Action Thriller by Anthony Gagliano
David Morrell’s Creepers adopts a creative spin on a breaking-and-entering premise for his latest thriller. A New York Times reporter, Frank Balenger, joins a group of "Creepers," also known as infiltrators, urban explorers or city speleologists—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 everything untouched. Balenger joins a group of four: the leader, Professor Robert Conklin, high school teacher Vincent Vanelli and graduate students Rick and Cora Magill. This gang infiltrates the Paragon Hotel, an abandoned, seven-story, pyramidal Asbury Park, N.J., structure built in 1901 by eccentric, hemophiliac Morgan Carlisle. Balenger and the professor have a special agenda, but the others are there simply for the thrills. Things quickly begin to unravel in life-or-death situations once the trespassers sneak into the building—they aren't the only ones creeping around the dilapidated hotel. Veteran thriller writer Morrell embraces themes from several genres and blends them into a nightmarish spine-chiller. 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.