cover image Deadfall Hotel

Deadfall Hotel

Steve Rasnic Tem. Centipede, $125 (400p) ISBN 978-1-61347-012-1

“No ordinary hotel” but more “a state of mind,” the eponymous setting for this haunting dark fantasy from horror eminence Tem (The Book of Days) provides the perfect backdrop for thoughtful ruminations on death and grieving. Richard Carter is still mourning the death of his beloved wife when he accepts a job as new caretaker at the Deadfall Hotel. Once Richard and his adolescent daughter are established there, it becomes clear that the hotel’s weird patrons and scary vermin are avatars of death that reflect Richard’s inability to accept Abby’s demise. Though Richard’s strange encounters unfold episodically, they build to a revelatory climax that Tem engineers perfectly. His interwoven reflections on the cathartic value of horror entertainments add considerably to the novel’s emotional impact. Gorey-like pen-and-ink illustrations by John Kenn Mortensen perfectly complement the text. Also included is the 1986 short story from which the novel grew. Agent: Robert Fleck, Professional Media Services. (Mar.)