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** Russell's little cult tools around in a modified school bus painted all black, which Charlie Manson's Family also did.


* ForWantOfANail: Evie joins the others on the ride to what will soon be the Edgewater Road murders. Evie touches Suzanne's hand. This snaps Suzanne out of a reverie, and Suzanne immediately dumps Evie on the side of the road, a half-hour before they arrive at the murder scene. Thus Evie is spared spending the rest of her life in prison. Evie's left wondering for the rest of her life why Suzanne ditched her by the side of the road, whether it was because she realized Evie couldn't kill, or if it was because she realized Evie ''could'' kill, and so she dumped Evie so Evie would have the life Suzanne wouldn't.

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* ForWantOfANail: Evie joins the others on the ride to what will soon be the Edgewater Road murders. Evie touches Suzanne's hand. This snaps Suzanne out of a reverie, and Suzanne immediately dumps Evie on the side of the road, a half-hour before they arrive at the murder scene. Thus Evie is spared spending the rest of her life in prison. Evie's left wondering for Evie spends the rest of her life next thirty-odd years why Suzanne ditched her by the side of the road, whether it was because she realized Evie couldn't kill, or if it was because she realized Evie ''could'' kill, and so she dumped Evie so Evie would have the life Suzanne wouldn't.


* ForWantOfANail: Evie joins the others on the ride to what will soon be the Edgewater Road murders. Evie touches Suzanne's hand. This snaps Suzanne out of a reverie, and Suzanne immediately dumps Evie on the side of the road, a half-hour before they arrive at the murder scene. Evie's left wondering for the rest of her life why Suzanne ditched her by the side of the road, whether it was because she realized Evie couldn't kill, or if it was because she realized Evie ''could'' kill, and so she dumped Evie so Evie would have the life Suzanne wouldn't.

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* ForWantOfANail: Evie joins the others on the ride to what will soon be the Edgewater Road murders. Evie touches Suzanne's hand. This snaps Suzanne out of a reverie, and Suzanne immediately dumps Evie on the side of the road, a half-hour before they arrive at the murder scene. Thus Evie is spared spending the rest of her life in prison. Evie's left wondering for the rest of her life why Suzanne ditched her by the side of the road, whether it was because she realized Evie couldn't kill, or if it was because she realized Evie ''could'' kill, and so she dumped Evie so Evie would have the life Suzanne wouldn't.



* HaveAGayOldTime: Interestingly, a novel in 2016 has three separate examples of the word "queer" used in its original, now archaic meaning of "strange". This makes sense as the novel is set in the 1960's.

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* HaveAGayOldTime: Interestingly, a novel in 2016 has three separate examples of the word "queer" used in its original, now archaic meaning of "strange". This makes sense as the novel is set in the 1960's.


* Doublespeak: When Suzanne is reluctant to take Evie back to the ranch with them, Donna comments that "Russell wouldn't like it if we weren't being hospitable". Evie completely misses the threat behind this, which she herself lampshades when recollecting the moment.

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* Doublespeak: {{Doublespeak}}: When Suzanne is reluctant to take Evie back to the ranch with them, Donna comments that "Russell wouldn't like it if we weren't being hospitable". Evie completely misses the threat behind this, which she herself lampshades when recollecting the moment.


The story turns out to be a fictionalized retelling of the UsefulNotes/CharlesManson murders. Alienated whitebread suburbanite Evie is strongly attracted to the rebellious free-love atmosphere of Russell's dirty little commune, and specifically to Suzanne, one of Russell's most devoted followers. Suzanne's bold sexuality and free-spiritedness are a powerful attraction to teenaged Evie, alienated from her divorced parents, looking desperately for meaning and acceptance. Evie's lust for Suzanne and her need for belonging take her down a dark path and threaten to pull her into monstrous evil.

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The story turns out to be a fictionalized retelling of the UsefulNotes/CharlesManson murders. Alienated whitebread suburbanite Evie is strongly attracted to the rebellious free-love atmosphere of Russell's dirty little commune, and specifically to Suzanne, one of Russell's most devoted followers. Suzanne's bold sexuality and free-spiritedness are a powerful attraction to teenaged Evie, alienated from her divorced parents, looking desperately for meaning and acceptance. Evie's lust for Suzanne and her need for belonging take her down a dark path and threaten to pull her into monstrous evil.



* Doublespeak: When Suzanne is reluctant to take Evie back to the ranch with them, Donna comments that "Russell wouldn't like it if we weren't being hospitable". Evie completely misses the threat behind this, which she herself lampshades when recollecting the moment.



* HaveAGayOldTime: Interestingly, a novel in 2016 has three separate examples of the word "queer" used in its original, now archaic meaning of "strange".

to:

* HaveAGayOldTime: Interestingly, a novel in 2016 has three separate examples of the word "queer" used in its original, now archaic meaning of "strange". This makes sense as the novel is set in the 1960's.



* SayingTooMuch: Helen is the one who ultimately blabs about just how involved in the murders the girls were.



* TheSociopath: Russell, who has a gift for manipulating and exploiting women, and eventually gets them to murder for him. Julian, who is NotSoDifferent from Russell, verbally abusing Sasha during sex, demeaning and manipulating her on a regular basis.

