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The Ruins

The Ruins - Scott B. Smith When I noticed that there was a girl named Amy in this story, I knew she'd be the first to die. It seems to be some unwritten literary rule to kill off anyone named Amy first (except in Little Women where you only wished she was the one that died).

So, yeah. People die in this book, but I won't tell you how many.

The story opens with a group of college students from the U.S., Greece, and Germany who have met in CancĂșn, Mexico. When the German's brother doesn't return from an archeological dig, the group follows the map the brother left behind to try to find what's happened to him. When they get to the site, they find a beautiful hill covered in vines with poppy-like red flowers, empty tents, supplies, but no people. The Mayans who live in the area surround the hill and won't let the tourists leave on threat of death. In fact, it's not long before the group begins to find the remains of all the others who've not been allowed to leave this hill. But why?

I have no idea how to rate this on a horror scale because I'm apparently immune to being horrified by most horror. One reason I was interested in this book, though, was that it's by the same author as A Simple Plan which did cause me more mental anguish that the average horror movie. Sadly, I hear that the movie for The Ruins wasn't all that great (mostly 1-3 stars on Netflix).

I did, however, discover the trick to writing horror and thrillers when reading this book. The author reveals in in a game of word play between two characters. (I do so love word play games). The more I read this book, the more I realized this was the plan the author was following in his writing. The rule is that the first person presents a scenario, the second adds a "but" scenario and the first person follows with a "so" scenario like this:
There was this girl who bought a piano.
But she didn't know how to play it.
So she signed up for lessons.
But couldn't afford them.
So she got a job in a factory.
But she was fired for being late.
So she became a prostitute.
But fell in love with her first client.
So she asked him to marry her.
But he was already married.
So she begged him to get a divorce.
But he was in love with his wife.
So she decided to kill her.

I have to admit that I did spend my entire day reading this book yesterday. It was quite the page turner, so I guess the word play game works quite well.