25. Twisted Window – Lois Duncan
Suspense! October has become young adult thriller month for me. I’m looking at the hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today, probably without much airplay for today.
Lois Duncan is pretty much a master of young adult suspense. She’s personally responsible for I Know What You Did Last Summer, which became an amusingly soundtracked – Type O Negative AND Hooverphonic, together at last – film with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s boobs, Stranger with my Face, Summer of Fear, and Killing Mr. Griffin which was made into a movie with Michelle Williams and the Pink Ranger (Amy Jo Johnson) in 1997 and had its themes mangled into a somewhat unfortunate film with Katie Holmes called Teaching Mrs. Tingle in 1999. Dawson’s Creek fight! Lois Duncan is also responsible for Hotel for Dogs.
Is the twisted window the one that distorts faces in real time in the novel…or is it Brad’s mind?? Sorry, might have ruined that. Twisted Window was published in 1987, which explains the outfits on the cover. Tuck in those shirts, high school students! Tuck ‘em in. It follows Tracy Lloyd, a teen whose mother has recently been murdered in New York City and Brad Johnson, a potential nut job from Albuquerque. Brad pretends to be a high school student to gain Tracy’s trust and ask her out – but not so he can murder or date her, which is refreshing. Anyway, Brad and Tracy end up in a web of lies and deceit and kidnapping and gender confusion (at least Tracy gets confused about a gender). It’s solidly written, Tracy walking home alone a standout scene for me. It’s an innocuous event, but Duncan brings out the tension of being stuck in your own head and also being vaguely aware of being watched that’s probably familiar to many ladies who have walked through public parks alone in the dark. Nobody wants to end up on Cold Case, even if it means your story will be narrated by Bill Kurtis’ soothing voice.