Layers of secrets and terror await a group of five urban explorers who infiltrate the abandoned Paragon Hotel, the once-elegant structure sought out by the rich and famous in Asbury Park's heyday. Scheduled now for demolition on the neglected Jersey Shore, its astounding architecture and fascinating history hide the macabre secrets of the rich eccentric who erected it, as well as a far more malevolent force.
Frank Balenger has ostensibly joined this group of educated adventurers - creepers - led by an aging college professor to write a story on the phenomenon of urban exploration for the New York Times. But the hotel isn't the only keeper of secrets; the motivations of the entire group are obscured by their simply stated goal of revisiting a preserved but abandoned past.
As doors are opened and the gold-plated veneer of gentility stripped within the Paragon's bulwarks, storms of nature and the basest human urges converge on the horrified explorers locked in a mortal struggle to escape the crumbling edifice with their lives.
Morrell's plot twists as relentlessly as the winding staircases inside the monolithic structure Balenger and the others navigate in an adrenaline-fueled, storm-tossed thrill ride wrapped in darkness and menace. Balenger is the perfect tortured type around whom good adventure series are built; indeed, Morrell's second Balenger vehicle, Scavenger, will see release in the spring of 2007. If it's anywhere near the heart-pumping, nerve-fraying puzzle that distinguishes Creepers, it will have bestseller written all over it.