I read Creepers by David Morrell today. (Published 2005) It only took an afternoon and an evening to read it. It is rather gripping in the sense that it is an action novel with plenty of “suspense.”
Disguising himself as a journalist, Frank Balenger, ex-U.S. Army Ranger and Iraqi war veteran, joins a group of “Creepers,” also known as infiltrators, urban explorers—men and women who outfit themselves with caving gear to break into and explore buildings that have long been closed up and abandoned. Though what they’re doing is technically illegal, participants pride themselves on never stealing or destroying anything they find at these sites. They take only photographs and aim to leave no footprints. This gang infiltrates the Paragon Hotel, an abandoned, seven-story, pyramidal structure built in 1901 by eccentric, hemophiliac Morgan Carlisle.
It starts out quite good. I was unsure where the story was going – but I was certain that wherever it was going, it was gonna be a creepy, suspenseful trip. The buildup and background for the story was unique and interesting and really creative. The characters, particularly Cora and Rick, were really one-dimensional. Dialogue for these characters was not done well. They spoke just to move the plot along, not because they were dynamic, full characters.
I was actually really interested in the storyline – starting at the hotel in the beginning and moving into the tunnel-drains. Finally, as the characters moved into the Paragon Hotel, I was thinking that this book was going to be really good.
But the book went somewhat downhill with the introduction of three young, goofy criminals. I was annoyed that the creepyness was ruined by these goons. I was on the edge of my seat until the kids with the surplus night-vision goggles entered the story. Think about it: an eccentric builds a huge, pyramid-shaped hotel around 1900. The hotel has hidden passageways, a secretive penthouse, and creepy old furnishings. This is good stuff for a nighttime “urban explorer” theme.
After we meet and deal with the three dummies, we are then introduced rather violently to someone else who is in this old hotel that is about to be demolished: the true menace! And, at this point, I gave up all hope of the great and scary suspense novel. I settled in for an action read. I was pretty annoyed when it turned out that the menace of the book has a sordid past based on sexual abuse as a child and he has taken his mental issues out on random girls he brought to the hotel. (He didn’t molest them, just killed ’em.) Anyway, blah blah. Its always back to sex as motive/motivation for modern authors. I would rather have read the surreal creepy novel that I started with than the shootout with the crazy dude. This isn’t a bad novel, there’s not much in it that is R-rated. Its pretty much pg-13 for a novel. But I wanted to read the scary novel instead.
I think I rated this one a bit lower because it wasn’t what I, personally, felt like reading. I could probably give it 3 stars on a different day.