(M.J.E. / Writings / Book Reviews / Horror /
Schneebeli: Game's End)

Barry W. SCHNEEBELI: Game's End

A sequel to Mendal Johnson's Let's Go Play at the Adams'

Review by Michael Edwards

      The novel discussed here is a sequel to Mendal W. Johnson's Let's Go Play at the Adams', and, in order to discuss it, I have to disclose in full the ending of Johnson's novel. If you have not read Johnson's novel, and do not wish to have the crux of the plot disclosed, you are advised not to read the following until you have read it.

      Have you ever read the harrowing, haunting novel Let's Go Play at the Adams' by Mendal W. Johnson? If so, quite likely it is a story you will never forget, no matter how long ago you most recently read it: the burning, searing intensity of this story of a babysitter tied up, raped, tortured, and murdered by her young charges and their friends just will not allow you ever to forget it. If you have read it, you will probably be very interested in Barry W. Schneebeli's sequel to the novel, Game's End.
      When you finished Let's Go Play at the Adams', were you profoundly disturbed, even outraged, not only at the unspeakable deeds done to Barbara, but by the fact that the kids who did them got away with it? (That is, apart from faint premonitions in Johnson's Epilogue of the possible emotional disturbance these events might give them in later years.) If so, you will be gratified by Barry's sequel, because he reverses this conclusion and forces the kids to face up to the expected consequences of their actions.
      Game's End takes up Johnson's story from the penultimate chapter, changes one event, and then continues the saga. That one event is Barbara's death by torture, which Mendal Johnson so harrowingly related. Barry Schneebeli introduced a new character at this point: the young student, Jack Sievers, who happens to visit the Adams' house right at the time Barbara is being tortured, and manages to rescue her, sending Freedom Five running off in panic after grappling with John Randall and his red-hot poker.
      In spite of his hands being injured by the hot poker and having shotgun pellets in his lungs and legs, Jack manages to carry the naked, mutilated Barbara to his car and to drive her to a motel 15 miles away where he can attend to her, leaving Freedom Five to have an emergency meeting to try to figure out how to keep things contained after all these things have gone wrong.
      It's too late, though: with Barbara rescued and with Jack having witnessed some of the dreadful things done to Barbara, the truth will come out - and how gratifying it is, too, to see this happen, and to see the kids squirm as their own situation spirals out of control. The police get involved, and the whole machinery of the law starts to grind into action, and the reader enjoys a rather furtive feeling of Schadenfreude at the impending ruination of the five little monsters' lives.

      I have only read the opening chapters of Game's End so far, and the above is my overall impression so far. I only have computer files for the novel so far, not a paper copy, and the discomfort of reading on a laptop screen has been a deterrent so far to my reading further. However, I hope to read the complete novel on paper soon and in greater comfort, and I will add more comments to this page once I've done that.

      (... TO BE CONTINUED...)

      Game's End is not yet published, and it may be some time before it is, because of the difficulty Barry has so far had getting copyright clearance to use Mendal Johnson's characters and scenes. But it is to be hoped that the way will ultimately become clear for publication, since Game's End will undoubtedly be riveting reading for anyone who was originially riveted by Johnson's own novel.
      Meanwhile, Barry is distributing the novel to interested persons over the Internet, and he can be contacted via his web site at http://home.earthlink.net/~barschneebeli/.

Michael Edwards,
Victoria, Australia.

E-mail me about this book.

      Click here if you need an explanation for the strange appearance of the e-mail address which will appear when you click on the e-mail link, or if you don't know what you need to do to make the e-mail address work properly.

Original text copyright (C) 2000, by Michael Edwards.

Reviews of Game's End on other web sites

            by Ray Girvan
            by Steve Gerlach


      This page is obviously incomplete, as will be immediately apparent to anyone who reads it through. Please go here for an explanation about the setback that is responsible for my not completing this page, and why it may never be completed, or why it may happen only very slowly. Not that this makes any real difference to someone who would like to see the page complete - but I feel I should at least explain the situation.
      I will leave this page here, incomplete as it is, in case the information already written is useful to some readers researching a topic they may have difficulty finding information about on the Internet.

      The particular problem with this page is that I read the first few chapters of the book in the early months of 2000, wrote the above review soon after, and wasn't able to complete reading the book until a time (September and October, 2000) when I had to complete an extremely difficult change of address under considerable time pressure: I read the book in the evenings when due to darkness I was unable to work on moving, but otherwise I had no spare time whatever, and no opportunity to complete this review.
      Later, when I once again had the time to complete the review, I found myself unable to do so because my immediate thoughts on the book had faded a little with time. Now I find novels very difficult to read due to bouts of depression I've had in recent months, and it may be a long time before I'm able to read Barry's novel again. And that's where things stand at present with this review - unfortunately.

    Introduction - Front page, which leads to Contents
    Web Site of Michael Edwards - Contents

Site Map
    Writings by Michael Edwards
        Book reviews
                Mendal W. Johnson: Let's Go Play at the Adams'
                    Game's End - a sequel to Johnson's novel by Barry Schneebeli (this page)

This page created on Monday, 24 April, 2000;
last modified on Tuesday, 5 June, 2001.