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Literature / Shivers (M. D. Spenser)
aka: Shivers

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The first of many, many covers to show Dem Bones

"Do you enjoy being frightened? Would you rather have nightmares instead of sweet dreams? Are you happy only when shaking with fear? Congratulations!!!! You've made a wise choice. This book is the doorway to all that may frighten you. Get ready for cold, clammy shivers running up and down your spine! Now, open the door—if you dare!!!!"

Shivers is a children's horror series by M.D. Spenser with thirty-six books, starting with The Enchanted Attic in May 1996 and ending with Madness at the Mall in 1998. The series follows in the footsteps of Goosebumps, but has the tendency to be much darker. The series began to be re-released as ebooks in 2011, with the first seven having been released as of 2013 and none since.

The whole series is reviewed by GnarlyBooks, which also serves as brief recaps to each and every entry.

The series consists of the following:

  • #01: The Enchanted Attic
  • #02: A Ghastly Shade of Green
  • #03: Ghost Writer
  • #04: The Animal Rebellion
  • #05: The Locked Room
  • #06: The Haunting House
  • #07: The Awful Apple Orchard
  • #08: Terror on Troll Mountain
  • #09: The Mystic's Spell
  • #10: The Curse of the New Kid
  • #11: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
  • #12: The Secret of Fern Island
  • #13: The Spider Kingdom
  • #14: The Curse in the Jungle
  • #15: Pool Ghoul
  • #16: The Beast Beneath the Boardwalk
  • #17: The Ghosts of Camp Massacre
  • #18: Your Momma's A Werewolf
  • #19: The Thing in Room 601
  • #20: Babyface & the Killer Mob
  • #21: A Waking Nightmare
  • #22: Lost in Dreamland
  • #23: Night of the Goat Boy
  • #24: The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh
  • #25: A Ghostly Playmate
  • #26: One Foot in the Grave
  • #27: Camp Fear
  • #28: Watch 'em Kill
  • #29: The Terrible Terror Book
  • #30: Creepy Clothes
  • #31: Shriek Home Chicago
  • #32: Beware the Bog Girl
  • #33: The Forgotten Farmhouse
  • #34: Weirdo Waldo's Wax Museum
  • #35: Terror on Tomahawk Island
  • #36: Madness at the Mall

Tropes featured in these books include:

    open/close all folders 

    In general 

  • All Just a Dream: The endings of The Spider Kingdom, The Curse of the New Kid, and Babyface and the Killer Mob.
  • Covers Always Lie: Basically every cover featuring an animated skeleton. None of the stories contains Dem Bones, let alone living ones. There are other notable misleading covers as well, like One Foot in the Grave, Pool Ghoul and Terror on Troll Mountain (see their respective folders for details).
  • Creator Thumbprint:
    • M.D. Spenser likes to introduce his protagonist(s) in a moving vehicle, either moving to a new place, going for a holiday, or returning from one. His books also tend to reference history lessons and discuss darker subjects like slavery and aboriginal massacre, regardless whether these events are relevant to the main plot.
    • For an artist example, cover illustrator Eddie Rosebloom obviously has a skeleton fetish. Besides the numerous cover art depicting nonexistent animated skeletons, Rosebloom also sees fit to include skeleton motifs on random books, like the lock of "The Locked Room" or a lantern's flames on "The Secret of Fern Island". You can even play "find the hidden skull" on covers of "The Awful Apple Orchard", "The Haunting House", "The Animal Rebellion", "The Thing in Room 601" and "Your Momma's a Werewolf".
  • Dedication: Each book has one, although usually with no explanation as to why that person is important. Sometimes they will share a name with one of the characters though.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Mostly averted, since majority of the stories occurs within the course of several days, but there's a few (see the individual folders) where the main story happens in a single day — or sometimes just an evening. Some of the All Just a Dream books might count, too, since the protagonist couldn't have been unconscious or asleep for too long but the main story feels a few days long.
  • Monochrome Casting: The only non-white protagonists were Colombian siblings Nico and Ana from The Forgotten Farmhouse. The series as a whole is rather white bread, only having a Token Minority (like Martin Littlefeather in Pool Ghoul and Nadina in The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh) every so often, though a notable exception is Beware the Bog Girl, which prominently features the Gullah subculture of African Americans.

    #01: The Enchanted Attic 

  • Bait-and-Switch: Nicole discovers the truth of the Fowler family's curse that their members were transformed into dolls before their deaths, and realizes her sister Casey has suddenly gone missing. Then, Nicole finds a doll that looks like Casey on the attic's floor... rushing out, Nicole realized it's too late as she stumbles across a previously-undiscovered tombstone bearing Casey's name. Cue the Rain, as Nicole begins to collapse in tears over losing her sister to the Fowler's doll curse and regretting every mean thing she had said to Casey in the past. Eventually the rain stops, and then a still-human and very-much alive Casey suddenly shows up asking what is Nicole doing out in the rain.
    Nicole: Casey! You stupid jerk! I love you!
  • Bat Scare: The bird variety — Nicole and Casey are briefly swarmed by a flock of barn swallows when opening one of the attic's doors, but then the birds head out through a nearby open window.
  • Bookcase Passage: Subverted — Nicole decides to search the new house's study room for the means to unlock the attic's secret door, and at one point, after being freaked out by the gigantic portrait of its former owner, thinks if the secret entrance is hidden behind the portrait or in one of those shelves. Alas, there's nothing but bare wall behind the portrait.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: The passage leading to the long-abandoned attic is filled with spiderwebs, considering it's been hidden from public view ever since The American Civil War (there's a dusty, moldy American flag with less than 50 stars on it). Nicole and Casey's attempts at exploring get them covered in dust and cobwebs, and looking quite untidy when their mother calls them for lunch.
  • Ghost Song: One of the many spooky going-ons in the new house; after a few weeks moving in, Nicole, in the dead of night, hears the sad, mournful melody of a cello coming from the attic. Which keeps playing the following nights...
    The music rose and fell so sorrowfully it broke her heart. The high notes ached with anguish. Then the tune dropped low with despair... It was music fit for a funeral. This, she knew was the music of death.
  • Improvised Lockpick: Casey uses her barrette as an improvised key to attempt unlocking the door leading to the titular location, but it doesn't work. The sisters have to give up and return later, when Nicole decides to search the study and find the key.
  • Living Toys: The toys in the attic come to life and loiter around the attic when nobody's around, with Nicole and Casey coming back and surprised to see the toys have moved from where they left them. Turns out to be a ghostly example akin to a twisted, supernatural version of Toy Story — those toys used to be deceased humans.
  • New House, New Problems: Nicole and her family move into a new house and discover something strange in the attic.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: When finding the hidden passageway in their new house leading to the titular attic the first time, Casey wants to walk in and explore while Nicole, being easily scared, tells Casey to wait. So Casey instead calls Nicole a "scaredy-cat", and Nicole — determined to prove she's not — quickly follows Casey into the passage.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: What the tragic backstory of the new house's former owner, Franklin Fowler, amounts to be — having lost his wife, children and grandchildren, and unable to bear with the pain, Franklin travels to Salem to seek assistance of a witch, to keep his family alive forever as dolls.
  • Secret Room: The titular location is sealed off from the public, and can only be accessed by finding a hidden passageway — which leads to a locked door anyways. Nicole and Casey try picking the lock, but eventually have to give up when their mother calls them for dinner, and when the sisters bring it up their father claims the house doesn't have an attic.
  • Spooky Painting: The new house has a study with a huge portrait of its former owner behind the main desk, glaring at anyone who enters with an expression that's equally angry, ferocious and sad. It freaks Nicole out when she first sees it, and said portrait is painted in such a way that Nicole can feel it watching her even as she's exploring the study.
  • Toy Transmutation: The dolls are actually spirits of dead people that were turned into dolls after a the house's owner, Franklin Fowler, begged a witch to keep his dead loved ones with him somehow.
  • Weakened by the Light: The dolls become motionless when even the tiniest bit of light hits them, and come to life in complete darkness. The climax where the dolls attempt attacking Nicole and Casey ends with Nicole pulling down the window's drapes, allowing sunlight into the attic and freezing the toys.

    #02: A Ghastly Shade of Green 

  • All Myths Are True: As Jason and Snake Eyes are on their way out of the Florida bayou, the former having accidentally lost his way (while trying to flee from Snake Eyes whom he mistook to be a murderer), Snake Eyes narrates an old Indian legend about a pair of Seminole Indians who entered the Everglades and disturbed an old Indian Curse about the forest coming to life and were later found dead with vines around their necks. While historians are baffled as to how they actually died, Snake Eyes claims the Everglades' plants are alive and the Seminoles must've disturbed the local vegetation. Turns out Snake Eyes was right, the plants are indeed sentient and royally pissed that Jason's botanist mother is intending to convert the Everglades into a fertilizer research facility.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Moments before Jason and his brother can be swarmed alive by the killer plants, Snake Eyes suddenly shows up, machete in hand, and slices away at the plants.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the story, Jason's mother tells him a bunch of facts about several plants in the Glades, including some trivia about how traveler's palms will store water in their fronds. Naturally her stories bore Jason, but later when Jason is stuck to some plant goo and surrounded by killer plants, he recognizes one of them as a traveler's palm, whereupon he remembers his mother's anecdotes and breaks part of its fronds for the water to free himself.
  • Creepy Good: Snake Eyes, the hermit Jason meets at the side of the cabin. He has one eye and rotten teeth, talks with a sneer in his voice, looks and sounds like a stereotypical Serial Killer... and is a good man who saved Jason's life later on, besides helping him out of the jungle after he got lost.
  • Good Luck Charm: Jason has a lucky rock which he keeps on his dresser. It ends up being the first item stolen by the sentient plants as a warning for the family to leave the Glades or else.
  • Green Aesop: Jason's botanist mother, whose experiments leads to all the mess in the story, eventually learns not to destroy the environment for money.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Jason's kid brother, Timmy, says this in-verbatim several times when he's pursued by the Everglades' killer plants. Then again, he is a kid stuck in a forest trying to kill him.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The plants attack humans who harm the environment.
  • Minimalist Cast: The entire story is set in the thick Florida rainforest, with Jason and his brother Timmy trying to survive on their own. The hermit Snake-Eyes shows up sporadically, while the boys' mother disappears halfway through before coming back in the last chapter.
  • Red Herring: Most of the story seems to mislead Jason — and the readers — into thinking that the creepy one-eyed hermit, Snake Eyes, who lives in a cabin at the edge of the forest and is often seen with a machete is a murderer out to get Jason's family. Nope — Snake Eyes is a good man, and it's the plants which want them dead for destroying the environment.
  • Machete Mayhem: In the final battle as the plants start converging on Jason's family, with Snake Eyes coming to the rescue, Snake Eyes puts his trusty machete to good use hacking away branches and vines trying to grab the family.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Besides killer plants, Jason and his brother also have to contend with crocodiles in the Florida bayou, with a Morton's Fork moment when the two boys are chased by plants and reaching a river full of crocodiles. They escape by hopping over the crocodile's backs, somehow.
  • Potty Failure: Jason's kid brother suffers this fate when the two of them are pursued by killer plants in the Everglades. The first thing Jason does once he's in the comfort of his cabin is to change his brother's shorts.
  • Shout-Out: The book references The Wizard of Oz at multiple points. Jason and his family are from Kansas, and at several points lines from the film is quoted in-verbatim, like Jason telling his mother "I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" early on. It gets really blatant with Jason's narration in the final page: "As Dorothy would've said, There's no place like home!"
  • Stab the Scorpion: When Jason sees Snake Eyes for the second time — as he is fleeing from him (believing Snake Eyes to be a murderer after his family) Snake Eyes has a machete with him, which he swings at Jason... past his ear, killing a poisonous snake about to bite Jason and pulling him away. At this point Jason realizes that Snake Eyes is actually an ally.
  • Sticky Situation: An instance not played for comedy, but the living plants tend to leave behind sticky green goop everywhere their vines touch. Initially it's some gunk on Jason's dresser when some plants stole his lucky rock, but later the plants attack en masse covering most of the family cabin in green goo. Jason at one point gets his foot stuck on some of the goo and is nearly devoured by the plants until he breaks a traveler's palm for water in the fronds.
  • Vine Tentacles: The living plants use these to assault Jason and his family, trying to grab them for their intrusion, and the final battle has Snake Eyes hacking those vines aside while saving them.
  • When Trees Attack: The very premise of the story, when Jason's botanist mother moves her family to the Florida Everglades to study the plants and harvesting them for creating chemical fertilizers. And then it turns out those plants are sentient and want to eliminate the entire family for their intrusion.

    #03: Ghost Writer 

  • Agony of the Feet: Amber gets a splinter running into her big toe while showing her new friend Kelly around the house. Luckily, Kelly comes prepared with a first-aid kit.
  • Alliterative Family: The McAfee sisters are named Hannah, Helen and Harriet.
  • Clear My Name: Subverted, the ghost of Helen McAfee wants to clear her sister Hannah's name, due to Hannah being mistaken for murdering Helen over a love affair with a boy named Jim back in the 1940s. Both Jim and Hannah are still alive in the story, but are extremely bitter over the incident from half a century ago.
  • Covers Always Lie: The first of several examples in the series, but at no point in the adventure does an animated skeleton show up.
  • Floorboard Failure: Amber and David realize the new house the moved into isn't all that neat when David steps through a broken floorboard on the staircase.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Whenever Mrs. Elliston calls Amber "Amber Elliston", Amber knows she's going to be in trouble.
  • Ghostly Goals: The ghost of Helen McAfee, who discreetly reveals herself to Amber and haunts her. And in the process, gets Amber to reveal the truth behind Helen's death — that she wasn't killed by her sister, Hannah, like the rumours claimed, but by her own crush.
  • Love Triangle: One in the backstory which leads to Helen McAfee's death — the McAfee sisters, Helen and Hannah, are music students both in love with the same boy, the guitarist Jim, with Jim showing affection to Helen instead of Hannah. When Hannah dedicates a song to Jim during a talent show, the furious Helen ends up running from the school and Hannah have to follow her, and the next day Helen is revealed to have drowned in a river with Hannah the suspect behind her demise.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: This seems to be the backstory leading to the death of Helen McAfee, who shares a crush with Hannah on a student named Jim, leading to Hannah pushing Helen into a river and Make It Look Like an Accident. Subverted by the ending revelation when the now-elderly crush, Jim, shows up — it turns out he was the one who killed her in an Accidental Murder moment, and is afraid to reveal the truth before going into hiding. Hannah got the blame but was unable to be acquitted due to lack of evidence, and Helen's goal is to clear her sister's name.
  • Quieting the Unquiet Dead: Helen McAfee's ghost is finally able to move on after revealing the truth and clearing her sister Hannah's name.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Amber's kid brother David pranks her when they moved into their new house by sneaking through a back door and suddenly appearing to his sister in the dark, shinning his flashlight up his face while smiling at her. Amber is not amused.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Amber is the Girly Girl, while her new friend Kelly is the Tomboy. Amber is timid, easily spooked, afraid of everything and likes painting her nails; Kelly (being the police chief's daughter) is far braver, drives around in a 4-wheeler, stomps on a bug which scares Amber and isn't afraid of playing rough.
  • Wham Line: From the now-elderly Jim, whose confession clears up every mystery behind Helen McAfee's death.
    Jim: You thought I was seeing Hannah. You were hysterical. I was only trying to grab you to calm you down. I didn't mean to push you into the river!

