Monday, May 12, 2014

Cold Calls - Charles Benoit

It all begins with a call to Eric.  The voice is distorted and there is air popping and clicks in the background.  The person calls several times and in the middle of the night tells Eric to check his inbox.  There is a picture taken from inside his room there in his e-mail.  Eric becomes paranoid and keeps checking his phone and e-mail for the mysterious caller.  After a few days of not hearing anything the mysterious caller calls.  He/she tells Eric they know his secret and to check his e-mail again.  In his e-mail is a picture he thought was gone forever.  If he doesn't do tasks on certain days and times the picture will get sent to everyone he knows.  Shelly got a call from the same distorted voice as Eric.  The caller tells her they know her secret.  Shelly has to complete several tasks and her secret won't get out.  Both Eric and Shelly dump food on kids at their respective schools and get suspended for a week.  They also have to complete a weekend bullying program for them to go back to school after the suspension.  They sit through videos and questions on Saturday.  They also had to write an essay about taking responsibility for their actions.  On Sunday there are only eight kids left.  As they complete paperwork saying they completed the program, Eric and Shelly overhear the teacher telling the security guard reasons some of the kids didn't come back.  The one that stands out is a strange voice called at night.  Shelly talks to Eric after the program.  She tries to convince him that the same person called both of them and told them to do certain things at certain times.  Eric thinks it's done with, but the voice calls him Sunday night telling him the macaroni and cheese task has to be done while he's suspended.  Fatima, one of the girls from the bullying program, calls Shelly.  Fatima finally gets to the point telling Shelly she got the same calls as Eric and Shelly.  When Eric gets back from working out he discovers that the mysterious caller has sent a picture to all of his contacts on his phone.  He finds Shelly's number and gives her a call.  Eric, Shelly, and Fatima meet at the library.  They hope to figure out who is behind the creepy calls before Thursday night to keep their secrets from getting out.  

Just like Benoit's other books I really enjoyed this one.  I liked how Benoit took on the issue of bullying.  I also liked the story being reminiscent of the mystery/thriller books by R. L. Stine, Richie T. Cusick, Diane Hoh, and Lois Duncan from the mid to late 1990's.  It was nice to have the nostalgia in a book set in today's technology driven society.  I would recommend Fall From Grace and You by Charles Benoit. 

T.B. 5/12/14

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