This was an interesting prompt since it was pretty specific while still allowing room for genre choices. Unfortunately the book I really wanted wasn’t in the library system at all. It ended up being lucky for mey though.
A book set in a hotel – The Grand Hotel by Scott Kenemore
A group of tourists stumble into what appears to be a dilapidated and closed hotel at night. The interior is dark and gloomy with only a hint of past grandeur remaining. This group is an odd mixture of men, women and a single red haired child of undisclosed age.
As they walk through the lobby they notice a man sitting at the front desk. All in the group become awkward – is this man homeless? Surely he can’t be working in this place?
The group draws near to the desk and the man rises, introducing himself as the night clerk and offering up a tour of the Grand Hotel and its occupants. They murmur agreement and what begins is a trip through reality, secrets and riddles.
Along the way the night clerk begins to be drawn to the red haired girl. Could she be the one to open up all the deep truths about the hotel? Will she be able to handle it?
The tour takes the group to visit a series of permanent hotel residents. The first one is a corpse. A very dead, very decayed corpse. While this first visit does set the tone of the rest of the book, after the entire story comes to light it really doesn’t fit in and I was left feeling uncertain why the author included it except for the shock value.
From there the tour group gets introduced to various people, all having a strange tale to tell of how they came to reside at the Grand Hotel. After each story, the night clerk who you learn is named Vick, turns to the girl in the red hair and asks her a pointed question about the story. If she answers correctly, the tour continues. If not, it ends for everyone.
I won’t ruin the book as it is important to keep guessing throughout. The novel is classified as a horror book and while there isn’t any gore or outright terror in it, the residents’ stories are fantastical and with a bit of dread thrown in.
The novel was easy to read and caught my attention from page 1. It is told from the point of view of Vick except for the residents’ stories which are all told in the first person from the story teller. You do not get to know any of the tour group members except for the girl and no names are mentioned. As such, the experiences of each visit is a bit subdued as you get the impression that Vick has heard these stories numerous times. It left me feeling a certain longing to hear the stories as the guests experienced them.
The ending caught me off guard, which doesn’t happen that often, and was a great way to fold it all together. I highly recommend reading this novel.