    #04: The Animal Rebellion 

  • Accidental Truth: Early in the story, Brad and Uncle Bob prank Winston that the farm is haunted and full of restless animal spirits, before telling him "Gotcha!" — a day before the farm starts running amok due to a cursed video game.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: The first sign something's wrong with the farm? The horses suddenly developing a taste for blood and biting people. Followed by roosters and sheep.
  • City Mouse: The protagonist Winston is a Chicago kid spending the weekends at his Uncle Bob's farm. Naturally he thought it'd be boring, until his cousin Brad shows him there's a computer containing numerous video games he's never heard of. He even sounds like a stereotypical 90s city mouse!
    "Wow, I didn't know farms even had computers."
  • Crying Wolf: Because of Brad and Uncle Bob repeatedly pranking Winston when he first checks into their farm, when Brad gets attacked by Demon (a horse) and has his arm chewed badly, Winston's first reaction is telling Brad to cut it out. Until he noticed his cousin's arm is badly bleeding.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Subverted with the farm's horse, "Demon", whom Brad claims is a sweet, tame, gentle animal... only for Demon to suddenly go crazy and attack Brad, biting his hand with enough force to draw blood. It turns out the curse game console had something to do with Demon's misbehaviour, but otherwise Demon's perfectly fine.
  • Endless Game: The in-universe computer game, Animal Killers, whose manual claims "it's endless fun because the game is endless". Fun if it's played on a computer, but not so fun for Brad and Winston when they're trying to figure out how the game ends in order to stop the titular animal rebellion.
  • Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death: All of the video games that get mentioned have names like Death Commandos, Terrible Battle II and Dogfights to the Death.
  • Lovable Jock: Brad, who often plays rough with Winston and likes pranking his nerdy cousin, but turns out to be a rather chill guy Winston easily gets along with, even carrying Winston to safety during the animal assault when the latter trips and hit his head on a table. They like calling each other "Jockhead" and "Geekhead" affectionately just for fun.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: The book features a cursed (...or something, it's never really explained) computer game that causes all animals in the immediate vicinity to go violently insane. In order to reverse the effects of the game (which was purposely Unwinnable, being the kind where you just have try and survive for as long as possible) Brad and Winston have to wipe it from the hard drive and destroy the physical copy.
  • No Ontological Inertia: As it turns out, the only way to stop the animal rebellion isn't to win the cursed Animal Killers game, but to destroy the physical copy of the game itself. Unable to find a solution, in desperation Winston decides to just throw the damn thing into the fireplace and suddenly, the animals are all back to normal.
  • A Planet Named Zok: The book isn't in the sci-fi genre, but Winston lampshades farm living as such.
    "When you're an earth man stuck on Planet Zorgon, you have to live like the Zorgons."
  • Post-Final Boss: Given how a cursed video game cartridge figures into the plot, the supposedly benevolent horse named "Demon" serves this role. After Winston incinerates the game's physical copy, the chickens, goats, cows and other livestock revert to normalcy, but as Brad and Winston comes out their hiding-place they're suddenly attacked by the still-hostile Demon, chasing them across the house. Turns out Demon is still under the game's control, and Winston needs to uninstall it from Brad's computer before deleting all virtual saved files to finally stop the rebellion.
  • Scary Shadow Fakeout: Winston gets spooked on his second night in the farm by a silhouette of an ax-wielding madman in the yard, which turns out to be some bushes and a piece of farming tool left unkept in the branches.
  • Shout-Out:
    • No guesses as to what classic novel The Animal Rebellion is an homage to.
    • Winston is a huge Trekkie, constantly referencing Captain Kirk and claims he's boldly going where no man had gone before, comparing country life like an alien world and even quotes "Beam Me Up, Scotty!" and accidentally calling Brad "Spock" at one point.
    [repeated line] What would Captain Kirk do?
  • Swarm of Rats: As a sign that it's not just domesticated animals affected by the curse, Brad and Winston manage to flee from the legions of animals overrunning the hall into the attic... only to be assaulted by the dozens of rodents living in there, forcing Brad and Winston to escape to the roof.
  • Tuckerization: M.D. Spenser dedicated the book to someone named "Bob", who shares a name with Winston's Uncle Bob.
  • Woken Up at an Ungodly Hour: Winston, investigating the farm in the dead of night after sensing something's amiss, was attacked by a suddenly-hostile rooster, at which point he wakes up Brad. The latter tells Winston to cut it out while burying his head back under his pillows, until Winston literally drags Brad out his bed.
  • Zerg Rush: When the crazy farm animals begin assaulting the house en masse, the first to get in are the chickens (thanks to the goats eating away the fence). Who then try overwhelming Brad and Winston through numbers.

    #05: The Locked Room 

  • Alliterative Name: Bill Beard, and a Meaningful Name once you realize whom he's named after.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: The first of many instances in Shivers, and Brittany's brother Eric might be one of the worst examples. His Establishing Character Moment sees him stealing his sister's locket, containing the photo of their biological father whom Brittany is attached to, to annoy his sister before throwing it into an airplane's trash bag when Brittany demands he return it. He does mellow out later in the story.
  • Berserk Button: Bill unexpectedly loses his cool, calm demeanor and suddenly lashes out at Eric when Eric curiously tries picking up one of the keys in Bill's many rooms. Specifically, the huge bronze one — because that's where he kept the portraits of his previous, murdered wives. Bill's sudden reaction and unprovoked raising of his voice causes Brittany to do a Spit Take with her lemonade.
    Don't touch my keys!
  • The Bluebeard: Bill killed all his previous wives before marrying Brittany's mother, which is discovered by pictures of his wives in the titular locked room. His full name is Bill Beard, a rather deliberate reference.
  • Book Ends: With a fine bit of irony. At the start, Eric tries annoying Brittany by stealing her prized locket containing photos of her mother and father, and attempts throwing it away to spite her. At the end after defeating Bill Beard and escaping, and reuniting their parents, Brittany decides to throw away her own locket anyways.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Towards the ending, Brittany and Eric go from annoying each other to working together to expose Bill Beard's dark secrets to their mother, and teaming up to attack Bill when he finds out the truth. In the final chapter both Brittany and Eric are having a ball together at their Uncle Ian's place.
  • Complete Immortality: Bill Beard, who, if his history lesson of the old house to his new family is any indication. Said house was burnt down in a fire in 1862, when Bill — posing as his ancestor William — kills his first wife, then claims she started the fire in an attempt on his life. Gets a bit of foreshadowing when Brittany's mother comments that Bill knew so much about what happened in the past as if he were there, causing Bill's face to suddenly turn red.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Unlocking the titular room and revealing the portrait's of Bill's murdered wives somehow also releases their spirits. When Bill finds out Brittany had exposed the truth, he tries chasing her down only for his past wives' ghosts to swarm over him.
  • Evidence Dungeon: The titular locked room contains the portraits of Bill's past wives — his victims. Each portrait has a single golden wedding ring dangling underneath, attached by a long rope made of the victim's hair.
  • Improvised Weapon: The revelation scene at the end occurs when Bill is making Brittany and Eric repaint the house. After the mother finds out the truth, Bill suddenly returns, at which point Eric uses his still-wet paint roller to smack Bill in the face. Shortly afterwards the mother whacks Bill's head with a paint-can.
  • Mirror Scare: The ghost of Bill Beard's first wife makes herself known to Brittany via a mirror, causing Brittany to suddenly jump. And it happens again when Brittany tricks Bill into entering her room and looking under her bed — when Bill stands up next to the room's mirror, Brittany catches several ghosts of Bill's past wives reflected upon it.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Bill Beard lets out one of these after Brittany and Eric's mother discovers the locked room's truth. Yes, it's all in caps.
    Bill: [Suddenly Shouting] I gave you my name. My devotion. A beautiful home. And this is how you repay me! WELL... I... DON'T... LIKE... THAT! I WON'T STAND FOR IT!
  • Spooky Photographs: Before moving into Bill's house, Brittany looks at her precious locket with the photo of her father and mother from their younger days. A supernatural warning then occurs, with Brittany's mother on the photo suddenly having a red mark drawn across her neck before quickly turning to normal. At the end of the story, Brittany and Eric's parents have reconciled, and Brittany looks at her locket again... only to see Bill Beard — supposedly killed by his ghost-wives — appearing in the locket's photos. Which makes her decide to throw away the damn thing for good.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The not-yet-dead variant. Brittany keeps a locket containing the photo of her biological father, whom she was close to, everywhere she goes. Her brother Eric, who preferred their mother, actually tries throwing the locket away early on.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Bill Beard is a Wicked stepfather to Brittany and Eric, and a family exterminator who claimed the lives of at least six past families.

    #06: The Haunting House 

  • Crying Wolf: Lynne, the prank-loving younger sister, repeatedly plays tricks on Caitlin (like fooling Caitlin into believing she fell down a pit and making Caitlin think there's a giant monster in their new house's dusty floor). Because of this, when Lynne starts crying as a drawer spookily shuts on her finger, Caitlin thinks it's another one of her pranks. But then Caitlin realize Lynne's finger is swollen and throbbing, and something is not right with their new house.
  • Human Ladder: At one point, Lynne stands on Caitlin's back to try and grab a box that the house has moved out of their reach. It doesn't work.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The house has clearly defined rules about what it can and can't do: it can't use the owners' belongings for violence, but it can make them move. Anything that's part of the house is fair game as a weapon.
  • New House, New Problems: The protagonists move into a new house, which discover is intelligent and has murderous intentions towards its new residents.
  • The Power of Love: This is how the heroes manage to defeat the Haunting House — the house only wants to be loved, so by feeling love towards it, saying it's a wonderful place and that they want to stay there, Caitlin and Lynne are able to tame it and make it safe for their family.
  • Recursive Canon: When Caitlin and Lynne try to tell their father the house is haunted, he responds that the idea of a ghost sounds like "something out of those Shivers books you read".
  • Sapient House: The titular Haunting House. The book explains that while a haunted house has ghosts that don't intentionally harm the inhabitants, a haunting house, which the protagonists move into, has the house itself hate anyone who comes into it due to having been abandoned for so long and want to kill them, which it then attempts to do to the protagonists. They're ultimately able to tame it through expressing love towards it.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: At one point, Lynne has to go into a secret passage to try and find a way out. The house promptly starts trying to shrink the passage and crush her; luckily, she winds up falling down a chute that was inside it instead.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The titular Haunting House tries to kill anyone inside it, including twelve-year-old Caitlin and nine-year-old Lynne.

    #07: The Awful Apple Orchard 

  • And Then John Was a Zombie: And then Daniel and Sara are the orchard's new resident ghosts, having been killed in the cider room. They end the story plotting to play pranks on the next family that visits said orchard in the same way they were pranked by the orchards' previous ghosts, with Daniel hoping "they have kids too", so that "they can have some real fun"!
  • Big Brother Instinct: Sara visibly freaks out when realizing something's amiss in the orchard. Daniel merely assures her that if anything else happens, he will be there to protect her. Much later in the story, Daniel sees his sister stuck in a large basket full of apples, on a conveyer belt leading to the pulping machine's gears, and risks his life to save her. Which is great and all, too bad it's not enough to keep them both alive for the entire story.
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway: Daniel mentions how he was nearly killed a few months before the story proper when a car runs into him in an accident, and he's lucky to be alive. He died getting pulped alive in the cider mill anyways.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Daniel visibly freaks out when seeing the grinding machine in the orchard's cider mill, where hundreds of apples are graphically pulped and juiced. Guess how he — and Sara — dies.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: Sara was unexpectedly caught in one of these after falling into a barrel of apples, leading towards the factory's cider-making machine, with Daniel leaping on the belt and trying to grab and pull her to safety. It appears to have worked and both siblings escapes from the machine, until the final chapter's revelation.
  • Cover Drop: The cover art presumably depicts Daniel and Sara's return to the orchard's cider plant in the final chapter, without their parents. Before they find out they're already dead.
  • Death of a Child: At the ending, Daniel and Sara find their mangled bodies inside the cider press and realize they'd been killed earlier in the book.
  • Free-Range Children: Deconstructed version, but Daniel and Sara (respectively twelve and eleven) are free to explore the huge orchard, whose facilities includes various gift shops, miles and miles of apple farms without fences, and a factory with pulping machines for making cider in a plant whose entrance is unchecked. It's dangerous even without taking the ghosts allegedly haunting said orchard into account, yet the parents allow both Daniel and Sara to wander about without raising an eyebrow, even sending them back to the orchard from the safety of their vacation cabin to buy some MacIntosh Apples for making pie. This naturally results in both Daniel and Sara getting minced by the grinding machine after wandering a little too far.
  • Ghostly Chill: The last chapter where Daniel takes Sarah's hand has him realizing how weirdly cold her hand is. Then they reach the orchard and find out they're ghosts.
  • Ground by Gears: How Daniel and Sara died — from falling into a grinding machine meant for making apple cider and graphically pulped alive.
  • Healthy in Heaven: This appears to be the case with Sara in the final chapters; despite spraining her ankle while fleeing the orchard, unable to walk without Daniel's assistance and barely able to pedal back alive, when she wakes Daniel in the dead of night to re-visit the plant she can walk and run just fine. Then it turns out both Daniel and Sara had died in the pulping room — it seems like Sara's leg injury is offset the moment she realized she's a ghost.
  • Invisible to Adults: How the pranks from the orchard's ghosts work; Daniel and Sara can see their family car loaded with apples, that the cider has somehow turned to blood, and the car is somehow invisible, but their parents couldn't see a damn thing. Daniel instead decides to tell Sara it's not worth trying to convince their parents and deal with the ghosts themselves, which bites them back hard in the ass in the end.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Daniel and Sara's parents, Bob and Mary. With both their children pulped alive by the orchard's cider plant, they'll be quite curious as to where their children disappeared in the dead of night before their corpses are presumably discovered by the plant's workers the following morning.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The literary version, but try reading the entire book with knowledge that Daniel and Sara both suffered a grisly death via pulping machine.
    • One of the first chapters have Daniel delivering this line, which speaks massive volumes once you got to the final chapter.
    "But if I had known what was going to happen at that old cider mill, I would have been glad to just stay at home and go to school. At least the school doesn't have ghosts that try to kill people."
    • In another instance, Daniel talks about how the ghosts would know where he lives from the note his parents left in his pockets... if there was anything else left to be found. Which makes a whole lot of sense when you realize he was minced to a bloody pulp in the story's conclusion.
    • Daniel gets separated from Sara while the two are exploring the orchard, only to find her in the cider plant, observing how the machines work with fascination. Daniel reacts with disgust at apples getting graphically squashed in the crusher and drags Sara away, causing Sara to call him a jerk for spoiling her fun, making Daniel remark he "wouldn't care Sara is his sister and it's fine with him of the plant's machinery wants to grind her up, flesh and bones and all."
    • It gets really blatant in the picnic scene, with the father telling Daniel and Sara the orchard's alleged backstory; the ghosts are supposedly kids around their age, who died from falling into the cider-making plant.
    • Prior to the big revelation, when Sara as a ghost urges Daniel to go back to the now-closed apple mill, Daniel's comment pretty much seals their subsequent fate.
    "This is going to get us killed for sure!"
  • Tempting Fate: For most of the story's first half before everything goes wrong, the parents would jokingly warn Daniel and Sara to "Watch out for ghosts!" and "The orchard might be haunted!" when the duo tried exploring the cider mill by themselves. It turns out the orchard really is haunted, and it ends in the worst outcome possible.
  • Woken Up at an Ungodly Hour: In the last chapter, Sara wakes up her brother Daniel in the middle of the night, telling him to follow her to the orchard's cider mill. A sleepy and annoyed Daniel reluctantly follows, and then finds out the truth that they never actually escaped the cider.
  • Worm in an Apple: One of the first pranks from the ghosts haunting said orchard involves having Sara take a bite from an apple taken from the titular orchard and see a worm in it, causing her to freak out and dropping the apple. Upon closer inspection, the worm has somehow disappeared — it's later revealed to be part of the illusions caused by the ghosts haunting the orchard.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The second-to-last chapter ends with Daniel successfully rescuing Sarah from being pulped by the factory's machines, and escaping back to their parents, where they then had a celebratory dinner for surviving their vacation. Then, the last chapter has Sarah waking Daniel in the dead of night, to tell him she discovered something else and asks him to follow her to the mill. Where their bodies are located, having failed to escape the mill after all.
  • You Can See That, Right?: When Daniel comes back to his family's car and sees that it's somehow loaded with apples, he asks Sara this question.

