On a cold October night, five people gather in a run-down motel on the Jersey shore and begin preparations to break into the Paragon Hotel. Built in the glory days of Asbury Park by a reclusive millionaire, the magnificent structure - which foreshadowed the beauties of art deco architecture - is now boarded up and marked for demolition.The five people are "creepers", the slang term for urban explorers: city archeologists with a passion for investigating abandoned buildings and their dying secrets. On this evening, they are joined by a reporter who wants to profile them - anonymously, as this is highly illegal activity - for a New York Times article.Frank Balenger, a sandy-haired, broad-shouldered reporter with a decided air of mystery about him, isn't looking for just a story, however. And after the group enters the rat-infested tunnel leading to the hotel, it becomes clear that he will get much more than he bargained for. Danger, terror, and death await the creepers in a place ravaged by time and redolent of evil.More
"Morrell delivers first-rate, suspenseful storytelling once again." (Publishers Weekly)
"Lawlor fills the listener's ears with heart-stopping terror. Definitely not for the timid." (AudioFile)
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Great plot twists; wish there'd been more history
That it was continually surprising. It starts out almost like a Hardy Boys novel, with four young people and a college professor equipping themselves with flashlights, hardhats, etc., to go exploring inside an abandoned and dilapidated once-grand hotel in Asbury Park. But it turns into anything but -- and then it turns again, and again. Very inventive plot, with no dei ex machina and only a few elements that stretch credulity. I also really appreciated how -- unlike most thrillers -- it avoided being formulaic.
SPOILER ALERT: I liked the three guys from "Joisey." They weren't exactly nice or anything, but they were well-drawn, and acted with perfect logic in accord with their own agendas and characters. Also liked Amanda because of the way she kicked butt.
Not sure he made it that different from reading it would be, but to me that's a good thing. I like an unobtrusive narrator, who doesn't use an overly dramatic voice for the scary bits or thrills, and who doesn't overdo the differences in the characters's various speaking styles. Someone who allows you to approximate the experience of reading the book in print. (I prefer to read in print, but if I limited myself to print books, I'd only have time to do a small fraction of the reading I do via audiobook.) I like how he performed the Professor's voice -- it was well-distinguished from the others' and fit the character perfectly.
I dunno ... tag lines ain't my specialty. Off the top of my head: "Creeping through abandoned buildings at night ... Don't do it alone!"
I really wish there had been a lot more about the history of Asbury Park, and less emphasis on the fictional story and the thrill-a-minute/cliffhanging stuff. I had previously read Morrell's "Murder as a Fine Art," in which Thomas de Quincy becomes both a suspect and a sleuth with regard to a series of gruesome murders, and I think Morrell got the balance right in that book between the "history lessons" (about 19th C London, a series of 1811 murders known as the Ratcliff Highway murders, and 19th C police procedure as well as De Quincey) and the suspense/mystery/thrills. I had expected that "Creepers" would similarly get into all the gritty details of Asbury Park's history, but it was more of a quick survey course in the beginning.
But otherwise, a great story, nice narration -- highly recommended.
Couldn't put it down.