cover image The Red Hotel

The Red Hotel

Graham Masterton. Severn House, $27.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8189-2

Masterton’s third Sissy Sawyer supernatural mystery (after The Painted Man) shifts the action from New England to Baton Rouge, La. When Sissy’s nephew’s girlfriend, T-Yon, comes to her with questions about a series of horrific nightmares, the psychic and aging hippie uses her rare fortune-telling cards to deduce that T-Yon and her brother, Everett, are in grave danger. Everett’s restoration of a luxury hotel in Louisiana has caught the attention of a malevolent spirit from the building’s past. Faced with an entity powerful enough to disrupt her cards and fill the hotel with killers who can vanish at will, Sissy must recruit the aid of a local vodunista with a dark secret to set things right. Masterton delivers plenty of shocking tableaus of butchered corpses in bathtubs and people literally spilling their guts, but many of the plot developments feel arbitrary, and the final series of twists is underdeveloped. (Nov.)