Monday, May 3, 2010

CBR Book#41: Creepers by David Morrell

I picked up this book after seeing the author's name on the back cover of another book I was considering borrowing. The title Creepers sounded promising and the cover looked decent enough. The synopsis sounded intriguing as well. A group of "urban explorers", aka creepers, aka "people that go into abandoned buildings and look at stuff" decide to enter the Paragon Hotel in Asbury Park. The long abandoned hotel was built by an agoraphobic hemophiliac (I KNOW) named Morgan Carlisle in 1901. The hotel was very specifically built to resemble a pyramid and had furnishings of the Victorian era throughout its rooms. The creepers consist of Professor Robert Conklin and his former students, married couple Cora and Rick Magill, and Vincent Vanelli. They are joined by reporter Frank Balenger, who wishes to write a story about the unusual hobby of creepers. The creepers enter the hotel and find that they are not alone.

Truthfully, the book is not a difficult or particularly maddening read, as The Blind Assassin was for me at times. However, it isn't really a good book either. There's nothing new, nothing outstanding about this book. It just is. If you've ever seen a cut-rate horror/thriller (which, let's face it, most of them are now), then you'll know what's coming before it ever appears on the horizon. The characters are not unlikable, but we aren't given anything to hold onto either. When people start suffering, it isn't as jarring as it would be if the characters were better fleshed out.  The inside cover promising that this novel will "be a classic" is definitely pushing it. I feel like I'll forget it in a matter of days.

The premise was promising, but Morrell left his creativity behind after he came up with it. The connections between the characters that pop up throughout the book are contrived and have you grasping to hold the tenuous fibers that supposedly join them all. Then you have the villains of the piece, that show up and underwhelm at every turn. Then you have a stupid MacGuffin pushing two of the characters and then a kidnapped woman and a psychopath thrown in for shit measure. Just idiotic and tiresome. I expect it to be made into a movie anytime now by Regency or Lions Gate. Seriously.

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