Tuesday, November 7, 2006

'Creepers' by David Morrell

ISBN: 1593153570
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 384pp
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Price: $7.99

Creepers are the people who explore abandoned houses, hotels, subway tunnels, factories, and old department stores. It is highly illegal and there are a lot of fines and penalties out there for those people that get caught, not to mention the danger that an abandoned building poses; have the floors rotted away, will there be homeless people hiding in the corners, and what wild animals have found a way in out of the weather?

At some point in time, mostly in the teenage years, I’m sure a lot of you have wandered into an old building, maybe in the middle of the night with a flashlight and a friend. I must have spent countless hours exploring an abandoned hotel in the city I live in. I could never make myself look in all the closed hotel rooms. I would clutch a shaking flashlight and hurry to the roof, twelve floors up, and then hurry back down. In one of the rooms I did explore I found a copy of a 1960s Playboy in the nightstand next to a copy of the Bible.

Creepers is a book about the people who have the guts to take a look at it all. Open every door, take a look in the basement, and even thoughtful enough to bring a camera to take some pictures. But the abandoned buildings aren’t always truly abandoned and evil never truly leaves a place it has left its mark on.

Frank Balenger is a reporter doing a story on urban explorers for his newspaper. He is invited to join a group of five preparing to explore The Paragon Hotel on the Jersey Shore. The Paragon has a sad history, being built and owned by a man who feared people and the world. It is scheduled to be demolished in a week’s time.

Through tunnels infested with deformed rats and a cat with three hind legs, the group breaks through a metal door and into the hotel. What they find inside is the hotel as it looked in the Victorian era. Lush furnishings and marble that have been slowly rotting all these years. Carefully exploring rooms, they find evidence of the hotel’s brutal and horribly evil past. What they aren’t expecting is that the evil is still alive and waiting just around the corner.

Parts of this book almost made me jump out of my skin. The tension skyrockets and you just can't put down the book until you find out what happens next. Before you know it's 4 o'clock in the morning on a work day.

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