Scavenger, the sequel to David Morrell’s Bram Stoker winning novel Creepers, features Frank Balenger, still trying to recover from his ordeal from the previous novel, where he had been looking for his wife only to find her dead. He and Amanda, who he had saved in the previous novel, are now a couple and are trying to heal together. They go to a lecture on time capsules, which is a set up for an elaborate game. Amanda is kidnapped and thrust into a virtual reality game with others who have been kidnapped as well. They must find the Sepulcher of Worldly Desires, an infamous time capsule. Frank, meanwhile, is trying to piece together clues to find Amanda and rescue her, getting himself thrust into the game as well.
Scavenger is a thrilling novel with a great high concept. I enjoyed the way Morrell incorporated both the ideas of time capsules and virtual reality games as well. It’s obvious from reading this novel that he did a ton of research. As a fellow writer I appreciate the painstaking way he tackles the research in his novels. He does it better than any novelist I can think of. The story plays out in a logical manner. The only thing I didn’t care for is that I thought the way the Game Master, the story’s villain, brings together the contestants, stretched the realm of believability. Even though Creepers had more acclaim, I thought Scavenger is a much better novel, the best Morrell has written. This is a fast-paced novel that I highly recommend.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet David Morrell a couple of times at the World Horror Convention. For a writer as accomplished as David, I found him to be as nice a person as you can meet and very generous with both his time and advice. Although I am sure he had a busy schedule at these conventions, he took time out to speak with me and other younger writers, patiently answering questions and offering writing tips. I have long been an admirer of David Morrell’s writing and consider him to be the premier thriller writer of this generation.