Dan works at a bookstore in a deadly dull shopping mall where nothing ever happens. He's an angsty emo-kid who sells mid-list books to mid-list people for the minimum wage. He hates his job. Rhoda has dragged her babysitting charge to the mall so she can meet her dealer and score some coke. Now the kid's run off, and she has two hours to find him. She hates her life.
Rhoda bullies Dan into helping her search, but as they explore the neon-lit corridors behind the mall, disturbing text messages lure them into the bowels of the building, where old mannequins are stored in grave-like piles and raw sewage drips off the ceiling. The only escape is down, and before long Dan and Rhoda are trapped in a service lift listening to head-splitting musak. Worst of all, the lift's not stopping at the bottom floor.
Plummeting into the earth, Dan and Rhoda enter a sinister underworld that mirrors their worst fears. Forced to complete a series of twisted tasks to find their way out, they finally emerge into the brightly lit food court, sick with relief at the banal sight of people shopping and eating. But something feels different. Why are the shoppers all pumped full of silicone? Why are the shop assistants chained to their counters? And why is a cafe called McColon's selling lumps of bleeding meat? Just when they think they've made it back to the mall, they realise their nightmare has only just begun....
Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg met in a pub while bunking a crime seminar and, as one does at pubs, discovered a mutual interest in horror. Sarah, a crime novelist and screenwriter, was a die-hard zombie fanatic; Louis, a literary writer, editor and recovering bookseller, had studied vampire and apocalyptic fiction. Rejecting their initial plans for a vampire-vs-zombie faceoff, they decided to write the first mainstream South African horror novel together and S.L. Grey was born. Sarah also writes the Deadlands series of zombie novels for young adults with her daughter Savannah.
©2011 S. L. Grey (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"Dark and scary." (Guardian)
"Original and unsettling.... An exciting new talent." (SFX)
"One of the cleverest, creepiest and most memorable horror novels for ages" (Independent)
ONE OF THESE BOOKS THAT JUST WASTE MY CREDIT! I THINK THE WORSE THING ABOUT THE BOOK IS NARRATION. I HATE THE STRONG BRITISH ACCENT (IN MY BOOKS). THE STORY IS NOT SCARY OR UNIQUE, REMINDS ME OF SCI-FI "B" MOVIES. UGH! TRY AGAIN NEXT CREDIT.
**Spoiler Alert - Don't read if you don't want to know anything about the plot and how it progresses**
Even after listening to this book I can't figure out what the point of it was.
You've got two main characters, Daniel who works in the bookshop at the mall, and Rhoda who has gone to the mall to score some cocaine and lost the boy she was supposed to be babysitting; Rhoda (improbably) forces Dan at knifepoint to help her look for the boy, supposedly because of his superior knowledge of the mall (just how big is this thing ) and they immediately wander into some alternate universe where The Mall is run by Management, Shoppers shop until they're recycled, and retail clerks are chained to their desks and have control software wired into their brains. From there things only get wackier.
After I finished, I tried to make sense of the book and its disappointing ending but I couldn't. I felt like I had gone on a circular journey with the characters which ends in the same spot so to speak, but in a distinctly worse place than the beginning. Dan and Rhoda both seem constitutionally incapable of acting in their own or any one else's best interests. If the book is meant to be a send-up of Mall culture and its worship of shoppers and shopping, it doesn't succeed because Dan and Rhoda both choose the worst aspects of that culture at the end (trust me when I say 'ick').
The book is narrated in male and female voices for Dan and Rhoda respectively. The narration is done competently but with the addition of some really weird accents. Dan has what sounds to me like an Indian accent although action is supposed to be taking place in southern Africa and Rhoda has some kind of peculiar British accent. I once heard something like it in an episode of Are You Being Served when Shirley Brahms was putting on a 'posh' accent, but since it emerges in the course of the novel that Rhoda is solidly upper middle class, this seems an unlikely explanation. Like so much else relating to The Mall, I simply can't account for it.
Bottom line: If you're looking for a good horror novel, I'd pass this one over, but if you love absurdist fiction, it might be worth a listen.
Characters that seemed real.
The story didn't come to life.
The story just doesn't connect with you
From S.L Grey, no, i did not like this book. It was a little creepy in the middle but that was all. the last part of the book was angsty and boring. the ending was such an anti climax and i was just so disappointed in the ending. I liked the characters.
The story had potential but i just did not do it for me.
I loved the narrators! I really loved the accents and it really fit the characters.
Some real horror i hope. this was not it.
Rhoda. i really liked her...until the end.
I would not see this as horror. for me it was not worth a credit.
Creepy, gripping, tragic
The feeling of anti-climax when they made it out.
Their accents are really easy on the ears and it was just generally well narrated.
Great listen, interesting character development, and the story was refreshingly original, which can be hard to find in the horror genre.
That's a tough one! I read the book back when it first came out, and it was by far my favourite book of that year. Whenever anyone asks for a recommendation of creepy horror, I always suggest reading The Mall.
That said, nothing can quite beat the imagination, and the description of the different stores in the book really let the imagination run wild.
The text messages - a brilliant communication device between the 'evil' and the reader.
I was nervous about how this was going to be narrated, but their accents and overall vocals could not have been more perfect.
Gosh - I'm not sure I'd describe the book as particularly 'moving', but I guess the part where Rhonda starts talking to Dan about sorting his act out.
I don't recall the last time I reread a book. But as I was able to get this cheaper due to already owning the kindle book, I decided to give it a go, and I wasn't disappointed.
"Excellent, chilling and unforgettable"
This is one those stories that stays with you. Highly recommended. AN absolutely superb listen.
"Interesting concept and genuine horror"
The characters in this fantastic thriller may not be loveable but their reactions to the situation they find themselves in is so compelling. I found myself spending far more time than usual in the gym to give myself the excuse to keep listening to this story.
The suspense is beautifully written and performed and the concept is not at all what I was expecting but is a brilliant twist on the genre.
What promised to be an intriguing plot in reality was so poorly written that I did not get more than half way through. The worst of it was the tedious use of profanity; hardly a sentence goes by without an expletive of some sort, it became so noticeable that my attention was taken from the story and directed to just how many f's could be squeezed into each sentence. The author also failed to create a character that you could care about. The female lead is thoroughly unpleasant and the male a weak waste of time.
The narrators might have been okay with something to work with, given two stars for narration for benefit of doubt.
My advice; save your money or credit. I bought this in a members sale for a fiver, really should have just kept going.
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