Friday the 13th, Camp Crystal Lake #2: Jason’s Curse – Eric Morse

“You crazy kids want to die tonight, is that the idea?”

After a poorly timed sore throat caused her to miss out on attending last year’s Mother’s Day massacre, Kelly Boone is preparing for her own Camp Crystal Lake slaycation. Jason Some random hunter wearing Jason’s mask killed her older brother in Book 1 and she’s ready to take action.

Unfortunately Jason isn’t the man behind the mask in this book either. I’m guessing he’s still hanging out in Hell; the first book appeared to take place sometime after Jason Goes to Hell in the Voorhees-verse timeline. Jason does have a very brief cameo of sorts in this book; it’s possible he was hallucinated by someone who’d lost a significant amount of blood but I’d prefer to believe it was him somehow briefly reanimated as mist. Since Jason is currently mostly unavailable we have yet another new hockey mask wearer.

So, who are potentially nearly departed?

Kelly Boone – Our hero with the tragic past. Now 18, Kelly has gone from captain of the varsity basketball team to someone who didn’t even apply for college. She has a lot of nightmares and migraines, and is depressed. When she’s not busy smoking she’s in the library researching Crystal Lake. She has a plan. She has a hunting knife. She should be a shoo in to survive. However, she is also the first person to suggest the group split up so my Horror 101 alarm bells are ringing. But someone has to survive, right?

“I mean, our whole lives are at stake, okay? In case you want some motivation.”

Doug Sanderson – Kelly’s boyfriend. This “cool and relaxed” 23 year old drives a beat up Volvo and consistently flunks courses at the local community college. Not the brightest of contestants, he’s a serial flirt and cheater so there’s no way he’s making it out of Crystal Lake alive.

Tina Chen – Miguel’s girlfriend. She’s 17, smart and planning on studying psychology at NYU. Her psychobabble and willingness to cheat on her boyfriend don’t bode well for her.

Miguel Hernandez – Tina’s boyfriend. He’s 18, works at a karate school and is excited to be going monster hunting. His martial arts training could potentially be useful but his annoying Beavis and Butthead impressions may make you wish hockey mask guy would shut him up. His arrogance may be his undoing:

“Actually, mister, we’re going to stick around, see, and kill Jason for you, since no one around here seems like they can do it themselves.”

Big Red – the man behind the mask. I felt for this 45 year old with the artificial leg, glass eye and permanent indentation in his bald head. He’s survived a bucketload of awfulness in his life and I probably would’ve still wanted to give him a hug while he was swinging a machete at me. It doesn’t matter how much I want him to be okay though. He’s the guy wearing the hockey mask. He’s toast!

Ma and Pa – Big Red’s parents. Depending on what their backstory is they probably have a 50/50 shot of surviving (at best).

Tuck – Pa’s drinking buddy who runs the fishing store. Horror 101 taught me that alcohol intake is usually enough to warrant a death scene so it’s probably not looking too promising for good ol’ Tuck.

Bud – Pa’s other drinking buddy. He has a son (Bud Junior), daughter-in-law (Jessie) and three grandkids, Cassie (6), James (4) and Little Billy (a baby). The adults are fair game but surely the children will live long enough to grow up to be adults that a new generation hockey mask killer can slaughter.

Darlene – The new waitress. She wears the name tag of the diner’s last waitress, who was previously sliced and diced. This doesn’t seem like a good omen.

Officer Donner – Law enforcement types don’t usually fare so well in slasher type encounters so I’m not holding my breath for this one.

This was a fun read but I didn’t get into the characters as much as I did in the first book. A lot of the death scenes took place off page and as I’ve already mentioned, Jason isn’t the slasher in this story so that was a let down.

Jason’s mask has some weird but kind of cool, leave-your-brain-disengaged powers. After donning the mask, Big Red’s glass eye begins to somehow show him scenes from the past, including one he would have been too young to remember himself. There’s also some unexplained magical connection between the hockey mask and Big Red’s artificial leg.

While I wanted to believe the hockey mask magic was possible, the story pretty much left me behind when Boone (Kelly’s brother), who came back as a sort of ghost, sort of corporeal evil dead guy, started helping out the hockey mask guy! I thought for a while that he may have been Kelly’s sleep deprived hallucination but he didn’t seem to be. Surely Kelly, who’d risked everything to avenge her brother’s death, deserved at least a “thanks for that, little sis” before Boone turned evil, if he absolutely had to.

Body count – 14 people and 1 grasshopper, if I’ve counted correctly. Most, but not all, of these deaths were orchestrated by our Jason wannabe.

Cover image: While this picture is cheesy horror fun, it doesn’t exactly line up with the story. None of our couples take a boat trip together, the guy in the hockey mask is supposed to be bald and wearing overalls, and even he would know better than to hang out in the lake, considering the abundance and size of the leeches that live there.

From the bizarre coincidences department: This book was my 169th read so far this year. The square root of 169 just so happens to be 13. Coincidence or X-File?!

Content warnings include domestic violence, physical abuse of a child and bullying.

I found the awesome artwork near the beginning of this review at dandingeroz.deviantart.com.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Obsessed by the murder of her brother at Camp Crystal Lake, Kelly Boone sets out to put to rest forever the evil legacy of Jason Voorhees, but the curse is reawakened when a backwoods fisherman hooks a surprising catch, Jason’s hockey mask.

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