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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
“Once upon a time, there was a special property — one full of many tales… Stories, mysteries, and people, but, perhaps, the most interesting part was just beneath it all, Level Zero.” In Level Zero by Dan McDowell, an old abandoned hotel in Riverton, Texas exudes mystery that the public never bothers to find out about beyond acknowledging its existence. Through bizarre circumstances, radio producer Chris Wilkerson acquires the building and turns it into a call center for horror stories, manipulated by a sinister force lurking in an abandoned tunnel beneath the building. He's not alone. Fifty-three people plagued by unexplained phantom memories are held captive by their tormentor, until one of them, a manic depressive financial advisor named Todd Adams, determines to free them all.
Creepy and bizarre; a combination of elements that makes Level Zero an intriguing read for horror fans. The story progresses through a tight plot as the suspense snowballs, foreshadowing evil, gruesome events, and dark secrets from the past. A condescending wife, an alcoholic technician, a small-time radio host, a sticky-fingered receptionist, and several others; the characters are engaging whether readers root for them or feel that they deserved to be in the horrifying situation tailored just for them. Calling his business venture Creepy Nights, protagonist Chris Wilkerson appears to be a confident businessman but on the other side of the coin, he's a doomed tool for the spine-chilling Creeper Joe, who steal scenes by catching his victims off guard and tormenting them. They are punished but not entirely hopeless. Unreserved and disturbing, this is a gripping tale from Dan McDowell.