turns to one of mystery and madness when bizarre occurrences begin to happen.
Very soon, it is clear that there is something very wrong with the House on the Hill ... and the teenagers realise that it IS the vacation of their lives, as they wind up fighting to survive.
'Trippers' is a dark parody of haunted house novels, garnished with macabre humour and served with generous helpings of horror.
Suddenly the surroundings seemed to close in on them, making the path narrower and narrower. As they sped along the path, kicking up dead leaves and dust, crunching brittle branches underfoot, it appeared to them as though the plants were reaching for them, stretching out from either side of them and attempting to hinder them.
Stillthey ran on, Nicky screaming for them not to stop, for God's sake, don’t stop, keep going, keep moving, don't look back, don't look back – and suddenly it seemed as though the surroundings were moving and they themselves were stationary. The wild foliage seemed to whizz past them on either side, falling behind like dominoes, flashing past in an incrementing blur. Every single sound seemed to have been amplified in their ears; a nerve-rending cacophony, mixed with Nicky's continuous screams – “Hurry! Let's get out of here! Run! Run, for God's sake, run!”
Looking up the path, Terry saw, to their utter relief, the end of the trail, which terminated at a metal gate, complete with barbed wire at the top. Pointing with a shaky finger as he scampered towards the gate in fear, he reached it first, grabbed the metal bolt and pulled with all his might. Then his eyes fell upon the lock, the silver-gilded hook firmly in its hasp.
Terry grabbed the rails of the gate and frantically pulled at it, shaking the entire framework, but it was futile. He and Becky gripped the metal bars of the gate, held on tight until their knuckles transformed cake-flour white, clenched the bars and shook the gate, shook it, shook it with all their force, trying to get it open. Behind them, Nicky let out a howl of panic - and it ravaged them.
A King in the Making?
- The New Straits Times, Malaysia, October 2002
Eleven teenagers are going for a trip and the best part is, there is to be no adult supervision. The destination is a mansion on the hill, a recent acquisition by Becky's father.
The reader is clued in early on as to the dynamics within the group. We gather that Winston and Becky can't stand the sight of each other, while Nicky is often beset by morbid thoughts. There is, of course, the usual clumsy guy, and the idea that the house might be haunted is also introduced.
The tale slowly unravels, but not without several false starts. Tension mounts early, but it turn out that the "horror" was only rain. A few other such gimmicks get one wondering what the author is actually up to.
But not for long. One by one, gory events start taking place - flooding, ant invasions, the disappearance of friends. The plucky teenagers try to explain it all away logically until they have no choice.
The author plays on the imagination by preying on one's worst fears. The skinned bear rug coming to life and the unexplained peeling of skin from one of the girl's faces is enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand.
Also gripping is the inclusion of malevolent ghosts or spirits - all of whom have idiocyncracies of their own - who are behind this weird chain of events.
The author, a Malaysian, began the book when he was 17 and completed it a year later. On the whole it's a good book, although one gets the feeling Choo is apologetic about his age, sometimes deliberately sounding immature as a result. His age also shows when he plays tricks on the readers.
I actually found myself staying up late into the night just to finish the book. Choo is said to be working on his next book, and he deserves all the support he can get. We may just have a Stephen King in the making. - By Sunita Chhabra
A Roller Coaster Ride
- Headline from The Star, Malaysia, March 2002
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