”You May Now Kill the Bride,” by R.L. Stine, HarperCollins Publishers, 2018, 341 pages

R.L. Stine’s new book is highly anticipated. The deliciously creepy story is centered on two family weddings. One occurs in 1923, and the other wedding is in present time. Is a family’s gruesome past destined to poison their present time?

This new retro tale kicks off the “Fear” series that have lain dormant for 20 years. These books are delightfully sinister whether you’re a teen who likes to be scared, or an adult with misty memories from your 1990s childhood. Younger readers might remember the “Goosebump” series. These horror stories are back.

The books are set in the fictional town of Shadyside, and the teens that live there deal with terrifying occurrences. Affluent sisters Ruth Ann and Rebecca are young girls in 1923. Ruth Ann tries not to be jealous of her older sister, Rebecca, who is so perfect.

She and her boyfriend, Peter, find happiness, but they betray Ruth Ann. She doesn’t understand the curse that occurs at their Colorado wedding. They’re squabbling for love and insist on being in charge of their futures. Witchcraft rears its ugly head along with the family curse.

The story goes forward to contemporary times and different “Fear” sisters; the two weddings are decades apart. Harmony attends the wedding at the same location, but it’s for Marissa. Is Harmony playing with spells that cause Marissa to disappear?

The author tells the story in four parts, in short paragraphs, at a fast pace. He uses plenty of red herrings that remind the reader of Stephen King’s “The Shining,” always guessing at the outcome. Is the family curse still in play?

“Some say this may be the best book I’ve written,” according to Stine. “It occurs in two time periods, but I have tied them together. Confusing at first, hopefully it is humorous. I think horror is funny. All my books are written to entertain people.”

It’s as funny as it’s thrilling. This combination of horror/humor is central in all his “Fear” books. He especially enjoys finding a title twist that subverts the wedding vow line.

JoAn Watson Martin is an educator.

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