Book: “Wrong Number 2” (Fear Street #27) by R.L. Stine
Publishing Info: Simon Pulse, 1995
Where Did I Get This Book: Ebook from the library!
Book Description: Don’t answer that phone!
“You’re not safe anywhere. I’ll get my revenge!”
Can it really be Mr. Farberson on the line? He has to still be locked up after trying to kill Jade and Deena last year. Maybe the calls are just someone’s idea of a sick joke. But who else could possibly know the things the caller knows?
Then they realize that someone is nearby, watching them, close enough to know their every move. Someone who desperately wants revenge. Someone who wants to reach out…and kill them.
Had I Read This Before: No
The Plot: So given that R.L. Stine had taken Deena Martinson, his main gal in “Wrong Number”, and put her in a number of other “Fear Street” cameos, I shouldn’t have been surprised that his first sequel book was going to be “Wrong Number 2”. I don’t think that Deena is a particularly compelling heroine, but the dude sure seems to fixate on her, and that’s why we are here now. We start with Deena having a flashback to the night that Mr. Farberson, the man she crank called and therein she found out killed his wife, tried to kill her and her best friend Jade with a chainsaw. All because her rotten half brother Chuck (fucking Chuck) who did the prank call in the first place. But Deena reminds herself that Mr. Farberson is in prison and won’t be getting out. The next night in her friend Jade’s bedroom, the two girls catch us up on what’s been happening since book 1. Rob and Deena broke up, she’s thinking of asking out the hot Australian exchange student Steve, and Jade is dating a guy named Teddy who’s on the basketball team. Deena finds a letter from Chuck to Jade, as they had been going out before he went off to college. Apparently he’s staying out of trouble, but we’re reminded that he’s a ‘hothead’. I recall him being a total cock, but whatever. Jade says she’s been seeing other guys because Chuck is off at school, and I say good for her. Deena worries Chuck may lose his temper over it (asshole), and Jade shrugs is off and leaves the room to find some chips. Then her bedroom phone rings. Deena answers and it’s someone saying that ‘this is your wrong number, and I’m coming to get you REAL soon’. Deena is convinced it’s Mr. Farberson, but Jade reminds her that he’s in prison. That night when Deena goes home, she also gets a similar call.
The next day at school Deena is having a hard time focusing. Even when she bumps into Steve (who literally says ‘g’day’ to her), and she makes a bad joke and immediately regrets it. When she and Jade are walking home she tells her about the phone call, and Jade thinks that it has to be someone else since Farberson is in prison and probably isn’t calling them at all hours. They notice a strange car following them, and when it speeds up to match their pace they make a break for it towards Jade’s house. They lose the car, but are certain it wasn’t following them just to ask directions. The next day at school Deena sees Steve walking with Bree Wade from “Double Date” (you know one of those badass twins who humiliated a misogynist), and decides that she couldn’t possibly compete with her. She and Jade go to the basketball game that night, and Deena notices a strange guy in an orange hunting cap who appears to be watching them. Because orange hunting caps are super incognito. Teddy throws the winning shot, and the Shadyside Tigers are victorious!!! Later that night Teddy drops them off at Jade’s house and he and Jade make out while poor Deena just kind of stands there. They eventually go inside the empty house (as Jade’s sister is at a friend’s and her mom is at a ‘hairdressers party’, whatever that is). Jade confides that Teddy is a fun distraction while Chuck is away. Then there is a tapping on the window, and since they’re on the second floor they both freak out. They open the curtain, expecting I don’t know what, but it’s even worse. It’s Chuck.
He was the one in the ugly baseball cap at the game. They let him in the window and he and Jade fall right back into their old romantic interactions, and I’m missing the basketball player. Deena asks why he’s home a week before winter break, and he tells them that he dropped out of school because a couple of professors were ‘giving him a hard time’. He tells them that he’s decided to move to L.A. and break into show business. He just needs to get some money, and NO, DEENA, he isn’t going to tell their Dad and Deena’s Mom! He then tells Jade that he saw her kissing Teddy at the basketball game, and Jade basically tells him that she is always going to go out and have fun with boys but will always wait for him. Deena sends him on home with her key, telling him that Mom and Dad are gone on a trip so he can rest easy for now, and she stays the night at Jade’s. The phone rings in the middle of the night, and Deena answers. It’s the mysterious caller, and he asks them if he remembers the closet they hid in.
