From Publishers Weekly
The Paragon Hotel, built in the heyday of Asbury Park, NJ, is now rundown and abandoned, like much of the city itself. But it's no ordinary relic-the hotel's former owner was a rich eccentric, making it an ideal location for urban explorers ("creepers") to investigate. One group of creepers finds more danger than they bargain for. Morrell's writing is tight and suspenseful as always, and his attempt to tell a secular haunted house story works extraordinarily well. Lawlor narrates with clear, precise diction, and adeptly alters his voice to give life to the different characters, but his tone and style are all wrong for the book. Where the novel is creepy and atmospheric, Lawlor's narration is over-the-top and cartoonish-it's too much Scooby-Doo and not enough The Haunting. The overall production values are very good; the sound effects used during walkie-talkie communication are a nice touch. But this audiobook cannot overcome Lawlor's terrible miscasting, which rendered an otherwise fine horror novel into a campy mess.
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Frank Balenger is a New York Times
reporter doing a Sunday magazine profile on urban explorers, better known as creepers. It's an illegal activity but a very popular one, in which adventure seekers invade crumbling old structures in search of thrills and perhaps a glimpse of the past. Frank joins a team of four as they prepare to enter the long-shuttered and mysterious Paragon Hotel. They surreptitiously enter as darkness envelops the city, planning to emerge before dawn none the worse for wear. At least that's the plan. Initially they encounter the expected assortment of crumbling furniture, magazines, and rats, but soon they realize they are not alone, and their counterparts are not friendly people. It turns out that Frank's group has a hidden agenda involving treasure, and their rivals are after the same loot. Throw in an even more unfriendly kidnapper and his captor, and you have a nightmare in the making. Veteran thriller writer Morrell gleefully and shamelessly cherry picks from several genres (crime, horror, adventure, western) and blends them into a violent, claustrophobic nightmare. There's the survive-the-night-in-a-haunted-house plot starring a Norman Bates villain; there's a Treasure of the Sierra Madre
cast that would rather die than give up the loot; and there's a version of the classic western in which the outlaws and the homesteaders join forces to battle the Indians. An unabashedly entertaining thriller that has blockbuster movie written all over it. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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