|The Deadfall Hotel is where our nightmares go, it’s where the dead pause to rest between worlds, and it’s where Richard Carter and his daughter Serena go to rediscover life — if the things at the hotel don’t kill them first.|
I don't know how many times I've heard "don't judge a book by its cover" being given as sound, legitimate advice, but when I saw John Kenn Mortensen's art, paired with a cool name and a basically interesting concept, I admit I broke that rule. And that was how I came to buy Deadfall Hotel.
The book is littered with excerpts praising the book, but it just occurred to me that the praise is almost all for the author's writing skills. But, being that it is set in a hotel, there is the obligatory comparison to The Shining, which reads "Tem's Deadfall Hotel makes The Shining look like the Bunlins." The Butlins being some destination leisure hotel, according to a quick Google search. I don't think I'm the only one who feels that claims like this almost always work against the book, movie, project, etc. If this book really did put Stephen King to shame, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have just been a blind buy at a book store.
I'm a big fan of John Kenn's art, and a lot of it is because he creates some of the most insane looking monsters and sharp-toothed creatures I've ever seen. So, when I realized that this monster man was responsible for the cover art that made up my mind for me, Deadfall Hotel immediately became the next book on my read list. I was expecting some haunting ghouls and probably a lot of gore, and basically whatever The Shining has ever been accused of lacking, since I've never read the book (although I want to now). Instead, I spent the first third of the book as lost as the widower father character, but much less patient. Everything was so disjointed at I didn't actually know what anyone in the book was aware of. Being just as ignorant as I think they were made it really hard to get into the story. But every time I told myself I should just set it aside to finish later, something interesting would start happening and usually would not go the way I thought it was going to, which was not always a bad thing. I will say this: Steve Rasnic Tem definitely doesn't shy away from killing his characters. And that's fine by me!
I am in the final stretch of Deadfall Hotel, so writing about it already may not be fair to the story. It seems unlikely but something could always happen in the end of the book to make me rethink things. I just feel like my dislike of the main character, growing dislike for some of the background characters, and this turning out to be very far from what I was hoping it would be will keep that from happening. I should be more discerning with whose praise I listen to... I still want to see this book through to the end, so I must not dislike it entirely.