The next day Deena gets home to find her parents yelling at Chuck. They argue about him dropping out, and he runs off, saying that he’s going to L.A. at the end of the week. Deena finds him at Jade’s house that afternoon, where they are watching a movie and he’s trying to convince Jade to come to L.A. with him. Jade says that she’s still in HIGH SCHOOL, dummy, and Deena points out he has no money. Chuck says he’ll get it, and tells Jade that she’d be safer if she came with him, as she told him about the calls. The doorbell rings and Jade goes to answer it. Outside she finds an envelope, and when she opens it has a letter that says “YOUR TURN NEXT”, as well as a crudely drawn bloody chainsaw. Deena points out that prison mail is censored, so it couldn’t possibly be Farberson, and Chuck suggests that they go drive past Farberson’s house to see if someone is there, in case he got out somehow. So that means we’re driving to Fear Street.
They drive to the ol’ Farberson house, and it looks ramshackle and abandoned.. Except for the FLICKERING LIGHT IN THE UPSTAIRS WINDOW. Chuck, being a total fucktruck, decides that he’s going to check it out and hops out of the car! I personally say they should let him die. As he heads up the porch, the light moves to the downstairs! Jade jumps out to warn him, and then the sound of an engine comes from behind the house. Chuck goes to check that out (goddamn I hate him), but Jade pulls him back to the car. She manages to slip in the snow and hurt her ankle, and Chuck guides her back, just as a car comes out of the Farberson driveway and takes aim at Chuck and Jade. They manage to get into the car, and a car chase begins. It’s a dicey one, but they manage to get away as the other car crashes into another one. When they get back to Jade’s house, Deena says that it was a WOMAN driving the car coming after them. Deena and Jade think they should tell the cops, but Chuck balks, saying that the cops will accuse them of ‘looking for trouble’. Deena says they should tell their parents at least, but Chuck says that they will be grounded. Yeah, these are definitely just as bad outcomes as being horrifically murdered. Jade says that the woman following them and calling them MUST have been Farberson’s girlfriend from the first book! Deena reminds her that the caller is a man and Jade tells her that she has ‘read about a little electronic gadget that can make a man sound like a woman or a woman sound like a man’. And this is even before “Scream” used this to it’s full effect!!!
They remember her name is Linda Morrison and Jade finds her address in the phone book. She suggests they pay her a visit the next day to show her they aren’t afraid of her.
The next day Deena wakes up to the sounds of Chuck and her Dad fighting again. Chuck runs off and while I do feel that their father completely failed him in life by leaving his mother and starting a new family right away, I can’t really blame Mr. Martinson for his ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ approach at the moment because Chuck is THE WORRRRRRRST. Jade shows up in super adulty business clothes, telling Deena’s parents that she and Deena are helping out at a ‘business’ party her mom is throwing, and they fall for it. Upstairs Jade tells Deena she has a plan to confront Morrison without being familiar: she saw a ‘for sale’ sign on Morrison’s house, and so they are going to pretend to be real estate agents who can help her find a buyer. Her aunt, you see, is a realtor so Jade knows how it works. She also got some wigs and some make up to disguise them. So they go off on this Lucy and Ethel-esque scheme, all dolled up and totally unrecognizable. They go to Morrison’s house, and Linda lets them in. When she insists on seeing a business card, Jade has one she took from her Aunt. Always thinking, that Jade. When Linda leaves them to ‘take measurements’, Jade and Deena snoop. They find a key to Farberson’s house (with a keychain that says ‘Farberson’, how convenient) and a drawn diagram of the Farberson house. But then Linda confronts them, saying she called the real estate firm and that they aren’t who they say they are, and she remembers them from the unpleasantness from the year before. She asks what they want, and Jade asks why she has been calling them. Linda says she hasn’t been calling them, and admits to following them the night before but only because THEY had scared HER. Because she’s been told that Farberson may be getting out of prison on a technicality! She was at Farberson’s house because he’d stolen a bunch of money from his restaurant and was convinced that Linda had taken it, even though she didn’t. She was searching the house because he said he’d hidden it there, and was scared he’d kill her if she didn’t produce it. She then accuses Jade and Deena of taking it, but Jade shuts that shit down right away. She tells them that they should be careful in case Farberson gets out.
They reconvene with Chuck and get him all caught up, and he says he thinks that Linda has the money and was lying. And then he thinks that the money is rightfully theirs!!!! After all, they went through so much the year before, they’ve EARNED it, obviously. Jade seems to agree with this assessment.
Chuck says that he’s going to find that money, and goes out the door, but then is attacked by a strange man dressed in black! Turns out it’s Teddy, who has mistaken Jade yelling at Chuck for something criminal. They fight, and when Chuck tries to attack him he miscalculates his attack, falls, and cracks his head on the ground. An ambulance comes for stupid head, and Jade tells Teddy that she’s seeing Chuck and she’s breaking up with you. You chose poorly, Jade.
They visit Chuck in his hospital room, and he confesses to them that HE WAS THE ONE WHO MADE THE PHONE CALLS TO THEM. And he’s been doing this because he literally wanted to scare Jade into dumping Teddy and follow him to L.A. so they could live happily ever after. He was also the one who scared them to death by following them home from school in a weird car the other day. But it’s just because he doesn’t want to lose Jade, guys.
