Two sisters walk through a snowy wood, collecting pinecones for Christmas decorations. Something has frightened Marisa, and she’s about to explain it to Ryan, her younger sister, when she steps onto a patch of thin ice. Marisa plummets into the frigid water below, and though Ryan tries to save her, there’s nothing she can do. Even though the accident wasn’t her fault, Ryan is consumed by guilt. But guilt is not what she should be afraid of. Three weeks after Marisa’s death, Ryan sees her everywhere. At night she feels something following her, but when she turns around there’s nothing there. A creepy college friend of Marisa’s shows up at Ryan’s house, and her mother asks him to stay through Christmas. To free herself of guilt, Ryan must unlock Marisa’s terrible secret—before death takes her too.
Glanton House was Carolyn Baxter's new home, the haunted island retreat her widowed mother was determined to transform into an inn. As if in answer to her prayer, tall raven-haired Joss Whitcomb appeared at their door and offered to be the handyman in return for room and board. But Carolyn was wary. Joss was dark, compelling, dangerous. He was still a stranger, even after he saved her mother from a near-fatal accident. And now they were alone in the eerie house he seemed to know so well. He knew the legend of the jealous sea captain doomed to kill again and again. But did he hear the ghostly whispers echoing through the halls at night? Did he know the unseen eyes that followed her every move? Who was Joss? Why was he here? How could she trust this devastating drifter when she feared for her life...?
A lot of Cusick's female main characters tend to be very paranoid. Strange things happen and they slowly fall into this obsessive state of thinking people or ghosts are after them. To be fair, they are actually in danger but it's a little repetitive to read every time and it feels like Cusick uses the same type of characters over and over again. The creepy but attractive guys, the dismissive parent, quite a few male love interests and the neurotic heroine. If this wasn't used in ever book I've read by Cusick I would enjoy it. I think thrillers are great for YA. I'm sure everyone has had that feeling as a teenager when something is wrong (not as extreme as Cusick's Point Horror tales) and their parents don't seem to listen. But it must be ten times worse for these fictional teens who are in a life or death situation and no-one really seems to care or listen. It's a good issue to turn into something horrific but not in every single book. Twists are also ruined in Cusick's books because they're also the same in every book. The supposedly supernatural events are explained in the same way. The antagonists are always the same for the same reasons.
That's really why I decided to put these two books together in a review. What I'll say about Fatal Secrets applies to The Drifter. Plot wise I think The Drifter had more potential. The setting was interesting. A small town with a local legend that may or may not be the cause of spooky happenings at Carolyn's new home. Unfortunately the cliched and overused dismissive parent and Cusick's go-to twist made me decide on two stars.