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The Mall

(Downside #1)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,015 ratings  ·  162 reviews
Dan is an angsty emo-kid who works in a deadly dull shopping mall. He hates his job.

Rhoda is a junkie whose babysitting charge ran off while she was scoring cocaine. She hates her life. Rhoda bullies Dan into helping her search, but as they explore the neon-lit corridors behind the mall, disturbing text messages lure them into the bowels of the building, where old mannequi
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published 2011 by Corvus (first published December 25th 2010)
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Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,015 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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i'm not sure what i can even say about this book except: fun fun fun gory fun.

i don't know how big the south african horror writing community is, but even though i have only read this book and two by lauren beukes, i can safely say i am a fan. this book is actually very reminiscent of lauren beukes, in all good ways, and may be why she liked it enough to include in her list of horror novel must-reads.

first things first - s.l. grey is a pseudonym for Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg, so i'm going
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Carmen by: Ellen
Once again I'm cowering in a dark place, in fear for my life.

Wow, this book was actually excellent.

Patrons are advised to enter the market at their own risk. Management will not be responsible for injuries resulting from choking on small parts, exsanguinations, unlicensed amputations, theft, transplants, broken pointy bits of glass or death.

Now. I want you to take my five-star rating of this book with a grain of salt. You should know beforehand that I have a real weakness for horror. I love horr
**Re-read 10/20**

This is honestly one of the most memorable horror stories I've ever read.

The story features Rhoda and Dan, brought together by circumstance, as they search for a way out of the mall but only find themselves getting further in. And the further they get into the mall, the more bizarre things become ...

Firstly, it begins in the service corridors behind the scenes, so if you are someone who has worked in a shopping centre and know these blank, cold, concrete corridors well, you will
Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was my induction into the world of horror fiction. Interestingly enough the actual content of the book is not scary as much as it is grimy and gross. I must admit that there were moments where I became very weary of the dark corridors of my local mall and looked very carefully at sales people and shoppers. There are moments in the book where skin will crawl and your toes will curl. Descriptions are present, but not overtly, the content provides a platform for our imaginations to run wi ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

Rhoda is supposed to be watching the child of a friend of a friend. Rhoda goes to the Highgate Mall to score cocaine, and when she steps away to collect, she loses track of said child. Desperate not to be turned into the police, she, er, asks (if you call a knuckle sandwich asking) a clerk named Daniel to help her. He claims to have seen the child running through the back corridors earlier, so that’s where they start, and that’s exactly when things start g
May 03, 2013 rated it it was ok

From what I gather this tripe was written by two authors - it fucking shows.


What's even worse; the whole frackin' book is a set up for a sequel. oh fuck no, that shit ain't cool.

The ESLR don't fucking read this stamp of approval.
Haralambi Markov
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror-dark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Not sure whether I liked it or not really. An odd book that leaves you with more questions than answers.

Lauren Smith
Nov 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review first published on my blog Violin in a Void

Rhoda was supposed to be babysitting someone’s kid, but she lost him when she left him at Only Books in Highgate Mall while she went to score crack from her dealer. Dan’s an emo bookseller at Only Books. He hates his manager, he hates his job, he hates his life. He also seriously pisses Rhoda off when he tells security that he didn’t remember seeing her with any kid, because he didn’t think that a scruffy-looking black woman with a scarred face w
S.A. Partridge
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: south-african, horror
The Mall is the debut novel of S.L. Grey, the pseudonym of established South African writers Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg. It’s not so much a horror story, as the cover image might suggest, as it is a reflection of the darker side of humanity.

Rhoda needs to get to Highgate Mall as soon as possible to score cocaine from her dealer. She’s supposed to be looking after someone else’s child, but decides to take the kid with her, thinking she won’t be more than five minutes and what’s the worst that
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chelsea Moreen
Jul 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Old review:

It started off well but it just wasn't /in my opinion/ a good book. I suppose coming from a 17 year old who reads mainly YA it explains many reasons why it just didn't do it for me but I know that it does have mostly positive reviews so it must be good to a lot of other people.
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
I found it hard to rate this, because while I didn't like it very much it did stop me from putting it down as I wanted to know what happened.

As to why I didn't like it, well I'm not a huge fan of body horror, particularly when it's used as a form of social commentary or satire (as it was here in the 'other mall'). Also, I was a shade disappointed that we never get to learn the why and how of it all. Granted, sometimes things can seem more scary when you don't know why something is happening - bu
Maraya21 (The Reading Dragon)
🎃 👻 Picking it back up cause Spooktober! 👻 🎃

Original start date: October 27, 2017
Put On Hold: February 23, 2018
Restarted: October 11, 2018
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Well, this has definitely been the most original of the books I’ve read this season. The Mall is the tale of two very different people who find themselves trapped together in the bizarro-nightmare version of their local shopping center. It’s weird, gross, and gory, and as one might expect from that premise, centers around vague social commentary and a totally OTT horror-ization of consumer culture, which is in actuality the least interesting thing about it. That is clearer in hindsight, though, ...more
Life After Undeath
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror

Take two utterly unlikable characters, lock them up in a seemingly deserted mall and you have the basis behind SL Grey's The Mall.

