I Found a Lost Hallway in a Dying Mall
Ben Farthing
Independently published (June 18, 2024)
Reviewed by Carson Buckingham

In Ben Farthing’s latest effort, we meet Lisa, a Dillard’s store manager, in a huge, rapidly dying shopping mall. Her husband works in the same mall at a different store. On her way to meet her husband, she discovers a hallway where there is an assortment of store mannequins that stay put as long as you are looking at them but move when you aren’t…and they can move fast and cover surprising distances in a short time, reminding me very much of the Weeping Angels in a Doctor Who episode entitled, “Blink.” Where it deviates from this episode is that the mannequins eventually meld into each other, creating fused horrors with arms, legs, heads, etc. in all the wrong places or quantities. If mannequins bother you, you might want to skip this one.

While observing these plastic nightmares, Lisa comes upon Saswin, a former co-worker who, as senility has begun to set in, is losing the day-to-day plot. She tries to speak with him, but he doesn’t make much sense and disappears into the abandoned anchor store at the end of the hallway. Lisa goes after him, concerned, and the hallway suddenly elongates, placing her farther and farther from her destination. This device was used effectively in the movie, Poltergeist.

Now here’s where I run into a problem with this book. We are told that Lisa “will not leave Saswin behind” or “does not want Saswin to feel left behind” because that’s “who she is” so many times that it seems that after a while, that is pretty much the only thing moving the plot forward. As pursuing this course of action becomes clearly life-threatening, Lisa turns her back on her husband, her daughter, and her grandkid, all of whom love her and to whom she is supposedly devoted, in an effort to “save” Saswin because she is obsessive about helping people. It didn’t ring true at all.

The ending was very interesting to me and one that I didn’t see coming. Always enjoy an ending like that.

The dying shopping mall is becoming an all too familiar sight these days. Not only are the abandoned stores eerie, but I always find that being in a place that is usually populated and active is creepiness personified when said place is quiet and, for the most part, deserted.

I have read and enjoyed Mr. Farthing’s previous three I Found… books, with the first one being my favorite. Though this is a series, all four books are standalone and may be read in any order.

Though the creepiness factor was high, this novella read like the author rushed it. A good editor with a sharp blue pencil would have benefitted I Found a Lost Hallway in a Dying Mall, to tighten up some of the repetition described above.

All in all, though, a fun read. You’ll probably enjoy it.

3 out of 5 stars.


About Carson Buckingham

Professionally, Carson Buckingham has made her way in life doing all manner of things, most of which involve arson. She is currently employed as a freelance writer on a work release program. In her spare time, she studies forensics, in hopes of applying her new knowledge to eluding the authorities more effectively the next time. She is originally from Connecticut, but now resides in Kentucky—and Connecticut is glad to be rid of her.

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