    #08: Terror on Troll Mountain 

  • All Trolls Are Different: The troll in this story, for instance (which the book refers to as "Orco" because of the Italian setting) is a hairy, humanoid creature who dwells in the Italian woods, and seems to have more in common with the yeti than actual European trolls. It can also be driven off by symbols of love and goodness.
  • Are We There Yet?: Asked by Paul in the first chapter, on the drive from Milan airport to Pinzolo. Neither his dad or Uncle Frederico answer.
  • Big Eater: Paul has quite an appetite, which makes him carsick after having too many sandwiches at the airport. It does help when he reached the Albertis' ancestral home in Pinzolo though, since they make huge meals of local Italian food for lunch and dinner daily.
  • Blinding Camera Flash: Meeting the Orco face-to-face, a desperate Paul realizes the only thing he has is his camera. Luckily, the flash still works, which scares away the Orco.
  • Breather Episode: For readers who want to check out Shivers in numerical order, this is a relatively light-hearted adventure without any genuinely horrifying moments, and the Orco is a mildly scary encounter near the end. It's appropriately sandwiched between two unnecessarily dark and gory entries, The Awful Apple Orchard and The Curse of the New Kid.
  • Cassandra Truth: Paul meets a hairy humanoid creature who's presumably the Orco early on, only for his Italian extended family to dismiss him as meeting a local, hairy wild-man. He eventually manages to convince his cousin Anthony of the Orco's existence, but fails to obtain any actual evidence (while getting himself and Anthony into trouble for losing his grandmother's prized ring in the process). Finally, finally, Paul and Anthony confront the Orco, Paul having his camera along which works well enough to drive the creature away thanks to the flash... only for Paul to find out he forgot to load the film.
  • Cat Scare: While Paul and his cousin Anthony are exploring and find an old cabin on the mountain, Paul peers in... and freaks out, falling backwards, when he sees a pair of eyes looking back out at him. It turns out to just be the pet cat of the cabin's owner.
  • City Mouse: How Paul, an Italian-American from Chicago, feels when he's hanging around in the rural Italian town of Pinzolo. Everything was "old like those black-and-white movies..."
  • Country Cousin: Paul's Italian cousin and the book's secondary character, Anthony. They spend most of the story arguing over which is better, the big city (which Anthony thinks is awesome) or the rural countryside (which Paul prefers).
  • Covers Always Lie: An example not involving skeletons, for once, but the cover art depicts the troll as a mountain-sized monstrosity with Giant Hands of Doom as large as Paul himself. When the troll finally reveals itself in the story's conclusion, it's taller than a tree but by no means kaiju sized.
  • Disney Villain Death: The Orco is defeated by falling off a snow-covered peak. In summer. Subverted when the same creature returns in Shriek Home Chicago.
  • Dream Intro: The first chapter ends with Paul, his father, and Uncle Frederico driving off a cliff. The second begins with Paul's father waking him up because they've arrived at Uncle Frederico's place.
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: Near the end before the Orco shows itself, Paul and Anthony somehow trigger an avalanche by arguing. Despite the story being set in summer.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Paul suggests this to Anthony when the two are stuck in an old, empty shack. Unfortunately the Italian Anthony doesn't understand what "splitting up" means, and Paul contemplates on whether to explain to Anthony how American slangs works before deciding against it.
    Anthony: What should we split?
  • Naturalized Name: Inverted with Paul's native Italian family, whose Italian names are translated into English for the readers' sake. For instance, Uncle Frederico is called "Uncle Fred" while Aunt Natalia is "Aunt Nat".
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: Because of the story's Italian setting, M.D. Spenser would like to remind how the characters' names are pronounced. For instance, Italian-American protagonist Paul is called "Paulo" by his uncle's native Italian family, and it's pronounced "POW-LOW"; meanwhile his Italian grandmother Bianca is "BEE-yan-KA". Even names of Italian food comes with in-text pronunciation guides.

    #09: The Mystic's Spell 

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A skinny, oft-bullied little boy named Timmy visits a carnival mystic who can grant him "any wish he wants". He asks for Super-Strength, which the mystic asks him to reconsider; when Timmy persists anyway the mystic grants his request, but then things goes wrong.
  • Dirty Coward: Hank Wilson, leader of the bullies who often picks on Timmy. When Timmy gains Super-Strength thanks to visiting a mystic and effortlessly picks Hank over his head, Hank breaks down and cries begging Timmy not to throw him. He spends the remainder of the story as Timmy's yes-man.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: After gaining his new strength, Timmy tests it out by picking on his regular bullies, uses it to impress the audience around a Hi-Striker, excel at sports for once and enjoy being the school's center of attraction. But his strength causes him to accidentally break the local arcade's wrestling game and rip a hole in the school cafeteria's juice fountain.
  • The Freakshow: One of the many attractions in the carnival, whose displays includes the lamb with five legs and the two-headed calf.
  • Gang of Bullies: Hank Wilson and his two cronies, Jason and Duane, who delight in picking on smaller kids. As Timmy is the skinniest in class, it makes him a perfect target. Their Establishing Character Moment sees them mugging Timmy publicly for arcade money.
  • Magic Misfire: Timmy at the end of the story tries seeking the mystic who gave him his strength for it to be removed. Unfortunately, said mystic has left, but her daughter, a novice sorceress, could still help Timmy out. She does manage to remove Timmy's strength but accidentally gives Timmy the mind of a wolf in the process, which Timmy doesn't find out until a day after.
  • Only Friend: The skinny, overbullied protagonist, Timmy, only has one friend, Howard at the story's start. And the only fellow student whose friendship with Timmy is genuine, considering the bullies and cool kids only considered hanging out with Timmy after the latter become a star thanks to his extreme strength. Even after Timmy's strength made him an outcast, Howard still sticks around.
  • "Test Your Strength" Game: Shortly after realizing his new strength, Timmy decides to test it out in the carnival's Hi-Striker. His strength causes the game's power indicator to smash through the bell.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: A scrawny little kid performing feats of extreme strength in public, like demolishing the Hi-Striker with a "mallet as big as himself" and destroying public property simply by "touching", and somehow nobody raises an eye (except for the principal, but even then Principal Halpern merely asks Timmy to stay home late when the latter refuse to disclose his source of strength). Not even the school questions how an oft-bullied, skinny kid managed to become a star athlete after a week in a carnival.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Anyone wonders if M.D. Spenser wrote this story after watching Big one time too many?
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Timmy decides his excessive strength is too much for him, making him an outcast among his peers and his parents upset, and so decides to visit the same mystic to have his strength removed. Alas, the mystic left ahead of time, with the mystic's daughter — a novice sorceress — the only person capable of undoing the spell. The novice sorceress warns Timmy that she could cast a reversal spell, but it might come with the side-effects of giving a person animalistic traits. Timmy decides to take the risk and surprisingly, the reversal spell works, and Timmy's normal again but then he starts howling in class.

    #10: The Curse of the New Kid 

  • All Just a Dream: What this entire mess of a story ultimately turns out to be — a nervous, oft-bullied kid named Lucas was about to transfer into John F. Kennedy Middle School, and wonders what would happen if he's bullied in his new school as well. And then dreams that he has powers to give bad luck to everyone around him leading to all sorts of chaos. Interestingly, there's another chapter halfway through where Lucas has a Dream Within a Dream of him attending the funeral of two people he killed with misfortune.
  • Alliterative Name: Lucas Lytle, Leon Lennon, and Billy Butkis (fitting for a bully who later becomes a Professional Butt-Kisser towards Lucas). There's also Coach Collins, if that counts, and a fat girl Lucas condescendingly nicknames Wanda the Whale.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The book is a Whole-Plot Reference to Carrie, save for having a Gender Fliped protagonist. Who spends the entire story getting picked on until some unknown powers manifests within himself causing chaos to break out on his bullies. Incidentally, the Goosebumps entry Calling All Creeps! (released the same year) uses an identical premise.
  • Apathetic Teacher: If a character openly picking upon Lucas isn't a student, it's a teacher. Special mention to the sadistic gym coach, Collins.
    Coach Collins: Lytle, what is your problem today? I've seen girls — fat girls — do more sit-ups than you. Ain't you had your wheaties today, boy?
    Coach Collins: Five more sit-ups, Lytle, you little sissy. My 80-year-old grandmother can do five sit-ups.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • A bully named Billy picks on Lucas on the bus for no reason, just as Lucas' bad luck powers started developing. So Billy gets his entire left hand snagged and snapped by the bus' doors, which mysteriously slam close before he can get out — as always, M.D. Spenser doesn't shy away on graphically describing the details. "His arm hung from his body like some useless rag..."
    • Lucas' regular bully, Huff, has both his legs and arms mangled after Lucas catches Huff attempting to force himself upon Ruby.
  • Bad Luck Charm: Lucas Lytle is a living example of this trope, who can cause accidents and mishaps to bullies around him. And then Lucas' power to over his head and he begins threatening people who did nothing wrong to him or offended him in incredibly minor ways...
  • Bait-and-Switch: After the gym incident where Lucas' bad luck causes another student named Ralph to fall on Coach Collins, the next chapter is a funeral attended by the whole class. Before everyone decides Lucas is indeed the cause of every accident so far, and decide to go Torches and Pitchforks on him... then the following chapter sees Lucas jumping up from a Catapult Nightmare, revealing the funeral part is All Just a Dream. In the last chapter, the whole story turns out to be a nervous, nerdy Lucas imagining all kinds of awful things that could happen when transferring into John F. Kennedy Middle School, making the funeral bit a Dream Within a Dream.
  • Barbaric Bully: While everyone in John F. Kennedy Middle School is a bully to Lucas to some degree, Jerk Jock Huff takes it to another degree by dismantling Lucas' locker in front of him, before pushing Lucas to the floor and putting his foot — wearing studded soccer boots — on Lucas' face, and threatening to kick Lucas across the face. In public.
  • Bland-Name Product: There's a burger joint called Burger Hut, who presumably doesn't sell ''pizza'.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Barring The Awful Apple Orchard (spoilers, but for Apple which has the main characters discovering their mangled bodies at the story's conclusion), this is the goriest Shivers entry at that point of the series, with bullies suffering dismembered limbs, their skin peeled off, skulls breaking, and at one point a bully got mangled so badly "his shirt is the only thing holding his body together". The word "blood" gets thrown around quite a bit, too. M.D. Spender really went off the rails with the description of gore in this one.
  • Body Horror: The fates of every bully who picked on Lucas, in increasingly gory and disturbing ways. It starts with a bully named Billy getting his arm torn off by a closing bus door, another named Leon having his skull crack open from slipping, and culminates in Lucas' worst bully Huff getting his jaws ripped off and his legs dismembered and the quartet of jocks, Jason, Greg, Dylan and Pete getting mangled alive with every bone in their body snapped and their skins torn to shreds.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Huff, the biggest and meanest bully in school, attempts intimidating Lucas at one point, causing Lucas to wet himself. And of course Huff pokes fun on him.
    Huff: [addressing other bullies] See guys. He's not so bad. He's just a little baby who needs his diaper changed.
  • Bully Magnet: The protagonist, Lucas Lytle, is the easiest target of bullies in literally every school he enrolls in, due to his nerdy demeanor and awkward attitude. He lampshades it in the first page.
    Lucas: No matter where I go, no matter what I do, I always get picked on. Maybe I have a birthmark on the back of my head that says "Beat Me Up".
  • Copycat Mockery: A random bully named Billy pulls this off after slapping Lucas' head on the bus for no reason. This however leads to the An Arm and a Leg moment above.
    Lucas: Hey, cut that out!
    Billy: [mockingly] Hey, cut that out!
    [cue the entire bus laughing, and chanting, "Cut that out! Cut that out!"]
  • The Dog Bites Back: Comes along with a story that's practically a Carrie homage. Everyone who picked on Lucas ends up suffering in increasingly horrible ways, the moment Lucas realizes he can literally create misfortune and inflict it on his bullies and hated teachers. By the last few chapters, he's practically the King of the Students, with Billy — the first bully who suffered the effects of Lucas' powers, but incidentally one whose body is in one piece — carrying Lucas' bag for him using one good arm.
  • Fingore: Miss Swimmer, another teacher who's nasty to Lucas, has her fingers burnt off and fused together when she tries grabbing Lucas for not paying attention.
  • The Food Poisoning Incident: The supernatural version; Lucas makes an entire cafeteria's worth of kids suffer from food poisoning (loads of graphic vomiting included) because some nerds made fun of him. By the next lesson, gym class, there are only six students present due to everyone else getting hospitalized.
  • Gang of Bullies: Literally every male character with a name is out to pick on Lucas, including the geeks and bespectacled nerds. Even the girls indulge in making fun of Lucas, notably when four bullies (Jason, Greg, Dylan and Pete) try ganging upon Lucas in front of their cheerleader girlfriends who simply laugh.
  • Getting Suspended Is Awesome: After Principal Peterson's alleged "suicide", Lucas, being the prime suspect (as everything terrible that happened the past few days occurred to his bullies and despised teacher) receives a two-week suspension from school. It turns out to be a bit of unishment since he can play video games and watch television all day — besides smoking in his room, which his parents didn't know about.
  • Ironic Nickname: The protagonist, Lucas Lytle, is often called "Lucky Luke" by his parents... and he's anything but, being a Bully Magnet and openly looked down upon by teachers and coaches. At least in the story's first half anyway — by the second half, he's a walking bringer of bad luck, but only on his intended victims.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Before Lucas realize he has powers, and is still a Bully Magnet, his bullies tends to call him "Pukey Luke", "Puke Lytle" or some other variant.
  • New Transfer Student: Main character Lucas Lytle is a new student in John F. Kennedy Middle School, an extremely unfriendly school environment, filled with bullies, jocks, and terrible teachers.
  • Only-Child Syndrome: Lucas wonders if life would be different if he had a brother, commenting that he doesn't like being an only child and is outnumbered by parents by default. The only perk is that he gets his own room.
  • The Power of Hate: This is implied to be how Lucas' powers of inflicting misfortune works — with months of bullying resulting in rage and anger building within himself, he can us his rage to project misfortune on his victims. Lampshaded by Lucas himself at the start of one of the last chapters.
    Hate is the most powerful emotion. Hate destroys. Hate is eternal. Hate outlasts love; hate survives generations.
    I know about hate. I know its powers. I know it what it can destroy. I know what it can kill.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Suffered by Lucas' last victim, Principal Peterson. Who jumps out his office's window after Lucas messes with his mind.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stuffed into a Locker: The first — of many — bullying methods Huff pulls off on Lucas. Later on Huff intimidates Lucas by deliberately vandalizing Lucas' locker.
  • Suddenly Shouting:
    • Principal Peterson when interrogating Lucas after the locker incident, which sees Huff hospitalized.
    • Huff does this when Lucas finally decide to go full-power on the bully, after Huff tries forcing himself on Lucas' new girlfriend Ruby.
    "I"LL KILL YOU!"
  • Title Drop: When Lucas starts embracing his powers of causing misfortune.
    I'm cursed, that's what I am. The Curse of the New Kid.
  • Tied-Together-Shoelace Trip: A bully named Leon who tripped Lucas subsequently suffers this fate when Lucas' bad luck powers cause his shoelaces to mysteriously entangle, causing Leon to fall. Unlike Lucas who's unharmed by his fall, Leon lands with his head against a desk corner. And as usual, M.D. Spencer spares no details ("blood was squirting in the air before his head hit the floor...")
  • Vomit Chain Reaction: Two bullies, Arnold and Wanda, make fun of Lucas in the cafeteria, oblivious of Lucas' powers (this was after the incident with Billy and Leon by the way). So Lucas' powers causes Arnold to throw up on Wanda. And then, the other nerds hanging out with Arnold suffer the same fate — cue every remaining kid in the cafeteria making a run for the exit.
    "The whole cafeteria was one slimy, stinky pile of puke-covered kids..."
  • Walking Disaster Area: Lucas starts off as an often-bullied kid, until some unknown curse makes everyone around him unlucky — from his bullies suffering one mishaps after another, to the nerd who insulted him getting food poisoning, and an "accident" where a fellow bully who picked on Lucas fell off some ropes and lands on the gym coach leading to both getting hospitalized.
  • World of Jerkass: From the nerds to the jocks and the teachers and coaches, there isn't a character in this story that doesn't behave like a dick. Well, maybe save for Ruby, a Nice Girl Lucas hangs out with near the end. Even the protagonist, Lucas Lytle, allows his jerkass tendencies to get the better of him once he realize he's emanating a curse that makes everyone around him suffer bad luck, and proceeds to indulge in his new powers.

