When Barbara was tasked with babysitting little Cindy and Bobby Adams, she didn’t have any reason to suspect anything was afoot. She even held an affinity for the Adams kids, who were receptive to their guardian’s instructions. There was no reason to think this gig would be different from any other. Then she awoke from her first night of sleep to find her arms and legs bound to the bed and her mouth gagged. Cindy and Bobby’s hidden little game had finally commenced.
With their parents embarked on a European excursion, Cindy and Bobby bought themselves the buffer and time they knew they would need to follow through with their plan. Barbara was their captured prey, a toy to play with or taunt or torture. For all they wanted to do was have some fun. Even if it came at Barbara’s expense.
But Cindy and Bobby didn’t hatch this scheme alone. The other members of their Freedom Five clan, including John, Paul, and Dianne, were already in on it. And with the game set, they had arrived. Now it was time to start the festivities.
If you’ve never read Let’s Go Play at the Adams’, then you’ve never really experienced the literal and visceral nightmare that is Johnson’s novel, one bereft of any empathy. It certainly has its peers. Think: Stephen King’s Carrie or Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door. But this one kicks up the sheer shock factor by a few notches and then strangles the life out of it.
However, the most frightening aspect isn’t the explicit, in-your-face imagery that Johnson is unafraid to detail in meticulous fashion. It’s the juvenile culprits — wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing — who carry out ungodly acts on one of their own. In age, they’re only children, but they might as well be adults, deranged in their decision-making and psychotic in their execution.
This was Johnson’s intention all along. To take us on a voyeuristic ride through the worst that humanity has to offer and scare the living hell out of us. To shock us so much that we feel sickened by it. This isn’t for the squeamish or faint of heart. Then, “why read it?”, you may ask. For the same reason you might read anything else: to experience something you haven’t before and may never again. And in this case, you haven’t. But remember, they’re only kids. And it was all just a game. But every game has its winners and losers.
This edition of Let’s Go Play at the Adams’ includes a new introduction by Stefan Dziemianowicz and cover artwork by Dan Rempel. It is signed by both Dziemianowicz and Rempel.