This book is not for the faint of heart! I've had it on my TBR for a while, and with it being October it seemed like a good time to crack it open. I'm glad I did, but you might not want to read it alone at night! At least not the second half. It starts out as a fairly standard YA story about Casey, recently released from rehab for an oxycodone addiction, and her falling back in with a group of friends who are not exactly good for her. One in particular, Shana, is a wild child who pushes her farther and farther down a slippery slope.
Casey has only been out of rehab a short time when Shana and her crew pick her up and take her into New York City for a rave called Survive the Night. The initial reason for going is to reunite Casey with Sam, her ex- boyfriend and bassist for a band playing in the city. Once they reconnect the rave becomes their next stop- but the rave is underground, literally. Under the streets of Lower Manhattan in abandoned subway tunnels. Yeah, that's a good idea, right?
Well, no actually. Once at the rave the story changes, and by the second half we're veering into full horror mode. And it gets fairly graphic. Casey's friend turns up dead in one of the tunnels, in gruesome fashion, and once the cops raid the place they find themselves trapped in the tunnels with... something. Or someone. Whatever is stalking them is relentless, and the tension is palpable. I read this in two sittings, and the tension had me on the edge of my seat.
The atmosphere is spot on. I almost felt like I was sloshing through putrid water, using a candle or cell phone light to see barely anything, hearing water dripping and something moving deep in the shadows. I felt like I was there, underneath NYC. This only worked because of those details, graffiti and trash and rats scurrying, flooded passages. I thought it was captured so well. And the author did a surprisingly good job capturing the vagaries of teenage friendships as well. For this being a horror story it also took a hard look at addiction.
I recommend this one to anyone who likes a good, tense scare. What's lurking below the streets? Is it just a maniac homeless person killing people opportunistically, or is there something more insidious down there? Usually in a story like this I end up a little disappointed, especially if I'm looking for a paranormal explanation. Suffice to say that I was not disappointed by this- in fact the last half of this book is crazy. In a good way.