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Creepers by David Morrell
Read Time: 8 hrs
On October 24th, one week before demolition, journalist Frank Balenger joins a group of urban explorers (called creepers) to document the once glorious and world renown Paragon Hotel. Built by a reclusive millionaire in the glory days of Asbury Park, the magnificent structure is now boarded up and nearly impenetrable.
Embarking on this highly illegal journey along with a history professor and three former students, Balenger is after more than just a good story. But, the Paragon holds more secrets than he can bear.
And the rat-infested drainage tunnels are the only way out.
Once inside, tensions will rise as they are faced with the dangers of a dilapidated building and other threats just beyond the walls.
I wanted so badly to love Creepers. I think I was expecting something more monstrous and paranormal, or at least a little ghostly. They take little gas monitors with them and see a bunch of mutated rats and a cat with five legs. I was seriously expecting zombies, but those gas monitors only play a role in the tunnels and should have been cut by an editor. They serve no purpose and confuse the narrative. It quickly becomes apparent that the evil is merely man. And maybe that should be a little more frightening and believable, but it just falls flat.
I loved the concept of Creepers: urban explorers facing the threat of arrest, tetanus, collapsing buildings, and suddenly murderous goons. The suspense definitely picks up more towards the end and the true villain’s back story is powerful.
But, there is just so much wrong with this book.
For starters, I hated the protagonist. The book verges somewhere between a how-to manual and a dictionary, causing Mr. Baleger to sound like a know-it-all. I mean Morrell explains what a utility belt looks like and how a headlamp works. Surely no one needs those explanations.
There’s also a lot of exposition, which is okay in some places. For instance, they talk a lot about the history of the hotel. Which I enjoyed. But then, Balenger would tell us about the other characters relationships even though he only just met them. Morrell does a lot of telling rather than showing.
This also caused the characters to be very two dimensional. You don’t get very attached and characters are added merely to fill roles. Those goons from earlier are just there to be murdered and draw zero emotions from the reader, which is a waste of a literary death if you ask me. And the women in the book only serve the purpose of eliciting the protagonist’s reluctant hero protector mode.
Lastly, the plot twists were too much. There’s really only one plot twist that is foreshadowed and makes sense in Creepers. I won’t give it away, but it’s that of the villain’s background and reasoning. The rest is pure garbage. I just kept rolling my eyes every time the story suddenly changed.
Don’t waste your money on Creepers. As much as I want you to use my affiliate links, don’t use this one. Others swear by this author’s earlier works so maybe check those out, but skip this one.
This book would have been so much better if an editor had gutted half of it. There’s too much exposition, no connection with the characters, and too many plot twists. There is even a completely unrelated sequel using the same protagonist and “proxy wife,” to quote another reviewer.
The concept is wonderful, the hotel beautiful, the history rich. But the story just doesn’t work.
I’m sorry to say I won’t be recommending Creepers. But, I did review The Reach by Nate Kenyon and I loved that one!
For other scary books that I do recommend, and am very excited for, check out my Halloween Reading List.
Next week, I’ll be posting a reading list full of Witchy Books for Halloween.
Subscribe now so you don’t miss it and let me know if you’ve read Creepers in the comments below.
Lastly, I have a post dedicated to Character Fears so you can write your own spooky stories or add depth to your characters.
That’s a wrap.