    #11: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? 

  • Alliterative Name: Josh Jennings, the protagonist, his friend Chet Carter, and Bessie Butler, a character who mysteriously vanished prior to the story.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Whether Josh escaped the Studervant cannibals or not is beyond anyone's guess. Josh assumed he did after Michael helps him flee the dungeon, only for the final page to literally end with the Studervants' mother yelling for Michael and Gladys to bring dinner. That being, Josh.
  • Big Brother Bully: Inverted with Michael's younger sister, Gladys, who's quite a bit of a dick to her sibling, constantly picking on Michael and scolding him publicly for the slightest reasons.
    Mi-chael! I've got a bone to pick with you!
  • Evidence Dungeon: Josh's discovery of a hall loaded with portraits and photographs — some of them black-and-white dating to the Civil War — indicates how long the Studervant family has been cannibalizing on their guests. Right up to Josh seeing a picture of himself taken from a football game a year ago, and the revelation that he's been stalked for quite a while.
  • Fattening the Victim: The Studervant cannibals have done this to any skinnier victims they lured into their house, with Josh finding his math teacher, Mrs. Warner (who'd mysteriously disappeared from the school some time ago), locked in a cage in the Studervant basement, surrounded by plates of uneaten food.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The book features a family that is made up of cannibals. People who come to their house for dinner often vanish and at one point they capture a teacher with implied plans to eat her.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: Inverted — Michael's family presses him to be a cannibal like the rest of them, rather than trying to eat a normal human diet. His sister Gladys explodes angrily at him when she finds he'd eaten a regular cupcake, and he's very eager to eat a vegetarian pizza simply because it isn't human flesh.
  • Improvised Lockpick: For the second time since the very first book (The Enchanted Attic), a barrette (this one belonging to Josh's sister Megan) is used to pick a lock, specifically the door of the cage the Studervants locked Josh in. This time it works.
  • Lovable Jock: The protagonist, Josh Jennings, is an athlete and captain of the school's soccer team, but also a friendly and sociable fellow who tries befriending the school's loner Michael Sturdevant.
  • Shout-Out: The title is one to Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. The story is anything but comedic, however.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Michael, the brains to Josh's brawn, is introduced playing chess by himself. Josh tries joining him and the duo starts hanging out, and later on Michael constantly references his chess skills in conversation.
  • Title Drop: At the end of the eleventh chapter, and from Michael's shrill, overly-loud sister Gladys. It ends with an exclamation point instead of a question mark though.

    #12: The Secret of Fern Island 

  • Arc Words: "Can you Swim?" spoken by a spooky gramophone which activates itself when Kenny and gang are exploring the lighthouse, and in the final page when the ghostly little boy asks them that very question.
  • Bat Scare: As Kenny, Steph and everyone tries leaving the lighthouse after getting freaked out by the spooky gramophone, they step into a dark corridor which turns out to be filled with bats. Cue everyone fleeing from a thick flock of bats.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Kenny, Steph and Steph's sisters manage to escape the lighthouse and cross the bridge leading out of Fern Island. Once they make it to the other end, they realize the ghost-boy stalking them has followed the gang, all the way, and doesn't want them to leave Fern Island. The story ends right there, resulting in an Uncertain Doom situation.
  • Death of a Child: A young boy drowned near the pier of Fern Island in the backstory, and his ghost haunts anyone who enters the lighthouse.
  • Free-Range Children: A particular note-worthy instance. The main characters, Stephanie and Kenny, are grade-school, and Stephanie's sisters who tagged along the trip are younger than her, yet the whole gang gets to cross the restricted bridge to Fern Island without raising any alarms, what with the bridge's guardhouse abandoned and the entrance unlocked. It bites them back hard once they reached said island.
  • Hostile Weather: After crossing the bridge leading to Fern Island's lighthouse, an unexpected weather storm strands Kenny and Steph on said island. Which just happens to be haunted by a ghost-boy.
  • Lighthouse Point: The plot is kicked off when the daredevil protagonist Kenny and his tomboy best friend, Steph, decide to challenge each other to investigate an abandoned lighthouse on the edge of the titular island, reputedly haunted by a young boy who drowned while fishing years ago, accessible only by riding their bikes over a pier. And then a storm hits and strands them inside that lighthouse.
  • Newspaper Backstory: While investigating the abandoned lighthouse, Kenny and Steph come across a bunch of old newspaper clippings reporting of the missing boy.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The lighthouse has a gramophone that serves this purpose. When Kenny, Steph and their friends try looking for clues, the gramophone, supposedly unused for ages, suddenly starts playing creepy music scaring everyone — and then Steph deduces it's trying to communicate with them.
  • Prefers Going Barefoot: One of Stephanie's younger sisters, Becky, has the habit of removing her shoes every time she's indoors, just to "feel the floor of a new environment". Even if said indoors happens to be a dusty, junk-filled room of an abandoned lighthouse untouched for decades. It gets the gang into trouble when they realize something's amiss and attempts to flee — but Becky whines that she left her shoes behind and needs to go back.
  • Undead Child: The main characters are stalked by a ghost-boy haunting the Fern Island lighthouse.

    #13: The Spider Kingdom 

  • All Webbed Up: After slaughtering well over fifty spiders (revealed in the spider court as 53) in the attic, Freddy goes to the kitchen for a snack only to be attacked by a human-sized arachnid. Who proceeds to web Freddy up and carry him to the titular Kingdom to be tried for the spider massacre. It turns out Lumpy's already there.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Has one in the Bone Chillers novella, "Attack of the Killer Ants", considering both series are Goosebumps knockoffs made in the 90s. Two bullies and a victim are dragged underground by giant insects (spiders here instead of ants) who want them to suffer for killing their regular-sized counterparts, and must figure a way out. The characters here aren't related by blood though (whereas one of the trio from "Ants" is a Big Brother Bully) and unlike the ants, the spiders happens to be sentient.
  • All Just a Dream: The story ends with Freddy and Lumpy barely escaping the spiders... before Freddy suddenly wakes up, having dozed off while watching a documentary about spiders. But the next day, Freddy notices a marked change in Lumpy's personality.
  • I Am Very British: The Black Widow attorney presiding over Freddy and Lumpy's court-martial happens to speak with a British accent, for no given reason other than to highlight her position of authority among the other spiders.
  • Barbaric Bully: Freddy mentions a Noodle Incident where Lumpy tries pranking Tommy with firecrackers.
  • The Bully: One of Lumpy's first actions in the story is beating up a smaller kid named Tommy, and laughing when Tommy starts to cry. Even the main character Freddy seems unnerved, though not enough to tell Lumpy to cut it out.
  • Bully and Wimp Pairing: The two main characters, protagonist Freddy and his supposed "best friend" Lumpy share this dynamic, with Lumpy occasionally playing rough on Freddy for no reason.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: When entering the titular Kingdom for the first time, we see this line of thought from Freddy's mind (given the story's written in first-person):
    It was a huge spider nest! A nest for huge spiders!
  • Dirty Coward: Unsurprisingly, Lumpy, who delights in picking on students smaller than him and explicitly enjoys pulling the legs off spiders, loses his smug attitude and nearly wets himself when confronted by hordes of man-sized spiders, begging that he's "just a kid" and "wants to go home".
  • Getting Suspended Is Awesome: Freddy and Lumpy both receive a three-day suspension at the story's start. They don't care in the least since they can watch all the television they want, though Freddy is punished by his mother to clean the spider-filled attic.
  • Giant Spider: Freddy and his friend Lumpy get captured alive by sentient, gigantic talking spiders who decide to teach the boys a lesson after they saw Lumpy killing one of their (ordinary-sized) brethren by pulling out its legs.
  • Idiotic Partner Confession: The story begins with Freddy and Lumpy at the principal's office, having gotten into trouble for throwing firecrackers around in school. Both deny it, but when the principal says there are younger student witnesses, Lumpy immediately threatens to beat up whomever ratted him out. Cue Freddy commenting under his breath, "Nice going, Lumpy."
  • Reformed Bully: Freddy is implied to have become one by the story's conclusion, stopping Lumpy from picking on Tommy Malloy — despite partaking in the bullying at the story's start. He even makes sure "Lumpy doesn't pick on anyone when he's around".
  • Sociopathic Hero: Both Freddy and Lumpy are easily the worst protagonists featured in any Shivers book. Besides playing potentially harmful pranks on other students and regularly beating up a wimpier classmate, they also like sneaking into construction sites to steal building materials and graffiti their names on walls, having pilfered enough planks to build their own tree-house. Freddy even celebrates him slaughtering over fifty spiders with a snack and commenting it's been quite a day, killing spiders and beating up wimps.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Freddy would like to remind the reader how much he despises spiders for "being creepy". When realizing the attic — which his mother asks him to clean for her — is filled with arachnids, Freddy immediately goes on a spider-killing massacre using tons of bug spray.
  • Talking Animal: The giant spiders who abducted Freddy and Lumpy can talk, and condemn the two for killing a normal-sized spider in front of a jury filled with giant arachnids.

    #14: The Curse in the Jungle 

  • Aesop Amnesia: After Harry returns the Mayan King's skull and lifted the titular curse, he then decides to steal a Mayan necklace.
  • Bad Luck Charm: The Mayan skull Harry found in Tikal and decides to keep as a souvenir turns out to bring nothing but bad luck, starting with Harry's father falling down some stairs the following day. Then his mother gets bitten by a snake, Harry gets caught in quicksand, and so on.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • This trope is downplayed for once, in regards of the cover art. A skull does figure into the plot, but it's an ordinary skull that doesn't emit a sinister green glow.
    • The blurb claims Harry encounters some really awful South American wildlife, like kid-eating snakes and bugs the size of trucks. No such things happened.
  • Creepy Souvenir: The story is kicked off by the protagonist, Harry, finding the skull of an ancient Mayan King (depicted on the cover art) while trekking across the jungles of South America, and deciding to keep it. And then triggers a centuries-old curse.
  • Free-Range Children: Somehow, twelve-year-old Harry can loiter around assorted archeological sites in Tikal without any adult supervision required.
  • Heal It with Booze: In a massive case of Artistic License – Medicine, after Harry gets stung by a scorpion his mother then heals his injury using alcohol.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Harry gets stuck in quicksand at one point, a day after collecting the skull.

    #15: Pool Ghoul 

  • Alliterative Name: Laura's brother, Matt Massey.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Spirits residing in the Masseys' recently-constructed pool possesses several pool toys and noodles, with a number of noodles spelling "NO" to warn the Masseys when they tried taking a dip.
  • Covers Always Lie: Featuring a giant bloodthirsty alligator on the cover art that doesn't appear in the book itself. The closest the book has are animated pool toys coming to life.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Laura starts the story being sick of the chatter on the bus returning from swim camp before internally monologuing how much she hates crowds. And then she gets left in the back when all the girls rush down the bus, and is the last one to get down, easily establishing her as a meek, quiet introvert.
    • Her elder brother Matt is an even worse case, being a neat freak who cares more for the environment than people, and introduced scolding his sister for not recycling a Coke can instead of welcoming her home.
  • Green Aesop: Laura's brother Matt starts a recycling campaign along with a company called Chem Corp, but it turns out that one of the people working for the company has been polluting some caverns with the materials.
  • Pirate Parrot: The Massey's neighbor, Miss Pincher, owns a parrot who allegedly belongs to a sailor. And is naturally a Fowl-Mouthed Parrot due to being the pet of a rough seaman and spends most of its days in and out of bars. It's in fact introduced greeting the main characters with a "Hold it right there, buddy, or I'm gonna kill you!"
  • Prone to Tears: Besides being a scaredy-cat? Laura cries a lot, for no reason.
  • Spelling for Emphasis: Laura's overly-environmental conscious brother, Matt, chides her for not dropping an empty Coke can in the recycling bin using this method. Caps included.
    "It's called P-O-L-L-U-T-I-O-N! And that makes you a POLLUTER!"
  • Shout-Out: Befitting the "haunted new pool" theme, Laura and Matt watched a rerun of Jaws at one point. Laura stops watching when the shark starts eating people.
  • Token Minority: Matt's friend, Martin Littlefeather, introduced around one-third into the story and is the token Native American.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Mr. Campbell straight-up threatens the child characters at gunpoint in the climax.

    #16: The Beast Beneath the Boardwalk 

  • Country Cousin: Alec's Irish cousin, Mary, who came over to visit him in New Jersey. Marks the second instance of this trope since Terror on Troll Mountain, though this one sees the European cousin coming to the States instead of the other way round.
  • Covers Always Lie: Nope, there aren't any staircases oozing green slime at any point in this story. It's likely a case of Copycat Cover, imitating the cover of the first Monster Blood of Goosebumps series fame.
  • Hostile Weather: Alec and Mary are stranded in the arcade belonging to Alec's Uncle Louie, thanks to an unexpected hurricane hitting the coast of New Jersey's (fictional) Seaport City making it dangerous for them to run across the beach. And then they realize some unknown elemental monster is emerging from the seas.
  • Monster Delay: The literary equivalent. For most of the story it seems like Alec and Mary are being stalked by some elemental entities from the seas who want them dead, but it takes 80 pages (in a 122-page novella!) before the titular beast finally makes an appearance. And even then, the book's description of the beast is somewhat vague (face in the water, liquid hands made of waves, etc).
  • Murder Water: The titular beast turns out to be sentient ocean waves which can assume a monstrous form or manifest as a face in the ocean's waves, and instead of originating from beneath the boardwalk like the title claims, actually hails from the seas. It can even sprout tiny hands made of water to attack Alec and Mary.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: The method to defeat the titular beast? Turns out Alec and Mary only need to prove they're no longer scared of the beast, at which point it retreats into the waters, never to be seen again.
  • Oireland: Mary, who comes from Ireland and reminds Alec (and the reader) every now and then that she's Irish. Like calling Alec an "aul git" when he made her upset.
  • Shout-Out: Alec seems to be a kaiju movie nerd.
    "It's like one of those monsters in those Japanese movies. Something like Godzilla or Rodan."

