Point Horror: “The Lifeguard,” by Richie Tankersley Cusick (1988)

This is likely the first Point Horror entry to miss the mark entirely. Author Richie Tankersley Cusick has a knack with atmosphere but has trouble with characterization, with a rather whiny protagonist and a series of unlikable supporting characters with inconsistent characterizations. In addition, the central narrative deals with a number of difficult situations (including missing teenagers, a series of murders, and mental illness) but can’t seem to balance its more serious elements with the levity occasionally required in a young adult novel, resulting in various tonal shifts from chapter to chapter that test the reader’s patience.

Rating: ★★ (out of 5)

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