by Steve Rasnic Tem
4 stars - difficult to describe
ALR Yellow - some nasty beasts, some animals are killed
This book is described as a combination of Franz Kafka, Stephen King, and Edgar Allen Poe. That's what got me to try it out. But it isn't really that at all. It's something totally unique, something difficult to classify. I put it in Science Fiction because that's where I found it in the library. It isn't really that either.
Richard Carter, unemployed widower, responds to an ad in the paper. A rather obtuse ad, but he needs a job. He's got a daughter to support and he's pretty pinched for money. The job turns out to be apprentice caretaker at the Deadfall Hotel. Jacob Ascher, current caretaker, is on hand to show him the ropes.
From the dust cover:
"It's a terrible place. As the seasons pass, the supernatural and the sublime become a part of life, as routine as a morning cup of coffee, but it's not safe by any means. Deadfall Hotel is where Richard and Serena will rebuild the life that was taken from them... if it doesn't kill them first."
Not quite horror, not quite mystery, not quite philosophical musings. A little bit of each. The writing is hypnotic and I found myself consuming the entire 300 pages in just a few sittings. To tell more would be to provide spoilers. From other reviews I've read, people love it or hate it. Not a lot of in between.
There'd been fewer official check-ins than usual, however. Jacob didn't appear surprised. A few guests had shipped themselves to the hotel in crates and barrels, and Jacob had wheeled the containers up to their reserved rooms without fuss. A family had checked in: short people in tight brown coats, the parents no bigger than the small children. And then there was the naked man covered in bite marks and sutures, who'd wandered in from the woods without baggage, and Jacob had taken him up to a room immediately. Richard was glad Serena hadn't been down in the lobby for that one.
One warning I can provide. You'll never look at cats quite the same way again. Bit of a chilling chapter involving cats.