    #17: The Ghosts of Camp Massacre 

  • Covers Always Lie: The menacing-looking, hooded ghost on the cover art isn't in this story. The ghosts of Camp Wil-He-Waha does appear in the ending, but they're dressed like puritans and looks perfectly human, save for being transparent.
  • Death of a Child: The initial backstory has a two-year-old child being slaughtered by the Native Americans. While it turns out it was the settlers who massacred the natives, the child still appears as a ghost and it's not explained how he really died.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Samantha gets spooked by what she thought was a mouse when checking into her cabin, which leads to her bunk-mates Jill and Melissa screaming as well. And then Satin comes over and reveals the mouse is an oversized dust ball.
  • Goth: Satin (which may or may not be her real name). Despite being a preadolescent, she is described as being unhealthily pale, with dark mascara and lipstick, multiple piercings in both ears and Boyish Short Hair that is dyed jet black. She also claims to be proficient in magic, but her attempt at using it left a lot to be desired.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: Subverted — the goth girl claims to know white magic, and uses it to try and summon the ghosts that are haunting Camp Wil-He-Waha. While the ghosts do appear, it is made clear that they came on their own and were not summoned by the goth girl babbling nonsense and throwing some kind of sparkly dust around in the hope that something would happen (nothing does, since the ghosts were only capable of interacting with Samantha).
  • Insufferable Genius: Samantha who frequently explains the meaning of words to the reader as if they can't read this very book.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Samantha isn't as smart as she thinks she is, despite her tendency to snarkily comment on how she gets every fact ahead of others. At one point she claims Joan of Arc was a French woman who was "burned like a steak a long time ago, for some reason that makes sense only to grownups" — apparently having mixing "stake" with "steak".
  • Locked into Strangeness: Subverted when Satin appears to have encountered the ghosts of Camp Wil-He-Waha, which makes her hair go white. Turns out she packed a can of white dye with her.
  • Mood Whiplash: The final chapter has a darkly funny one. The ghosts of Camp Wil-He-Waha have finally moved on to the afterlife, with Samantha waving goodbye to the camp. It's all warm and fuzzy... until Samantha's brother Rex suddenly pranks her. Cue Samantha commenting someday she's gonna kill that pest.
  • Quieting the Unquiet Dead: Towards the ending, the ghosts of the puritans haunting Camp Wil-He-Waha finally appear to Samantha in person, where they reveal the truth that they are responsible for the Natives' massacre. And are Barred from the Afterlife because of their crimes until they find a living soul to confess the facts. Once Samantha gets the rest of the camp to perform a forgiveness ritual, the ghosts may then move on in peace.
  • Summer Campy: The setting of the book is in a summer camp. Expectedly for mid-90s kids' horror literature, things goes wrong.

    #18: Your Momma's A Werewolf 

  • Bait-and-Switch: The story implies that Iggy's mother, over fifty percent through her werewolf transformation process, had devoured Iggy's new dog, what with Iggy finding the kennel destroyed and a bloodied, torn collar that belonged to said dog. In the final chapter after Iggy successfully feeds his werewolf-mom the potion that reverts her to human, Mole and Jesco then show up, bringing with them Iggy's dog, still quite alive.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Iggy has a nightmare where he sees a werewolf wearing his mother's clothing bursting into his room and attacking him, the night after his mother gets bitten by a wolf. Upon waking up, he catches his mother feasting on raw bacon... turns out his mother's human-to-werewolf conversion has started.
  • Easy Amnesia: After Iggy's mother returns to normal, she's conveniently forgotten everything that happened when she was turning into a werewolf, including feasting on raw bacon, trying to eat Iggy's dog, attempting to maul her son and destroying most of their cabin's interior. Which is probably a good thing.
  • Find the Cure!: The protagonist, Iggy, and his bestie Mole need to find a method to reverse the lycanthropic virus affecting the former's mother before she permanently becomes a werewolf. Said cure involves hunting down the very wolf that bit her, boiling its fur in water for a potion, and forcing Iggy's mother to drink it. Apparently splashing a few drops down the throat will suffice.
  • Inconvenient Itch: When Iggy and Mole get cornered by a wolf, for some baffling reason Iggy suggests that if they stand still, the wolf will ignore them. Somehow it works, until a random mosquito lands on Iggy's nose.
  • In-Series Nickname: The book's protagonist is named Ignatius J. Rockwell, but everyone — including his mother — calls him Iggy. His bestie who tags along on the other hand has an all-too-generic name, John, and goes along with the name "Mole" because of his nearsightedness.
  • Kids Driving Cars: After Iggy's mother loses control of herself and becomes feral, attacking everyone in sight, Iggy and Mole make a run for it by driving away in the Rockwell's family car. Unfortunately Iggy has never driven before and crashes shortly down the road, but luckily he then meets Jesco.
  • Mama Bear: Iggy's mother, who tackles a wolf about to pounce on her son. She gets bitten in the process while the wolf runs off, and unfortunately said wolf turns out to carry a lycanthropic virus.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Iggy's mother. It helps that she's a singer for a punk rock band (named "We Hate You" [!!!]) with a stereotypical spiky rockstar hairdo.
  • Mysterious Middle Initial: Ignatius J. Rockwell, the protagonist. What the J stands for isn't revealed at any point.
  • No Name Given: Iggy's mother isn't given a name in the story, for reasons unknown despite being the titular character.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Like the title states, werewolves figures into the plot, when Iggy's mother gets bitten by a wolf who turns out to carry a lycanthropic virus. Her conversion from human to werewolf comes under the Slow Transformation variety, and it's up to Iggy and his friend Mole to figure out how to reverse the process — turns out they need to track down the wolf that bit her, mix its hair with water, and force Iggy's mother to drink the concoction before her transformation becomes permanent.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Iggy's usually calm, level-headed rockstar mother suddenly raises her voice on him and Mole for trying to show concern over her wounded arm, which foreshadows her turning into a werewolf.
  • Savage Wolves: Iggy, with his mother and his friend Mole, spends a weekend camping in an outhouse only to be attacked by a wolf while exploring the woods. And then Iggy's mother gets bitten in the process.
  • Slow Transformation: How the werewolf virus affecting Iggy's mother works. A day after she's bitten, Iggy catches her eating raw bacon, shaving mysterious hair that started sprouting all over her face, and then start developing a mood swing and shouting at her son for showing concern over her, at which point Iggy and Mole realize something's wrong. She's close to becoming an actual werewolf by the last few chapters, but luckily the potion Iggy and Mole brewed in the last minute works.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: Iggy needs to re-capture the lycanthropic wolf who bit his mother and turned her into a werewolf to recover some of the wolf's hair. Luckily, the wolf hunter, Jesco, has a tranquilizer rifle they can use.
  • Unnamed Parent: The titular character doesn't have a name for the entire story. Everyone just calls her Miss Rockwell.
  • Your Mom: The title. Unfortunately it turns out to be a case of Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

    #19: The Thing in Room 601 

  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Before the mother leaves Liam and Diane alone in Hotel Marlowe for three days, she promises she will call every night to check on them.
    Liam: What time do you think you might be calling?
    Mom: It might be ten o'clock. It might be later. Or it might be both ten o'clock and later.
  • Death of a Child: The backstory features murdered children. In this case, it's the two kids who were killed by their mother.
  • Good News, Bad News: Before checking into the hotel, Liam and Diane's mother presents them with two different news, asking them which they'd like to hear. The siblings both reacts differently — Diane asking for the good news, Liam asks for the bad. Then the bad news turns out to be good because their mother needs to visit their Aunt Carol and the two can have the hotel all to themselves for three days.
  • Hell Hotel: An interesting case as the hotel itself is mostly fine, Liam and Diane's mother has even been there before. The danger comes from the titular room, where a hotel maid murdered their children and their ghost haunts the room.
  • Mr. Exposition: Prior to the last few chapters, Liam and Diane run into a random, unnamed bellboy supposedly tasked with cleaning their room, only for him to narrate the backstory of the allegedly haunted Room 601 (to two kids he didn't even know?) before leaving. Said character never reappears for the rest of the story and is just some plot device for the characters to know what's going on, especially considering the very next chapter after the bellboy left has the hotel's ghost suddenly appearing and trying to attack Liam and Diane.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Subverted — Liam gets spooked by what he thought was an actual human skull falling out a box when snooping through the hotel's storeroom. His (much more level-headed) sister Diane picks it up, and shows Liam it's a candy skull made of sugar, a leftover from a recent el Día de los Muertos festival. (Somehow all this takes up six pages).
  • Undead Child: The ghosts haunting the titular room consist of two children, around Liam and Diane's age.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The book takes clear inspiration from The Shining, being set in a haunted hotel with there being someone driven crazy and attempting to murder their family. There's even a hostile old woman ghost just like in the film.

    #20: Babyface & the Killer Mob 

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In the climax, when the Killer Mob launches a direct assault on the Muscle Gang's mansion. Problem is, Joey-as-Babyface is caught right in all that mess.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Sondra, the wife of the Killer Mob's leader, turns out to be a little tomboy girl named Patty who wants to make it big as a gangster, only to accidentally hit a curb while trying to chase after the Killer Mob's vehicle on her bike before waking up in an adult woman's body, not unlike Joey / Babyface's predicament. But then the story ends with an All Just a Dream revelation that Joey dreamt he was a mobster named Babyface after tripping and hitting his head. It remains questionable whether Patty actually exists in real life or not.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The story has a kid who wants to be a gangster, but the local mobs won't let him in. After a blow to his head, he finds himself in the body of an adult mobster and discovers the gangster life is way too dangerous and it makes him realize being a normal kid isn't so bad.
  • Big Fancy House: Both the Killer Mob and the Muscle Gang have their headquarters in gigantic mansions, and the book's climax is a massive shootout in the latter's. Joey-as-Babyface lampshades on "why do gang leaders always prefer tacky, oversized mansions as residences".
  • Cement Shoes: After Joey threatens to rat out the Killer Mob, their thugs threatens to do this on him and dump his body into a waterfront. But they're interrupted when mobsters from a rival gang attacks them.
  • Covers Always Lie: In typical Shivers tradition, the book's cover depicts a skeleton lunging out a car, something that didn't happen in the book (and no, at no point does skeletons show up in this misadventure). It does work well as a metaphor for joining the mob, though.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Joey, the 12-year-old protagonist, certainly thinks so, and frequently pesters the local thugs from the Killer Mob to take him in only for them to laugh him off.
  • Getaway Driver: Babyface serves as one to the Killer Mob. Problem is, he sucks at driving because he's Joey the 12-year-old stuck in an adult body.
  • Identical Stranger: Joey, in the last chapter, sees a policewoman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Sondra waking him up. Note that Sondra allegedly exists only in Joey's daydream.
  • I Have Your Wife: The Muscle Gang managed to kidnap Sondra, the Killer Mob leader's wife, alongside their chauffeur Babyface, as ransom to force the Killer Mob out of hiding. Problem is, the Killer Mob is on their way to raid the Muscle Gang's headquarters, and now both Sondra and Babyface are stuck in the crossfire.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Joey lampshades this by saying it's a good thing both mob groups are terrible shots, with their many bullets never hitting him or anyone else.
  • Impostor-Exposing Test: Joey-as-Babyface is subjected to one by the Killer Mob after they suspect something is amiss about their getaway driver, by quizzing Babyface what's his favorite drink. Joey makes a lucky guess, "Root Beer", and that turns out to be correct.
  • Lighter and Softer: Being the only book without supernatural elements, serial killers, monsters or any actual threats, and that the protagonist is a gangster-wannabe with the whole adventure being his daydreams.
  • Mob War: The Killer Mob and Muscle Gang appear to be in one involving territorial dispute over control of Miami, with the kid protagonist Joey trying to get himself involved.
  • Nervous Wreck: Babyface the getaway driver, who's the only member of the Killer Mob who's Prone to Tears. Justified because he's a kid trapped in an adult's body.
  • Shout-Out: A rather obvious, not-to-subtle one, but this book is a gangster homage and the Killer Mob's thugs are named Lou, Rocco, Jimmy, Jackie, and Mikey. The Muscle Gang's leader is even named Tony.
  • Spotting the Thread: Sondra is able to tell that "Babyface", her chauffeur, isn't himself. Because Babyface is an excellent driver while Joey-as-Babyface couldn't even reverse without hitting something, as well as Joey-as-Babyface calling Sondra "Ma'am" — the actual Babyface is nowhere as polite.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Twelve-year-old Joey threatening to rat out the Killer Mob's goons to the local Muscle Gang, never mind the fact that he's alone against a group of thugs. Things could've gotten real ugly if the Muscle Gang didn't suddenly interrupt — Joey's subsequent escape and accidentally knocking himself unconscious segues into the main plot of him waking up as a getaway driver.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Joey-as-Babyface finally meets the Killer Mob's boss for the first time, realizing him to be an overweight, pockmarked, and badly-scarred gangster. And then he meets the boss' wife, Sondra, and is actually surprised that Sondra is a slim, beautiful, and surprisingly polite Nice Girl.
  • Villain in a White Suit: While Joey is in his "Babyface" persona, he meets the bosses of both the Killer Mob and Muscle Gang, both of them which are described as wearing white suits. Their underlings in comparison either wear black or casual outfits.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The story's plot is kick-started by the Killer Mob threatening to drown 12-year-old Joey alive for trying to rat them out to the Muscle Gang.
  • Written Sound Effect: How the shootout in the Muscle Gang's headquarters is depicted, as narrated by Joey where the action is seen from his POV. Apparently machine-guns sounds like "kpap-kpap-kpap" while shotguns goes "PHUT! PHUT! PHUT!"
  • You and What Army?: When the Killer Mob pranks Joey with a water pistol, Joey swears he'll get back at them for their trick, prompting one of the mob's members to respond with this phrase. Joey's answer? He may not have an army, but he can still rat them out to the local Muscle Gang. It ends as realistically well as expected.

    #21: A Waking Nightmare 

  • Affectionate Nickname: Example between brothers, Martin would call his kid brother Farley "Bruddy" (Brother + Buddy). He thought Farley was a dumb name, and Farley doesn't mind it either.
  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: Expectedly, Martin doesn't remember anything he did upon reverting to human form from the furry, beastman-like werecreature he transformed into after falling asleep.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Martin, despite being The Un Favourite due to the various incidents being blamed as his actions, is still protective over his younger brother Farley. After suspecting the monster who slashed his mother's tires is still on the prowl Martin allows Farley to sleep in his own bedroom, to better protect his brother. Unfortunately, Martin turns out to be that monster, even if he doesn't know it.
  • Cassandra Truth: Martin's repeated attempts at convincing his mother that he didn't trash the house, empty peanut butter all over the fridge and slash her tires doesn't work at all, since his father is nowhere around and Martin's kid brother Farley is too young to cause such destruction. Turns out Martin technically did make all the mess — albeit in the form of a werebeast-like creature when he fell asleep, before reverting to human form afterwards without his memory.
  • Copycat Cover: The cover art is a blatant recreation of the Goosebumps book, How to Kill a Monster, released just a month earlier.
  • A Dog Named "Cat": Martin's pet black-and-white cat is named Skunk, for its fur color.
  • Fainting: This is the reaction of the boys' mother in a combination of shock and exhaustion, after the second peanut butter incident... which is accompanied by the discovery of the hall's furnitures being horribly vandalized into splints, a giant monstrous paw-print on the floor and a clump of hair belonging to an unidentified monster in the mess. The two brothers spend the next chapter trying to wake her up with wet towels while pondering over the mess.
  • Fall Guy: In an interesting inversion of the Annoying Younger Sibling trope that keeps popping up in 90s defanged horror books, Martin's kid brother Farley would repeatedly take the blame for any mistakes his older brother did, with Martin apologizing to Farley after the act for taking the blame. But when Farley takes the blame for the peanut butter incident, despite being deathly allergic to peanuts, the mother suspect something's amiss.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: It starts raining the morning after Martin, his brother Farley and his mother prepare to go to the beach... and realize someone had slashed and punctured their family car's tires with a Swiss Army Knife. And that Martin is to blame as the most plausible suspect because his knife went missing as well. The family does not have a good day to say the least.
  • Hulking Out: The plot of the story revolves around Martin, the narrator, having a condition called "Cholera Metamorphosis", in which his uncontrollable rage turns him into an animal-like monster. The cause is because he's angry at himself, blaming himself for things that aren't his fault — like his parents' divorce — and subconsciously trying to punish himself by making others angry with him by wreaking havoc. He's cured of the change when he's convinced to stop blaming himself.
  • It's All My Fault: Martin, the narrator, blames himself for his parents' divorce; by blaming himself, he's subconsciously triggered his transformation into a violent monster to wreak havoc and make others punish him for his deeds.
  • Minimalist Cast: Consisting of Martin, his brother Farley, his parents (the father who doesn't appear in person until near the end of the story) and the local sheriff Johnson. Most of the story revolves around Martin with his brother and mother around, although there are some unnamed cops appearing in the end when the police manage to figure out a way to cure Martin of his condition.
  • Mirror Scare: Martin finally comes face-to-face with the monster terrorizing his family when he looks into a bathroom mirror late at night — because he is the monster. This is the moment his Cholera Metamorphosis begins worsening and taking over himself...
  • Net Gun: In the final confrontation, the police use a net launcher to capture the fully-hulked-out Martin before bringing him before a tall mirror.
  • Police Are Useless: The police are content to blame the initial acts of vandalism that occur throughout the book on Martin, and when he personally calls them later on to report that somebody broke into the house and smashed up the furniture, they do not even bother to dispatch someone to check things out because they just think that he is lying. They do manage to redeem themselves by helping to non-fatally capture and restore the Hulked Out protagonist at the end of the story, though.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: How Martin is cured of his Cholera Metamorphosis — the police bring him before a tall mirror where he sees himself, goes berserk, and attacks his own reflection. Having destroyed "himself", Martin then calms down and reverts to human form.
  • Tomato Surprise: The monster who vandalized Martin's house and put his entire family in danger was Martin himself, owing to Cholera Metamorphosis turning him into a monster when he sleeps.
    In a horrible, chilling moment, I realized it all. The beast that had been trying to destroy my family was me.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Martin and his kid brother Farley come from a family where the parents are divorced and the brothers live with the mother; the father's impending visit is portrayed as a big deal for the siblings. In fact, it's Martin's father who takes action to protect the family, in contrast to the ignorant mother — right up to coming up with the plan to uncover and cure Martin's monstrous transformation.
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: During the story, Martin's pet cat Skunk (whom he thinks is a boy) goes missing, and Martin suspects the book's antagonist may have killed him. It turns out Skunk was a girl, and returns at the end with seven kittens.