AND THEY ARE COMPLETELY OKAY WITH IT. THEY ARE COMPLETELY OKAY WITH IT, GUYS. This is how I am feeling about all of this. But at least Farberson isn’t out.
Things start looking up and Steve asks Deena out, and just as she’s feeling better about everything, a news report comes on the TV a few days later. Turns out, FARBERSON HAS BEEN LET OUT AFTER ALL. And the Jade calls and tells Deena that Chuck checked himself out of the hospital, and he left a message for JAde telling her that he was going to go back to the Farberson house to look for the money. Deena tells Jade that Farberson is out, and they realize that he could find Chuck there, and I say LET HIM DIE, GODDAMMIT. But no, they decide to bus over to Farberson’s house (no cars tonight apparently). Jade says that Linda’s phone number has been disconnected and they figure she’s blown this pop stand. They get to the house and find the backdoor open. They go inside, and search for Chuck. They search all the rooms but don’t find him anywhere, but they find his hospital ID bracelet on the floor. They also find blood. THEN they find him in a closet, a wound on the side of his head. He tells them that he found the money, but then someone hit him on the head and took it. Deena thinks it must have been Farberson. They try to leave, but they hear someone opening the door to the kitchen. They dive out of the light, but see Mr. Farberson there. They rush to the basement looking for an escape, but Farberson finds them.
He ushers them back down to the basement and pulls a gun on Deena. He then demands that they hand over the money. Chuck says they don’t have it. Farberson doesn’t believe him, and he makes Deena tie Chuck and Jade up. He then ties her up, asks where his money is, and grabs his good ol’ chainsaw!!!!! He says he’ll cut them up if they don’t tell him where the money is. He starts to move in on Deena, but before he can do anything of the sort Chuck says he’ll talk. He admits he took it, but that someone else took it from him. Farberson isn’t convinced, but before he can cut Deena up, SURPRISE!! Linda Morrison is at the top of the steps with a gun!!! Linda says she’ll shoot him if he doesn’t put the gun down, and they start a showdown. He lunches at Linda with the saw, but he trips over some garbage, drops the saw, and FALLS ON IT, dying. Wow!!! Deena, Jade, and Chuck think they’re safe now…. But nope. Because Linda had planned from the start to kill Farberson, and she has the money!!! And she’s going to burn this place to the ground while they’re tied up. And let me tell you, she does it in the most Cersei Lannister kind of way, as she dumps a bunch of gasoline covered rags all around them on the floor, and lights a FRIGGIN’ CANDLE to burn down and set it all alight. She leaves the basement, and the teens have to figure out how to get out. Jade throws herself on the floor, shoves Farberson’s body off the chainsaw, and FUCKING CUTS HER ROPES ON THE BLOODY BLADE because she is a BADASS. The fire lights and Jade is able to untie Chuck and Deena. They rush up the steps but the door is locked! They break the door down and escape.
As an epilogue Deena, Steve, Jade, and Chuck are watching an old Alfred Hitchcock movie. It’s six months later, Chuck’s back in school, and since they helped catch Linda they got a monetary reward. Chuck jokes that they should do another prank call for old time’s sake, and Deena doesn’t know if he’s joking. The End.
Body Count: 1, and again, I want to point out that he FELL ON A CHAINSAW.
Romance Rating: 2. I cannot BELIEVE that Chuck and Jade are back together, and I miss Deena’s old boyfriend Rob, but she’s dating an Aussie so to her I say GET IT.
Bonkers Rating: 3. Not too crazy, in all honesty, chainsaw death aside.
Fear Street Relevance: 7, as we go back to the good ol’ Farberson house on Fear Street.
Silliest End of Chapter Cliffhanger:
“A deafening squeal. A long skid. The crunch of metal. The high tinkle of shattering glass. Then everything went dark.”
… And they weren’t actually in a car accident after all, just the two cars behind them.
That’s So Dated! Moments: The most glaring was that Jade makes mention that if she dyed her hair blonde, she would look like Sharon Stone. This is peak 1990s, y’all.
“I know you kids think this is some kind of Nancy Drew adventure story, but it’s not. It’s all real. And if I don’t get my money, I’m really going to hurt you.”
Linda Morrison speaking to every “Fear Street” reader out there, saying they better not make the same dumbshit decisions that Chuck, Deena, and Jade make.
Conclusion: As a sequel, “Wrong Number 2” is much of the same, except Chuck is even LESS likable this time around. You probably don’t have to read the first one to get caught up, but just know that they’re both equally lame. Up next I’m going to divert from the original “Fear Street” series and start the “Cheerleader” Trilogy!!!!