Rhoda is a supremely messed up addict with aggression issues who loses the child she was taking care of just as the mall is closing its doors. Daniel is the nerdy employee who she drags along on her mission to find this kid, whose name she can't remember. As the lights dim and they get deeper into the bowels of the mall, weird things start to happen that defy all expl

Monique Snyman
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it

At first, I thought this would be another yawn-fest. Kid gets lost, unlikable babysitter needs to find kid, unlikable loser can't remember kid being in the store... blah, blah, blah... You know, the type of books that really shouldn't be categorised under horror/thriller? Well I was wrong. It took me a while to get into the book, but when I was past the first couple of chapters things quickly changed and I was drawn into The Mall's bizarre twists and turns. The spooky atmosphere jumps off of the
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
It was supposed to be a quick trip to the mall, make the deal, score a hit and get back before anyone noticed that she, and the kid she was looking after, were missing. But after returning from her dealer to Only Book, the store she left the kid waiting in while she made her transaction, she discovered the kid had disappeared.

A run in with mall security should have been just what she needed, they would find the kid and she could leave, however they are not as helpful as she hoped. Worse still th
Carrie Clevenger
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
With a seemingly standard opening, (lost kid) SL Grey drew me in thinking it'd be a read I'd most likely abandon midway from the yawn factor. No. Scary by page 40, it sucked me in until the end with twists and turns, coupled with so many bizarre (albeit greatly-detailed descriptions, yeek) circumstances I was intrigued enough to keep going. It's fast-paced with a delicious lull, just enough to get you all comfortable until the real game begins.

My nitpicks are few about this book because from wh
Lu (Sugar & Snark)
Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: have, raru
What a strange and creepy book! Dan is tired of his life which seems to revolve around work and his mother. Rhoda is a fish out of water that gets stuck babysitting a young boy, only to lose him in The Mall. The Mall then throws their lives together in a weird mash of events. They are both very different characters who get caught up in a roller-coaster ride of things going wrong. It starts off on a scary note and soon became one of the weirdest books I had ever read! Rhoda and Dan are both chara ...more
Dec 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plot: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Characters: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
World Building: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Twists: ⭐️⭐️
Enjoyment: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Okay, so for the most part this book was bloody brilliant and had me glued to it.
In-fact, it was almost a 5 star book until it got to "book two" where for a little while it just turned into a completely different book.

"Book One" was so full of suspense and made my imagination go crazy, and my heart was genuinely thumping. "Book Two" was rather mild in comparison and dealt with the "situation" at a completely d
Nerine Dorman
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What more can you ask from if you're looking for an off-the-wall romp that pokes fun at retail and residential hell, all in one? Two misfits, Rhoda and Daniel, form an unlikely partnership when they slip into the Other Mall that exists as an infernal mirror of Highgate Mall in Joburg.

While the author went on a limb creating two thoroughly unlikeable main characters, I found I was nonetheless cheering for them by the end of the story in all their glorious personal dysfunction. Although the tale
Andy Sean
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the first time I heard of S L Grey. Prior to my purchase, I was a little skeptical about the title. You know those cheap horror stories of being locked in a mall, the mannequins come alive and you're being chased down the corridor by those creepy stuffs. But hey, The Mall is totally new-level-thing. Let's just say it's a mix of horror + psychological elements that will keeps you turning the page to the end.

Took me few days to get to the middle but once I reached the middle, took me one n
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Deliciously creepy. I hate malls so this book just fed into my nightmares. I loved the idea of sealed off corridors and abandoned food courts. I loved Rhoda's voice and Daniel's contrast. The way that they both changed due to what happened and also how they were changed by each other.

This is the type of horror that gets to me. Not the horror of hacked off limbs and blood spewing everywhere. This is the horror that gets under your skin. The idea that there is another world that exists besides th
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most genuinely creepy book I have read in ages. I think what I loved most was the lack of any overly-familiar supernatural antagonist. Not a zombie, werewolf, vampire, or ghost to be found. What does that leave? Think Silent Hill and you might have the right idea. I will definitely be reading the other books (The Ward, and The New Girl) in what I understand is a loose trilogy--probably multiple times. I am now officially a fan of this collaborative duo.
Jun 27, 2011 added it
Not normally my style. Creepy / gross yet fun. However, as somebody who likes 1984 I thought I'd give it a go. Read it on the Kindle while travelling on various airplanes. A much safer place to read it than a home with stairs. . . ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great little gem from the horror genre. Goes from a Saw/slasher story to a Clive Barker horror realm. Nice feat. Didn't read too much into the overwrought satire. One star off due to a surprisingly dud ending. Still a fun ride, though. Very innovative. ...more
Apr 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is as original as it gets!! Once you start ... there is no stopping until the final page! It is a dark creative spark in the world of fiction.
Chloë Yates
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bloody Brilliant stuff! Wonderfully and mentally inventive. You have to read it. I'm not kidding! ...more
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SA Book & Challen...: The Mall (Spoilers) 4 9 Apr 25, 2016 12:14AM  
SA Book & Challen...: The Mall (No Spoilers) 2 7 Apr 19, 2016 12:50AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine authors and editions 2 151 Jul 16, 2012 06:07AM  

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S.L. Grey is a collaboration between Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg. Sarah is a novelist and screenwriter and die-hard zombie fanatic. She writes crime novels and thrillers under her own name, and as Lily Herne she and her daughter Savannah Lotz write the Deadlands series of zombie novels for young adults. Louis is a Johannesburg-based fiction writer and editor. He was a bookseller for several yea ...more

Other books in the series

Downside (3 books)
  • The Ward (Downside, #2)
  • The New Girl (Downside, #3)

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