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Let's Go Play at the Adams'

Novel by Mendal W Johnson 1974.

Twenty-year-old Barbara Miller is babysitting for the Adams' while their parents are away for a week. She wakes up one morning to find herself securely tied to her bed: the two young Adams children and their three friends are playing a game. But this game only begins with capture and then descends over the week into torture, rape and eventually murder.

A superb and subtle tale probably easiest to classify as suspense: it's not straight horror or psychological thriller, but something delectably in-between. It deals with the childrens' characters and Barbara's descent into near-madness in immense detail, frequently delving into textbook psychology. It's also a classic example of the lunacy of various censors: there is no gore at all in the whole novel, the rapes and the murder are not described gratuitously and there are only two swear words in the entire book. Everything, however, is suggested and implied. Therefore, though it's one of the most disturbing books in literature - Steve Vance demonstrates its chilling effect as a sub-plot of his pure horror novel The Abyss - there's absolutely nothing to justify censoring any part of it! It's not the greatest psychological horror novel of all time - my vote goes to Andrew Neiderman's Brainchild - but it's a close decision, and certainly this is one of those incredibly rare books ever to justify its own cover hype.


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