I have a certain fascination with old buildings, run-down hotels, abandoned factories. There are dozens of websites that show me I am not alone in this. (Check out Opacity: Urban Ruins for some fabulous photos.) So the idea of infiltrating a famous old hotel, closed up since the 1960’s, was really intriguing. Sadly, the book just didn’t live up to expectations.
First, the reader: Competent, but not able to produce a range of voices; in some scenes, even the small differentiation he gives them becomes muddled and confused. Although I have to give him credit – he did a fairly amusing New Jersey accent.
Second, the dialogue: Stilted and unrealistic. It’s difficult to convey a lot of historical background data without sounding like you’re reading from a textbook. Here, the Professor leads the expedition and every member of the team sounds like they’re reciting last night’s reading assignment. In addition, New Jersey thugs don’t suddenly start screaming “Lord, help us!” when they’re attacked. They shout things that you can’t type in a family blog. It comes off sounding amateurish.
Third, the story: Every time Frank Balenger opens his mouth, the story gets more far-fetched. No point in posting spoilers – you wouldn’t believe them anyway.