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* TheSociopath: Russell, who has a gift for manipulating and exploiting women, and eventually gets them to murder for him. A more ambiguous example is Julian, who is NotSoDifferent from Russell, verbally abusing Sasha during sex, demeaning and manipulating her on a regular basis.



* WouldHitAGirl: When Helen's chattering irritates a stressed-out Russell, he slaps her across the face. Evie is shocked both by the slap and by most of the other girls's studied indifference to the slap.

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* WouldHitAGirl: When Helen's chattering irritates a stressed-out Russell, he slaps her across the face. Evie is shocked both by the slap and by most of the other girls's studied indifference to the slap.slap.
* WouldHurtAChild: One of the victims is a five-year-old boy, all the more jarring because Roos has a son around that age.

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* HippieVan: As befitting this especially dark take on hippies and TheSixties, Russell's clan tools around in a van that has been painted all black, even the windows.

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* {{Commune}}: It's a pretty dark example of one but Russell's cult is in fact a commune. All clothes are in a community pot. Evie is startled to find her fancy blouse, now much the worse for wear, being worn by another cult member.


* ThreeWaySex: Evie and Suzanne are sent to Mitch as a sexual bribe to help get Russell a record deal. Evie is deflowered by Mitch but doesn't enjoy the experience at all, holding him in contempt, being far more attracted to Suzanne.

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* ThreeWaySex: Evie and Suzanne are sent to Mitch as a sexual bribe to help get Russell a record deal. Evie is deflowered by Mitch but doesn't enjoy the experience at all, holding him in contempt, loathing him, being far more attracted to Suzanne.


* ForWantOfANail: Evie joins the others on the ride to what will soon be the Edgewater Road murders. Evie touches her hand, Suzanne is snapped out of a reverie, and Suzanne immediately dumps Evie on the side of the road, a half-hour before they arrive at the murder scene. Evie's left wondering for the rest of her life why Suzanne ditched her by the side of the road, whether it was because she realized Evie couldn't kill, or if it was because she realized Evie ''could'' kill, and so she dumped Evie so Evie would have the life Suzanne wouldn't.

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* ForWantOfANail: Evie joins the others on the ride to what will soon be the Edgewater Road murders. Evie touches her hand, Suzanne's hand. This snaps Suzanne is snapped out of a reverie, and Suzanne immediately dumps Evie on the side of the road, a half-hour before they arrive at the murder scene. Evie's left wondering for the rest of her life why Suzanne ditched her by the side of the road, whether it was because she realized Evie couldn't kill, or if it was because she realized Evie ''could'' kill, and so she dumped Evie so Evie would have the life Suzanne wouldn't.


* BluffTheImposter: Evie, as usual trying desperately to fit in, pretends that she has seen a risqué movie that Peter and Henry just saw. Henry asks her about the Christmas scene, then after she falls for it, he laughs and tells her that the whole movie was set in Fiji.

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* BluffTheImposter: Evie, as usual trying desperately to fit in, pretends that she has seen a risqué movie that Peter and Henry just saw. Henry asks her about the Christmas scene, scene with the snow, then after she falls for it, he laughs and tells her that the whole movie was set in Fiji.

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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/image_4943.jpeg]]

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* AuthorCatchphrase:
** The word "wet" is used 43 times in the novel. Wet hands, wet clothes from the rain, hair wet with sweat, sexually wet, "wet, overripe tomatoes", a man "gasping wetly" from climax...
** Cline's rather unusual use of "queer" in its original meaning; see HaveAGayOldTime below.

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* ParentalObliviousness: Evie is boggled by how her father fails to pick up on her emotional distress after news of the Edgewater Road murders breaks.

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* ParentWithNewParamour: Part of the reason for Evie's alienation from her life and why she's an easy mark for Russell. Her parents are divorced. Her father has taken up with his mistress Tamar, while her mother dates a bunch of guys before settling on a gold prospector named Frank. Evie is angry with both of them. Later, both Frank and Tamar are gentle with Evie when she starts getting in trouble with her parents, leading her to wonder if she misjudged them.

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* CassandraTruth: Not long before the murders, Evie cajoles a nice young man named Tim into accompanying her to the ranch. A couple of hours in the presence of Russell's minions leads a horrified Tim to get the hell out of there, but not before he begs Evie to come with him, telling her that the others "are not nice people." Evie ignores him.
* CelebrityParadox: Evie mentions reading ''Literature/ValleyOfTheDolls''. Sharon Tate starred in the film version of that book, raising the question of whether she exists in this universe and whether she met a brutal death in the same manner as Linda did at Edgewater Road.


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* InfantImmortality: One of the murder victims at Edgewater Road is Mitch's five-year-old son. (In RealLife Sharon Tate was 8 1/2 months pregnant.)


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** The reason for the murders is Russell's rage at Mitch for failing to get him a record deal, just as the reason for the Manson murders was Charlie's rage at Terry Melcher for failing to get him a record deal.[[note]]Although the "Helter Skelter" race war was something that Manson talked about, later testimony indicates that it was not the motive for the murders in the manner that Vincent Bugliosi believed.[[/note]]. One man and three women commit the murders, as in real life. One of the murder victims smiles at Suzanne just as Abigail Folger smiled at Susan Atkins. The Edgewater Road house is still stringed with Christmas lights in summer, as the Tate residence was.

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