    #22: Lost in Dreamland 

  • Adults Are Useless: Averted to hell and back — the protagonists' parents immediately go to the police when their kids go missing and are instrumental in taking down the kidnappers running the amusement park for good.
  • All Part of the Show: Bill and Barbara are narrowly run over by an out-of-control tractor in Dreamland's entrance, only for the tractor to be revealed as a harmless hologram. Later on a revolver-wielding outlaw robot draws a gun on them, but that turns out to be a "Bang!" Flag Gun.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Dreamland is one where park attendants are kidnapped and sealed inside robotic shells so they can perform the same task perfectly over and over again.
  • Beard of Evil: Alex's main henchman and the leader of the Dreamland goons has a thick beard, and is the one leading his mooks in kidnapping people for the parks' Unwilling Roboticization. He's even referred to as "bearded man" throughout the entire story.
  • The Cavalry: In the last chapter, Bill and Barbara manage to escape Dreamland's animatronics facility and make their way to the parking lot, only for the villains to catch up. But then, the sound of police choppers suddenly beats down into the area.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the attractions is based on the "famous story" of The Haunting House, and it comes complete with animatronic duplicates of the book's protagonists, Caitlyn and Lynne.
  • Never Trust a Title: No, the main characters Bill and Barbara don't get themselves trapped in a literal Dream Land. The titular location is an Amusement Park of Doom.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Bill and Barbara manage to infiltrate Dreamland's secret lab, and conveniently overhear a conversation on how the amusement park needs twins. Which is, of course, them.
  • Holding the Floor: After Bill and Barbara are taken in by the Dreamland thugs, before they're taken to meet Dreamland's founder Alex, Bill attempts to pull this off, spouting nonsense and going on an off-topic ramble that he might die of diabetes during the wait... while his sister Barbara tries pickpocketing the lead goon. It doesn't work, the twins are caught on the spot and would've been killed if Alex didn't specify to his minions that he wanted fresh twins alive.
  • Outgrowing the Childish Name: Barbara doesn't like being called "Babs", and a Running Gag is her parents or brother calling her that leading to Barbara correcting them.
    "Don't call me Babs!"
  • Recorded Spliced Conversation: Bill and Barbara — using one of Barbara's ideas — manage to fool Dreamland security before they're converted to music-playing robots by claiming they're rusty and need to practice their instruments, and with a tape recorder stolen by Barbara, make the villains believe they're still stuck in a recording booth, playing their instruments in a loop. Meanwhile, the twins have found an escape via Air-Vent Passageway.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Alex and his goons have discovered a way to perfectly convert organic matter into animatronics (and it's even reversible), and what use do they have with this scientific breakthrough? Abducting humans and converting them into robots for his own amusement park, of course.
  • Secret Path: Dreamland's secret robot conversion center can only be accessed through a hidden underground tunnel, accessible from the park's haunted house. Expectedly, Bill and Barbara stumbles through it.
  • Unwilling Roboticization: The reason why the animatronics are so realistic is because they are made out of people. The roboticization process turns out to be painlessly reversible, though.

    #23: Night of the Goat Boy 

  • Are We There Yet?: The first chapter has Nathaniel's kid sister Amanda asking this question on the drive to Camp Spotlight. And then playing word games with her brother when he replies that there's still some way to go. She's insisting on one last game when they've arrived.
  • Beast Man: Or Goat-Boy, in this case. A boy with a goat's head is on the prowl.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Nathaniel's parents allegedly met each other in Camp Spotlight back in the 60s, when they were both 11. They started seeing each other afterwards.
  • Cover Drop: When Nathaniel finally comes face-to-face with the Goat-Boy, staring into his tent with glowing red eyes and blood dripping from its mouth, as depicted on the cover art. Which predictably has Nathaniel fleeing in terror. And then, it turns out it's a taxidermied head Austin and Andrew are using to prank the juniors.
  • Forced Transformation: In the Goat Boy's backstory, a young boy named Kenny was forcefully transformed into a half-goat, half-boy monster as result of a curse.
  • Ghost Story: Inevitable, given the story's camp setting. The Goat Boy legend is notably the subject of one such story made up by the seniors to scare campers, but things quickly get out of hand.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Used as part of the Goat Boy's (allegedly true) backstory; a young boy named Kenny was bullied and rejected by his fellow campers in Camp Spotlight to the point where he tried retaliating by setting the camp on fire, only to accidentally kill a junior magician and earn him a curse transforming him into a Goat-Boy.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: To nobody's surprise (not even the reader), it turns out the Goat-Boy legend is fabricated by two senior counselors, Austin and Andrew, to scare the junior campers, including sneaking a taxidermied goat head into the camp.
  • Real After All: For most of the story, the Goat Boy is depicted as a prank from the seniors, based on a local urban legend of a boy suffering from a curse. But the story ends with the discovery of a chewed-up sandal, implied to be the Goat Boy's return.
  • Shout-Out: The main play being rehearsed at Camp Spotlight is You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Nathaniel, the budding kid actor protagonist, is ecstatic to be cast in a key role only to find out he's playing Snoopy; however his new friends and bunk-mates assures him it's going to be an amazing role for him.
  • Taxidermy Terror: The severed Goat-Boy head that scares Nathaniel and the other boys turns out to be a taxidermied head used by the senior counselors, Austin and Andrew, to prank them into believing the Goat-Boy legend is real. However, the ending proves the Goat-Boy to be Real After All.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To Friday the 13th — a camp that used to be where a tragic incident occurred decades ago thanks to the campers bullying another kid, then things started going horribly wrong in the present, and all that. Just swap out Jason Vorhees with a goat-headed entity and there you go.

    #24: The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh 

  • Blood Oath: Downplayed version, but Adam tries sharing his secrets about the allegedly haunted Devil's Marsh with Samantha while insisting they make a blood swear. He then borrows a needle from his mother's sewing kit — cue Samantha and Adam rubbing their fingertips and mixing two drops of their blood together.
  • Covers Always Lie: The Rise from Your Grave moment depicted on the cover? Nowhere in the book.
  • Creepy Cemetery: The titular marsh also doubles as an ancient cemetery where Bart Island used to bury the dead. It's now long-abandoned and allegedly haunted — of course Samantha and her cousins ends up exploring that place.
  • Curse Cut Short: The PG-version happens during Samantha's dinner with the Dimswells.
    Adam: [digging into a plateful of beans] Hey Samantha, know why beans are a specialty on Bart's Island? Cause on Bart, we love to fa-
    Uncle Tim: That's quite enough, thank you.
  • Disappeared Dad: Samantha's father died a long time ago, before she could even remember. And Samantha's mother doesn't like bringing up the father either for reasons unexplained.
    Samantha: I wish I'd known my dad.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The titular location, Devil's Marsh. According to Adam, allegedly people who ventured in it don't make it out alive — either dragged off by ghosts, or chomped by alligators.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: The third Dimswell boy, Andy, who started learning to talk, tends to speak like this.
    "Hey, Thammy. Want to go ghotht hunting?" note 
  • Family Theme Naming: Samantha's cousins are named Adam, Andy, Allen and Alfie.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Samantha's aunt, Sylvie, addresses her sons by their full name when she's angry at their constant antics. For instance, when Adam snuck his pet snake Rosie in a bed.
    Adam Taylor Dimswell!
  • The Gadfly: Adam simply can't stop teasing and annoying his brothers. When protagonist Samantha bunks in for a visit, he teases her as well, like making a buzzing noise when she's around after Samantha narrowly escapes getting struck by lightning.
  • Genre Blindness: Samantha is exploring an allegedly haunted graveyard, in a horror-themed book, when she comes across the broken sculpture of an angel who fell off a tombstone. She then picks up and keeps the statue's broken heart, for no discernible reason, and it bites her back in the end.
  • I See Dead People: Samantha gets the power to see ghosts after being near a tree that was struck by lightning.
  • "Knock Knock" Joke: Samantha and Adam have a brief exchange like this when Adam barged into Samantha's room without knocking. In all fairness, said room uses a drape as a door.
    Samantha: Can't you knock?
    Adam: How am I supposed to knock on a blanket?
    Samantha: Maybe you could just say it. Like, you know — knock knock.
    Adam: Who's there?
    Samantha: Very funny.
    Adam: Very Funny Who?
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Including bestowing the ability to see the dead.
  • Magical Negro: Nadina is able to sense that Sam has the power to see ghosts and tells her how to exorcise Nana's spirit.
  • My Beloved Smother: Nana was a grandmother with an abandonment complex. She tried to keep her grandchildren, Sylvie and Sam's dad, with her even as adults and pretty much disowned them when they left to have lives and families of their own. Not helped in that she raised them from childhood and was pretty much their only mother figure.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Besides the supernatural, Devil's Marsh is also infested with alligators who sometimes venture out the marsh. Adam recalls an incident a few years ago when a stray gator devoured a baby right in front of the mother; later, when Samantha explores Devil's Marsh with her cousins, they do get attacked by another gator, which is implied to be controlled by the marsh's spirits.
  • Tomboyish Name: Samantha would prefer to be addressed as "Sammy", correcting any other characters who called her otherwise.
    "It's not Samantha, for your information. It's Sammy."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: During Sam's dream she hears a woman arguing with the spirit that takes on the form of a snake and begins haunting her. In the dream, the snake is attacked by a jewel bird trying to protect Sam, and is later revealed to be the spirit of Sam's father while the snake is Nana. It's never revealed who the other woman was arguing with Nana, though it's implied to be another deceased relative buried in their family's plot.
  • Will-o'-the-Wisp: Samantha is spooked by a mysterious fire that flared from the ground while exploring Devil's Marsh, making her freak out and leave. When she tells Adam about it, Adam narrates an old ghost story about a car accident occurring within the marsh and the ghostly fire is supposedly a supernatural reenactment of the incident.
  • Witch Doctor: Nadina is the local witch of Bart Island, skilled in voodoo but also willing to help Samantha and her cousins after they're followed by a ghost. After charging them a small fee, that is.

    #25: A Ghostly Playmate 

  • Death of a Child: Virginia's mother suffers a miscarriage prior to the story, and there's a ghost-girl named Carly haunting Virginia who died as a baby, with Virginia even discovering an infant skeleton in a forgotten closet. Turns out Carly the ghost and Virginia's stillborn sister are the same person.
  • Foreshadowing: One that's not too subtle; in the first chapter Virginia narrates to the reader that she would've had a younger sister if her mother didn't suffer a miscarriage when Virginia was three. Later in the story Virginia encounters a ghost-girl named Carly after moving to New York, where according to Carly she was abandoned as a baby and left to die by her parents and her three-year-old elder sister. Surprise surprise (not), turns out Carly the ghost-girl is none other than Virginia's deceased sister.
  • Mirror Scare: How Carly, the titular ghost-girl haunting Virginia's bedroom, made herself known, by appearing in a mirror just as Virginia is looking into her reflection and thinking she can't make new friends in New York.
  • Monster Roommate: While initially spooked by Carly, Virginia later realizes Carly is a Friendly Ghost who only wants company, and so plays with Carly every night, befitting the title.
  • New House, New Problems: The story begins with the main characters moving from Alabama to New York, and then the protagonist Virginia realizing there's something in her bedroom. Something supernatural, who wants to play with her.
  • No Antagonist: There isn't a "villain" character in this story, and while Carly finally revealing her ghoulish form is scary, Carly isn't hostile in any way.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The little ghost-girl, Carly, can only communicate with Virginia due to being Invisible to Adults, and displays the ability to shift from ghostly to solid form. She looks like a transparent human in the former, while her latter looks ghoulish and horrifying; incidentally she can only physically interact with Virginia in her solid form.
  • Piano Drop: Subverted; when moving into the new apartment Virginia realize the piano being hoisted into the upper floor is about to fall on her mother due to a snapped cable, and hurriedly pushes her mother out of the way. But it turns out there's a second safety harness, specifically meant to avert this trope. Virginia's mind does envision this trope happening, though.
  • Quieting the Unquiet Dead: Carly the titular ghost is actually Virginia's deceased sister, unable to rest due to absence of a proper funeral after being stillborn. Virginia, and her parents, decide to hold another funeral, allowing Carly to move into the afterlife.
  • Riches to Rags: Virginia's parents used to be wealthy socialites, but after some bad financial decisions it turns out the entire family is running on inheritance money which will dry up soon — hence the parents' decision to move from uptown Alabama to a cramped New York apartment. After Virginia and her family manage to pacify Carly, allowing her to rest in peace, Virginia's father makes a massive breakthrough in the medical industry with a new invention that saves stillborn babies, earning millions and making the family wealthy again.
  • Tomato Surprise: Carly, the little ghost-girl haunting Virginia for the whole story, turns out to be Virginia's deceased sister Caroline. It's hardly a twist given the name...
  • Tragic Stillbirth: Virginia was supposed to have a younger sister, but her mother miscarried when Virginia was three. Years later Virginia's father still calls her Caroline, the name of the deceased sister.
  • Undead Child: The titular character is a little ghost-girl named Carly, but luckily she falls under the Friendly Ghost variety.

