cover image Horror Hotel

Horror Hotel

Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren. Underlined, $9.99 paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-593-48348-0

A ghost vlog turns murder mystery in Fulton and McClaren’s layered horror debut. When Las Vegas–based YouTube group the Ghost Gang—alternating narrators white Chrissy, Filipinx and Irish Chase, presumed-white Emmaline, and Kiki, who has “dark brown skin”—head to L.A.’s infamous Hearst Hotel to film over Halloween, Chase is sure the visit will earn them the Gold Play button that comes with amassing one million subscribers. As Chrissy, the group’s sole psychic member, picks up the hotel’s overwhelming spiritual energy and encounters the ghosts of murdered women, she also meets fellow psychic Bram Kelly, white and Australian, who’s there investigating the death of a grad student whose remains were found in the hotel 10 years prior. While filming the room where a serial killer purportedly died by suicide, the Gang encounters the body of a house cleaner, launching their dabblings into a full inquiry. True crime buffs will recognize the story’s inspiration as the real-life Cecil Hotel, and though Fulton and McClaren successfully depict the terror of the supernatural occurrences and adhere to common mystery tropes, the depiction of Skid Row (“the most haunted hotel in America in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles”) and the variation on a real-life disappearance feel exploitative. Ages 12–up. Agent: Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary. (Feb.)