Rhoda left the kid alone for just a few minutes and now he’s gone. Sure, she shouldn’t have taken him to the mall in the first place. But she needed a score and she was only watching the kid as a favor for her cousin. Given her appearance and attitude, mall security isn’t taking her seriously in her search for a white kid, but she knows the guy at the bookstore saw them together and lied about it.
Dan only caught a glimpse of the kid running through the mall tunnels, but it isn’t until Rhoda attacks him in the parking garage that he puts two and two together. Now he’s basically a hostage leading her through the warren of back halls and stairwells after hours in search of the boy. As they wind their way down and down and down, though, Dan realizes that they’re lost. The place still looks like Highgate, but everything looks just a little off. What’s worse, now Dan and Rhoda are getting weird texts from someone who calls themselves management and a large and foul smelling creature seems to be tailing them on their journey.
A parallel world where stores are run by mindless slaves and shoppers literally shop until they drop, The Mall is seriously fun and creepy. The book does essentially poke fun at retail culture, and much of the book has a tinge of dark humor to it, but the deeper criticism also makes the premise that much more scary.
The Mall is the first in the Downside series penned by S.L. Grey (aka Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg). It was first released in 2011 but has only been available here in the US for the past year. I can’t recommend it enough; seek it out, it’s well worth it!
7/15 Becky LeJeune
THE MALL by S.L. Grey. Atlantic Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2014). ISBN 978-1848878877. 320p.