    #26: One Foot in the Grave 

  • Bait-and-Switch: One chapter ends with "Bubbie falling into a bottomless black pit..." (after stepping through the doors of a long-abandoned WWII bunker) only for the next to start with Bubbie getting out of a shallow pit, barely a meter deep, unharmed. Turns out she fainted in shock when she slipped and thought she was caught in a deep fall.
  • Chekhov's Gun: While exploring the old WWII bunker, Bubbie finds some earrings and an old grenade from the French-German war, which she decides to keep. The earrings serves no purpose later on, but the grenade — somehow still functional after five decades is used to blow up the bunker to seal Elena back.
  • Covers Always Lie: The red-skinned imp with gigantic claws on the cover art has nothing to do with the book's story, and in fact there's no such creature in the entire book. At least it's unrelated to skeletons this time (but seriously, wouldn't a ghostly gypsy be a better choice for a cover art?).
  • Crystal Ball: Bubbie finds a magic crystal orb in her new bedroom, which displays chilling visions like a woman being hung and her brother Patrick getting run over by a train. Turns out it's displaying visions of accidents from the future, when Jean-Luc saves Patrick from a train after being informed by Bubbie.
  • Free-Range Children: Exaggerated to the point of being a parody, but Bubbie's parents leaves her with her two-year-old toddler brother, alone, in the middle of France shortly after they move in. Patrick narrowly escapes death when he's nearly hit by a train, and Bubbie's parents somehow have the gall to punish her for the accident.
  • Full-Boar Action: Bubbie and Jean-Luc gets attacked by a wild boar while in the French mountains. They escape, but Jean-Luc gets gored in the leg in the process.
  • Gratuitous French: This installment is set in France, and the book tends to drop French words for no reason, either from Bubie, Jean-Luc, or the narration. The blurb at the back even asks, "Parlez-vous horror?" note 
  • Gypsy Curse: The book's main antagonistic force is a ghostly gypsy woman named Elena, who was entombed alive during World War II and escaped imprisonment. Most of her powers are gypsy tricks that cause accidents or materializing objects from nowhere to taunt her victims.
  • Here We Go Again!: Bubbie managed to defeat the ghost-gypsy whose curse leads to all the mess throughout the story. When she gets home though, she finds out her parents are moving again, to Germany this time, next to a haunted castle.
  • Inexplicable Language Fluency: Bubbie moves to France with her family and meets a new French kid, Jean-Luc, and can somehow converse with him without any language issues; at the end of the story she can hold a long conversation with a stranger in French, despite spending less than a week in the country. Previous books with an overseas setting will at least attempt justifying this trope (for instance, Terror on Troll Mountain has the protagonist's Italian family choosing to speak in English because they're anticipating American guests) but this one handwaves the issue until it's a borderline plot hole.
  • Practically Different Generations: Bubbie can be assumed to be around 10 or so, like most Shivers protagonists. Her kid brother Patrick is two.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Elena the ghost-gypsy is a Sealed Evil in a WWII-era bunker, who escaped after tricking Bubbie and Jean-Luc to explore the bunker and plots to embark on a bloody rampage. The story ends with Bubbie sealing Elena back into that bunker.
  • Vengeful Ghost: The story's main antagonist this time is a ghostly gypsy named Elena, whose history dates back to the Second World War; after her love affair with a Nazi was exposed, she was accused of colluding with the Germans and punished by being sealed alive in a bunker. However she managed to transfer her soul into a crystal ball (somehow?) that made it to Bubbie's new bedroom, where she then tricks Bubbie and Jean-Luc into unlocking the bunker she's held in to exact revenge on the whole town.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Prior to confronting Elena one last time, Bubbie runs into a rat in her new home, an omen about the evil she's about to face.

    #27: Camp Fear 

  • Abandoned Mine: Jane and Lindsey decide to finish their assignment by exploring a mine shaft that contains treasure, but is also allegedly haunted. Unfortunately, they'll need to bring Molly and Chelsea along since it's a group assignment.
  • Alpha Bitch: Chelsea takes every opportunity possible to pick on Molly, and is depicted as the stereotypical school diva who goes everywhere with perfume and nail polish and is popular with the other upper-class girls. She mellows out after a Break the Haughty moment.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Chelsea, who went from bullying Jane, Lindsey and Molly (especially the latter due to Molly being the class nerd) to mellowing out and becoming chums later on.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Molly, like every stereotypical school nerd, wears Nerd Glasses and couldn't see a thing when she dropped them. It's brought up precisely once in the story however and seems to be an Informed Flaw, when Jane wins over Molly's friendship by helping the nerd retrieve her glasses; it's never brought up again during their misadventures in the mine shaft despite the drama that could happen like losing glasses at the worst possible time.
  • The Bully: Like most Shivers entries, Chelsea starts off as an atypical one who frequently picks on Molly, the most timid girl in class. Unlike most examples though Chelsea eventually mellows out.
  • Covers Always Lie: Take a wild guess if any animated skeletal miners show up in this adventure, at any point, as depicted on the cover art.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: While the protagonist, Jane and her bestie Lindsey are already besties who "think like sisters" right at the start, they're grouped together in camp with two other girls, the timid Molly and the bully Chelsea, both whom they didn't want to have anything to do with. Until they venture into a haunted mine shaft and are forced to cooperate before emerging as pals.
  • Friendly Ghost: As it turns out, the Armonds — the couple who haunted the mines — are quite chummy as long as their treasures are untouched. They even save Lindsey from falling down a deep pit by levitating her to safety.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: The four girls manage to escape the mine shaft using one of these, which can somehow function after being unused and collecting rust for five decades.
  • Satellite Character: Jane's bestie, Lindsey, who literally doesn't interact with anyone else in the story or have any independent personality of her own. Her only characterization is "MC's best friend to hang out with" and a reminder that the book has more than one named recurring character.
  • Treasure Map: Jane procures one leading into an abandoned mine supposedly containing the treasure of the wealthy Armond Family, but it was unfortunately ruined when Chelsea spilled her nail polish over it. They do manage to deduce where the entrance is though.
  • Verbal Backspace: Chelsea the bully has a funny one when she starts complaining about her chores in the camp before realizing the teacher and organizer, Miss Farlie, is nearby.
    "I can't believe she expects us to work! This is like boot camp! [Beat]... I was just saying how nice this camp is, Miss Farlie."
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Literal example — the timid, gawky Molly is deathly afraid of snakes. Chelsea, being Molly's main bully, takes advantage of her phobia by pranking Molly with a wire hanger and making the latter think she's being stalked by snakes. It eventually leads to a moment when Molly needs to overcome her phobia when the group runs across the mine's floors, which are covered in snakes.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: Jane and friends eventually locate the mine's treasure, only to be trapped in the mines and stalked by the Armonds, the couple whom the treasure used to belong. They're forced to leave it in order to secure an escape.

    #28: Watch 'em Kill 

  • Batter Up!: Philip's bestie, Steven, fights off a mummy using a baseball bat. Somehow it works.
  • Covers Always Lie: The pill-spawned monsters come in a variety of forms, but none of them resembles the gremlins-like green creature on the cover art, though it could be assumed there's at least one gremlin spawned off-page that the protagonists don't encounter.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: One of the many monsters spawned by the pills, who attacks a neighbor's house off-page. Philip and Steven learns of the aftermath later on.
  • Kill It with Fire: Turns out the monsters' weakness — all of them — is fire, which reverts them back to pill forms. Though it does make sense considering the monsters are grown in a lab.
  • Miracle-Gro Monster: The monsters are lab-grown and artificially-created by a Mad Scientist, compressed into pill form and will grow in contact with water. Naturally, the accident-prone protagonist Philip get his hands on several pills before accidentally dropping them into a puddle.
  • Monster Mash: From a mummy to a vampire and a Frankenstein's creature and a Creature of the Black Lagoon-expy. All of them are hostile and intend to devour Philip and friends.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The cover art is blatantly based on the monsters from Gremlins. The monsters spawning in the presence of water is another nod to the film.
    • Right in the first chapter, the book establishes Philip as a nerd by introducing him reading Macbeth and claims he's a fan of classic novels like Moby-Dick and The Grapes of Wrath. Wait a minute, a 12-year-old enjoying The Grapes of Wrath?
  • One that crosses into Whole-Plot Reference: A bunch of ragtag kid led by a protagonist who's a monster nerd must do battle with creatures lifted straight from old-school Hammer Horror films. The Monster Squad, anyone?
  • Title Drop: In the very first chapter. Philip is an aspiring writer, and "Watch em Kill" is the name of a horror novel he's working on.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Taken to the extreme with Philip, who knew the pills can turn into monsters upon contact with water, after seeing a pill transforming into a mummy. So what does he do? Attempt to bring the pills elsewhere while riding his bicycle, in the rain. A bunch of pills fall out his shirt pocket in the process, and chaos ensues. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero at its finest.
  • Vampire Vords: One of the monsters spawned by the pills is a Classical Movie Vampire, complete with slick black-and-white suit. And has only one line, telling Philip he "Vant to dreenk yer blood!"
  • Wolf Man: Philip, Steven and friends are pursued by a wolf-man straight out of Hammer Horror the night after Philip dropped most of the pills in a puddle, in a scene ripped from The Monster Squad.

    #29: The Terrible Terror Book 

  • Covers Always Lie: Not only does the book contain zero skeletons, but nobody celebrates their birthday in this story either!
  • Recursive Canon: The book mentions that the protagonists read the Shivers books.
  • Snicket Warning Label: The blurb on the back of the book warns potential readers "DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK!" and goes on a ramble that it's not worth it, it's the reader's last warning, there's no escape once the book is open. It ends with the advice to "FEED THIS BOOK TO THE WORMS..."

    #30: Creepy Clothes 

  • Abusive Parents: The two protagonists, Patricia and Sam, learn that their dad and aunt grew up with a physically abusive stepfather.
  • Alliterative Title: There's two "C"s in Creepy Clothes.
  • Berserk Button: Dolores completely loses it and snaps at her niece and nephew when they bring up her stepfather, after their first time-travel and a glimpse of the 60s. Given the stepfather is an abusive douchebag, it's entirely justified.
    Dolores: Don't you ever — ever — mention that man again!
  • Big Sister Instinct: Dolores Carson — the elder sister of Mr. Carson, the protagonists' father — sacrifices everything she has so that her younger brother can go to college to study law. Mr. Carson became a successful lawyer after graduation and has a happy family, but Dolores lives the rest of her life alone in her hometown and in poverty. In fact, when Patricia and Sam unintentionally witness the past and see their father and aunt as children, Dolores back then was already protective of her brother.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: It's Patricia's birthday, and her gift is the news that her parents were hospitalized and she must leave home with her brother Sam, to the countryside of rural Atlanta where their drunk, senile Aunt Dolores will provide a home for the time being.
  • Covers Always Lie: More non-existent skeletons, this time on a Copycat Cover based on the American Gothic Couple.
  • Downer Beginning: The story begins with Patricia and Sam having breakfast in the weekend, during heavy rain with only their housekeeper around. Before receiving bad news that their parents were caught in a horrible car accident and they're being sent off to their Aunt Dolores whom they barely know.
  • Evil Aunt: Patricia and Sam initially believe their Aunt Dolores is this, due to the fact they don't know her because their dad never talked about her. They eventually learn she's not a bad person, just standoffish and still reeling from a traumatic childhood thanks to her abusive stepfather and a car accident that crippled her boyfriend.
  • Granola Girl: Patricia and Sam travel to the past and are surprised to find out their wizened Aunt Dolores used to be one, way back in the 70s, where she's partaking in a rally protesting against the Vietnam War.
  • Mental Time Travel: Patricia and Sam find a wardrobe containing their Aunt Dolores' old clothes, dating back to the 50s, 60s and so on. They decide to play around dressing up at random, only to realize putting on era-specific clothes will bring them back to said era and re-live the past (including an era before they're born), though they're only capable of observing how the past unfolds and unable to interact with the events.
  • No Antagonist: Another book without a villain or antagonistic force, since it's about Patricia and Sam discovering their family's past secrets.
  • The Pig-Pen: Both Aunt Dolores' automobile and house are covered with trash, ranging from books and papers scattered everywhere to used cigarette butts and the whole place smelling of cigars. Then again, it's expected for an elderly lady living alone.

    #31: Shriek Home Chicago 

  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The troll-like Orco is mistaken as a Bigfoot-like cryptid after being spotted roaming around Chicago's parks.
  • Blood Magic: It turns out the Orco has to feast on the blood of an innocent once a day to maintain his immortality.
  • Call-Back:
    • Anthony is freaked out by a furry brown hand suddenly clapping his shoulder, thinking it's the Orco, but turns out to be someone's gloved hand. Something similar happened to Paul in the previous book, where the hand actually belonged to a shaggy mountain-man.
    • The last scene takes place in a high spot. In Troll it's the cliffs of some Italian mountains, here it's the top of the Sears Tower.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Sears Tower having its top floor renovated and briefly mentioned in the opening chapters seems to set up Paul and Anthony confronting the Orco in that very tower at the end.
  • Child Eater: The Orco especially delights in feasting on children, a trait unseen in the previous book. When re-encountering Paul for the first time the Orco even says how much he's going to enjoy eating Paul.
  • Country Mouse: This time, it's Anthony from rural Pinzolo experiencing hijinks in Chicago. Up to asking Paul where Americans buy things like grenades and machine guns or rent a tank when realizing the Orco has returned.
  • Dream Intro: Just like in Troll, the first chapter has Paul suddenly seeing the Orco hiding in his closet before he realize it's a dream.
  • Fountain of Youth: The Orco reveals that he went searching for a magic spring that would grant eternal life. Unfortunately, his actions before finding it (murdering his own crewmates) led to him being cursed in doing so, turning him into a monster and requiring him to feast on the blood of an innocent once a day to maintain his immortality.
  • Invisible to Adults: This sequel finally reveals why any of the adult characters couldn't see the Orco in the previous book's Cassandra Truth moments; he could only be seen by kids around Paul and Anthony's age.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: In the climax, Paul and Anthony, cornered by the Orco, finally decide to fight back with whatever they have, starting with Anthony using a hidden pocketknife, and later a rolling pin. At which point the Orco is revealed to be a Dirty Coward and begins fleeing from the boys.
  • Previously on…: The literary version, there's a brief recap in the first chapter about Paul and Anthony's misadventures in Italy and encounter with the Orco.
  • Reduced to Dust: How the Orco's finally defeated; after being overpowered and failing to capture Paul and Anthony before midnight, and therefore having not fed on the blood of an innocent that day, several hundred years' worth of time catches up to it and it crumbles into dust for good.
  • Returning Big Bad: The Orco is back, and while the previous book made it ambiguous whether the Orco is aware of its actions or merely an animal behaving according to instincts, in this one it turns out the Orco is perfectly sentient.
  • Rolling Pin of Doom: Paul and Anthony are cornered by the Orco near a kitchen. When the Orco tries devouring the former, the latter grabs a rolling pin and begins attacking the Orco, which somehow works.
  • Sequel Episode: The story is a direct sequel to the eighth book Terror on Troll Mountain.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Inverted, the original story is set in Italy and revolves around an Italian-American kid from Chicago visiting Pinzolo. This one returns to Chicago, with the Country Cousin flying over to the States.
  • Stupid Evil: Basically, the Orco. The monster is quite content in its home in the Italian mountains, and in the previous book it survives falling off a cliff while stalking Paul and Anthony, two kids fleeing from it that the Orco barely knew. Rather than staying put in Italy, somehow the Orco feels the need to stalk the duo by sneaking aboard Anthony's flight to Chicago, and hunt down the two in a big city it's unfamiliar with. Of course this gets the Orco killed at the end.
  • Was Once a Man: It turns out the Orco used to be a human pirate in the 16th Century, seeking a magical Fountain of Youth in Pinzolo. He murdered all his men to keep the fountain's powers for himself, only to be cursed into becoming a monster called the Orco and can only feast on the blood of the innocents to maintain his immortality.
  • You Can Talk?: In this misadventure, it turns out the Orco can speak English. In a thick British accent, despite being a cryptid from Italy. And is actually quite a talker, having long conversations with Paul. Justified due to the Was Once a Man twist.

