FOUR FOUND DEAD starts as an atmospheric YA thriller that pulls you directly into the action. A defunct shopping mall anchored by the Riverview Theaters stands in Sandusky, Ohio. Six coworkers and their manager are closing the theater for good, but something just feels off after the final show wraps, and by morning, four of them will not make it out alive.
Jo and her coworkers are feeling a little sad as they realize their time working together is coming to an end. The one thing they won’t miss is their angry explosive manager, Clayton. As they start cleaning up the concession stand and rolling up the rugs, Clayton’s wife appears at the theater doors. An argument ensues outside, and Jo and her coworkers start to worry. When Clayton returns, tension runs through the air and Jo notices Clayton has a gun in his waistband. The lights go out and everyone panics as they scramble to find Clayton and retrieve their phones and the keys to exit the theater. It’s not long before they hear a scuffle and find one coworker dead. Now Jo and her friends must find a way out of the theater and into the abandoned mall to make it to safety. But the mall’s exits are boarded up and the alarm systems aren't working. They're caught in a trap and they must outwit a killer to stay alive until help arrives. Which four will die, and which four will live?
FOUR FOUND DEAD starts with a bang but loses steam quickly. The abandoned mall and the closing theater are the perfect setting for a YA thriller and the author does a good job setting up the first part of the novel. Unfortunately, once the group enters the mall, the middle part of the novel becomes repetitious and less intense. We know who the pursuer is, but we are not quite sure what the motive is behind their actions and the novel doesn’t quite land in the end. I was hoping for a surprising twist or sudden reveal out of leftfield, but the novel went in a predictable direction. The author does a great job setting up the suspense and crafting a spooky and atmospheric setting, but the story ultimately loses its punch in the middle and plods towards an unsatisfying ending.
The last show has ended, but the nightmare is just beginning.
Tonight, Riverview Theaters is closing forever, the last remaining business in a defunct shopping mall. The moviegoers have left, and Jo and her six coworkers have the final shift, a shift that quickly takes a dark turn.
First a stranger arrives with a chilling accusation. Then the power goes out and their manager disappears, along with the keys to the lobby doors and the theater safe, where the crew's phones are locked each shift. The crew's tension turns to terror when Jo discovers the dead body of one of her co-workers.
Now their only chance to escape the murderer in their midst is through the dark, shuttered mall. With its boarded-up exits and disabled fire alarms, the complex is filled with hiding places for both pursuer and pursued. In order to survive this night, Jo and her friends must trust one another, navigate the sprawling ruins of the mall, and outwit a killer before he kills them all.