Review of ‘The Train’ by Diane Hoh

Shocking, fast-paced, short and sinister, The Train is a standard example of a Point Horror book. It’s not on my reading record, so I never read it during my Point Horror binges twenty years ago. I happened to find this copy in a charity shop, along with Funhouse by the same author.

A skeletal hand opening a train compartment door.

The setting is a sleeper train, ensuring a claustrophobic atmosphere. A group of friends are travelling on a school trip from Chicago to San Francisco when they discover that the coffin of a student, Frog, is in the baggage area. They all feel guilty about the way that they treated Frog, who was a new student and outsider that they were mean to without giving him a chance. Hannah, the main character, feels worst of all about it, but her secret is so bad that it’s not revealed until the end of the story. Now, dreadful things are happening to the friends and Hannah is beginning to suspect that Frog might be alive after all and getting his revenge.

A gripping read, but as you might expect, the writing is not exactly great literature. I thought it rather strange that the Babysitters Club series by Ann M Martin are advertised in the back of my copy, as I consider them to be for a younger audience than Point Horror.

Published in 1992.

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