    #32: Beware the Bog Girl 

  • All Myths Are True: In typical 90s horror literature fashion, the Bog Girl used to be a myth among the Gullah community until the nosey protagonist Julie convinces her new friend Lucy to investigate the allegedly haunted swap the Bog Girl haunts. Now they're stalked by the titular creature and must figure a way out.
  • Antagonist Title: The Bog Girl, who wants Julie and Lucy dead after they intruded her swamp.
  • Big Word Shout: In the final chapter, when Julie is leaving South Carolina with her father only for it to rain. And then, Julie sees the Bog Girl reanimating. It's literally the last sentence of the entire book.
  • Cassandra Truth: Julie and Lucy fought off the Bog Girl the first time, only for Julie's father to walk in and realize the room's covered in mud caused by the Bog Girl's prints. Julie's attempt at explaining "the Bog Girl did it" earns her a grounding.
  • Close-Knit Community: The entire story is set on a small island somewhere in South Carolina, featuring the native Gullah people, an African-American subculture. It's scarcely populated and everyone seems to know each other.
    Lucy: That's Mr. Pawley. My aunt's neighbour. He's like an uncle to me.
    Julie: Everyone on this island is like an uncle to you...
  • Covered in Mud: Both Julie and Lucy ends up caked in mud after a narrow escape from the Bog Girl.
  • Dismemberment Is Cheap: While chased by the Bog Girl, Julie briefly splashes the contents of a teapot on the Bog Girl, which somehow causes the creature's entire arm to melt off. Julie thinks she's found the Bog Girl's weakness, only for the creature to regrow another longer arm as a replacement. Later on Lucy saves Julie as the Bog Girl is about to smother Julie alive by whacking the creature's entire head off with a huge stick. The Bog Girl promptly regrows a new cranium.
  • Eye of Newt: Julie and Lucy decide to attempt luring away the Bog Girl with an ancient Gullah ritual, which requires ingredients like chili peppers, sulfur, shells of a rotten egg, feathers of a chicken killed on a Sunday, and pain. The last one makes Julie grow wide-eyed.
  • Home Field Advantage: The reason why the Bog Girl is so powerful and nigh-unstoppable, capable of stalking Julie and Lucy wherever they go, is because of the story being set near the swamp where the girl is spawned. Lucy eventually comes up with an ancient Gullah spell to lure the Bog Girl away into dry land, in a hot afternoon where the sun will dry up the Bog Girl and turn the story into their favour. It works, the Bog Girl is finally destroyed but in the ending just as Julie is leaving South Carolina, she sees the Bog Girl reforming in the swamp...
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Julie's new bestie Lucy, a native Gullah girl who's the sidekick character and saves Julie from the Bog Girl several times. It helps that being a Gullah native, Lucy is aware of the Bog Girl myth and is prepared.
    Julie: Did I say thank you for saving my life?
    Lucy: Only about a dozen times.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The Bog Girl is a ghost made of mud. Who can't leave the bog unless she's inhabiting a body made of swamp slime. According to the native Gullah girl Lucy, all Gullah ghosts works on the same principle as the Bog Girl — powered by the swamp's waters, and becoming increasingly stronger in the presence of rain.
  • Practically Different Generations: Julie is assumed to be around ten, like the usual Shivers protagonists. Her only other sibling is her six-month-old kid brother Joe.
  • Quicksand Sucks: How the Bog Girl became who she currently is; when alive, she was a spoiled child named Eugenie who drowned in the swamp's quicksand pits. Julie manages to convince her new friend Lucy to explore the Bog Girl's swamp, only to lose a shoe to a sudden quicksand pit that appears out of nowhere.
  • Shout-Out: When searching through Eugenie's old stuff, Julie and Eugenie randomly decide to re-enact a few scenes straight out of Gone with the Wind. Julie even name-drops Scarlett O'Hara.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The Bog Girl is a spiritual entity made of mud, who roams around a swamp (hence her name). When alive, she used to be a spoiled girl named Eugenie Habersham who ran away from home, drowned in the swamp, and haunts the place.
  • Swamp Monster: The titular Bog Girl is less of a girl and more of a Humanoid Abomination made of mud. And smells like a swamp.
  • Sweet Baker: Julie's new friend, Lucy, is a baker and the nicest character in the book. After she and Julie easily become friends and Julie is leaving with her newly-bought loaf of bread, Lucy eagerly sneaks a few ginger cookies in as token of friendship.
  • Tempting Fate: Julie has so much fun looking through Eugenie's stuff that she wishes her little guest (the Bog Girl, duh) "doesn't show". She does.
    Bog Girl: [emitting a Ghostly Wail] Tooooooo baaaaad....

    #33: The Forgotten Farmhouse 

  • Body Horror: The book spares no details in describing the circumstances of the ghost family. Like Daniel whose head constantly flops over due to missing his throat and most of his neck, Sara walking around with a hole behind her head, and so on.
  • Cat Scare: Nico gets one from a ghost cat in the farmhouse. Which he assumes to be a normal cat, but that was before Nico and Ana enter and discover they're stuck with the cabin's spooky inhabitants.
  • Call-Back: The two ghost-kids are named Daniel and Sara, sharing names with the protagonists from an earlier book, The Awful Apple Orchard. Note that Daniel and Sara died in their book as well, though they're obviously not the same characters due to the circumstances of their demise being different.
  • Covers Always Lie: Cover artist Eddie Rosebloom's skeleton fetish isn't anything new at this point of the series. There are no horse-riding skeletons in the book, just deformed ghosts.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The story takes place over the course of an evening and a night, roughly half a day.
  • Holding the Floor: When Nico is separated from Ana and cornered by the ghosts, he does his best to buy time by talking, firstly reminding the ghosts "You're dead!" and telling them "Maybe I'm the one who killed you!", all while reaching for the ghosts' shotgun, discarded aside. His one-sided conversation somehow lasts for five pages, only for the ghosts to grab the shotgun anyway, but then Ana arrives on her horse and pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: How the ghosts in the farmhouse are described, having the same injuries they sustained while alive in ghost forms. The house's owner notably has half a face missing and is still capable of speech, the ghost-boy Daniel is incapable of speech due to being killed by having his throat ripped out, and his sister Sara is missing a brain from a hole behind her head.
  • Minimalist Cast: Consisting of Nico, his sister Ana and a farmhouse haunted by four ghosts (five if the cat counts).
  • Mysterious Mist: The titular farmhouse makes an appearance when the protagonists, Nico and Ana, ride into a fog that appeared out of nowhere before stumbling into a mysterious, haunted old farmhouse.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The ones on this book still looks like human, can interact with Nico and Ana, and seems like normal people until they have a closer look. Also, the ghost-father has a shotgun he uses to threaten intruders.

    #34: Weirdo Waldo's Wax Museum 

  • Alliterative Title: A triple "W" in Weirdo Waldo's Wax Museum.
  • Darker and Edgier: By far the darkest entry in the entire series, with the story delving into themes like genocide, racism, wars, all which are depicted graphically. The Keeper is also easily the most atrocious antagonist of the series and a solid Knight of Cerebus with a body count up to thousands, as revealed by the truth behind the wax museum's displays.
  • Death of a Child: Many of the Keeper's past victims include children as well as adults.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Billy himself has quite the mouthful of snark, and as the book is written in first-person the reader gets a close glimpse of a snarker's mind.
    "The Nerdroids. Are horn-rimmed glasses hereditary? And The Cretins. Lots of in-breeding going on in that family. Best of all, The Prepmeister Clan. Proof that money can't buy brains."
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The "family" version appears in this book, where every family tricked into entering the Keeper's museum starts off at the wrong foot and are often butting heads; after they work together to destroy the Keeper, in the epilogue it's revealed they often goes on reunion vacations and are friendly with one another by the end.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: From one little girl in the tour:
    "Mommy, what are these heathens?"
  • In the Hood: Mad Mac, the mysterious Keeper and host of the Wax Museum tour, has his face hidden in a hood for the entire story, to the point where Billy condescendingly calls him the Caped Creature. Initially the adults in the tour thinks it's to maintain the vacation's mysterious atmosphere, but eventually it turns out Mad Mac's hood is to hide his face, which is made entirely of wax.
  • In Medias Res: The plot begins with a scene of the main family being trapped in a dungeon made of melting wax, and it goes back to explain how they got that point.
  • Insufferable Genius: Billy is one in the sense that he's certainly intelligent and also incredibly smug and vain. The Nedley Family are a more straightforward example, having the stereotypical big glasses and sophisticated vocabulary.
  • Kill It with Fire: It turns out the Keeper, Mad Mac, is a demonic entity made entirely of wax, shrouded in dark robes. Upon being set on fire by Chrissy, the Keeper burns uncontrollably and like the museum itself, starts melting away into nothingness. In the final scene two years later, the families will regularly burn candles resembling the Keeper as part of their reunion celebration.
  • Meaningful Name: The main family has a father who tries to spend as little as money as possible, and their last name is "Miser".
  • Never Trust a Title: The owner of the titular Wax Museum is actually named Mad Mac, not Weirdo Waldo.
  • Pyromaniac: Chrissy Miser is exposed as a budding pyromaniac. She kills the Keeper at the end by lighting his robes on fire.
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension: Variant in the climax: The Misers, the last family not entombed by the Keeper, are stuck in a room filling with wax. It seems like they're done for, but then Billy realizes the ''walls' are made of wax, too, and they can punch their way out.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: The protagonist has a father who is so cheap that he only buys these, with named examples being Darbies, Stony WalkKids, and Game Guys (which have a game called The Luigi Brothers.)
  • Spotting the Thread: When the tour's visitors start visiting, one family at a time, Billy realize something's amiss, despite his miser father's persistence to finish the tour. It was then that Billy looks at some of the exhibits and realizes there's something familiar about the wax sculptures.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Chrissy Misser is a child who likes setting things on fire a little too much. She ends up saving the day by incinerating the Keeper.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: Louise Miser is a former beauty queen and apparently rather vain, as she's vocally unhappy by the lack of attractive people in the wax museum tour group. Her son Billy inherited this trait.
  • Wardrobe Wound: While escaping the wax museum, Billy briefly stops to complain that his favourite "Rude Dudes" punk rocker T-shirt has been ruined by the wax.
  • Wax Museum Morgue: The very setting of the story. However, beyond the stereotypical wax displays usually used, the museum in question has multiple displays that demonstrate the history of man's cruelty, including racial and religious persecution, wars, slavery, genocides, and the Holocaust. The families invited to the museum each represent a different stereotype: rich, poor, jock, nerd, religious, and redneck. Their host has done this to demonstrate their unwillingness to cooperate and constant bickering and judgement of one another. At the end, Billy starts smashing open the wax figures around him but is shocked to find most of the older figures only contain human bones, and is told to focus on the most recent victims.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The final chapter takes place two years later, depicting the families after destroying Mad Mac and surviving the museum, now having their annual reunion vacation. A relationship seems to have formed between their various children, too, with Billy being paired with Nancy; and then, Chrissy melts a wax figurine of the Keeper.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: A number of families, each with their own personal flaws, are invited into a mysterious tourist spot, only to be dragged into all sorts of horrifying hijinks where each and every family gets eliminated one-by-one, until the protagonists' are the only ones left. Might as well call this one Billy Miser and the Wax Museum.

    #35: Terror on Tomahawk Island 

    #36: Madness at the Mall 

  • Acid Pool: One of the (many) supernatural occurrences in the mall, where the wishing fountain's pool inexplicably have its contents turned into acid. While passing the fountain, Tom randomly decides to throw a coin into the waters, only for the coin to dissolve into nothing.
  • All Myths Are True: Earlier in the story before things goes wrong, Tom tells Frank the rumours from his class that the mall is supposedly haunted because it was built atop an animal graveyard, and that restless animal souls stalk the building after the sun sets. Frank predictably scoffs at the stories, but once Frank unintentionally gets him and Tom trapped in said mall they realize they're cornered by hordes of undead animals.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Tom, who is eight, does have his moments, like when he teases Frank over going out with a girl and telling Frank he won't spill the beans to their parents over Frank sneaking out at night if Frank hands over all his allowance. But then the brothers are stuck in the haunted mall, at which point Tom drops his pesky sibling nature and quickly works with Frank as a team.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Frank, the elder brother protagonist, towards Tom, after they're trapped in a closed shopping mall filled with malfunctioning escalators, acid-filled fountains and hostile animal spirits.
  • Call-Back: The protagonists are stalked by killer animals, and somehow a video game figures into the plot (where the protagonist is expected to be good at it in order to survive and escape). The Animal Rebellion uses a somewhat identical premise.
  • Covers Always Lie: It's already the last book of the series, you wouldn't expect illustrator Eddie Rosebloom to miss out on sticking some animated skeletons that don't appear at any point of the story on its cover, do you?
  • Duck!: While acting as Frank's mission control, Tom tells Frank to duck via walkie-talkies. Frank narrowly avoids a flock of flying avian spirits (who may or may not be actual ducks).
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The mall's animal spirits can only be escaped by playing through a possessed video game console, and naturally every animal that appears is hostile — including the hamsters, snapping turtles and canaries.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The main events occur from late evening to before midnight.
  • Fictional Video Game: "Animal Pursuit", Tom's favourite game.
  • Intimacy Via Horror: One of the positive things Frank has to say about the Slasher Film, Revenge of the Savages: his date, Deanna, spends most of the runtime burying her face into his shoulders!
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Tom realizes his brother Frank is going on a movie date, and wants to come along. Frank complies (even though he really shouldn't, but doesn't want to miss his date with Deanna), and it turns out the movie is so scary and gorntastic that Tom spends most of the movie comically covering his eyes. That's right before they're locked in the mall and stalked by animal spirits...
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Tom's favourite video game is a fictional one called Animal Pursuit, a game where the player flees from killer animals and survives as long as possible. Somehow, his skills in playing said game turn out handy when guiding his brother Frank out of the building. Gets even weirder when Tom realizes he can control and move his brother like a video game character!
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When the brothers attempt an escape via escalator, said escalator suddenly gains a life of its own and tries chewing them up, with Tom narrowly escaping while losing his left sneaker after getting his shoelace caught. But then they pass a closed sportswear shop and Tom helps himself to a pair of replacement shoes.
  • The Mall: The story is set in one that's haunted, due to being built atop a pet cemetery. Brothers Frank and Tom (more of Frank dragging Tom along since he's babysitting the latter and doesn't want to miss out a date) sneaks out to watch a movie in said mall late at night, only for the brothers to be trapped when the building closes and realize they're being stalked by restless animal spirits.
  • Mission Control: Frank and Tom comes across a video console where they can see the mall's interiors via cameras. Frank decides that being the older brother who unintentionally dragged Tom into all this mess, he'll find a way out to get help while staying in contact with Tom using stolen walkie-talkies, with Tom informing Frank where to go while watching him.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: Somehow, the mall's animal spirits manage to possess a control panel, turning it into a video game console playing Tom's favourite game, "Animal Pursuit". Frank and Tom eventually find that console, and realize the animals want them to play their way out to escape.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: The closing chapter. Frank wonders if the entire episode at the mall is just some bizarre hallucination, until he realizes a pair of scissors he was carrying — and briefly used to defend himself against a ghost-cat — are inexplicably covered in blood.
  • Raising the Steaks: The mall in the story is haunted by undead animals roaming the floors from sunset to sunrise. Frank and Tom need to survive an entire night after getting locked in the building.
  • Shout-Out: The mall is built atop a pet cemetery. The words "pet cemetery" are even thrown around by various characters.
  • Show Within a Show: Frank and his date, Deanna (and Frank's brother Tom, whom he's supposed to be babysitting but eventually dragged along for the ride), watch an R-Rated movie called Revenge of the Savages, late at night when his parents expect him to be at home. Based on the description, it appears to be some 80s Splatter Horror homage.
  • Tuckerization: The opening dedication said the book is "For Lindsay and Frank". It's unknown who Lindsay is note , but Frank is the book's main character.
  • You Just Had to Say It: The brothers get themselves stuck in a dark, spooky mall, and Tom remarks "It's almost like the mall is..." before Frank stops him from finishing with "haunted". Then cue the undead animal spirits.

Alternative Title(s): Shivers