Tem's Deadfall Hotel makes The Shining 's Overlook Hotel look like Butlins. Eerie, disturbing and yet strangely touching, you'll check in but may never check out.' Christopher Fowler, bestselling author of the Bryant and May Mysteries and Hell Train 'Rasnic Tem is at the height of his powers with this effort.' Fearnet.com 'Steve Rasnic Tem is a school of writing unto himself,' Joe R. Lansdale 'Truly brilliant' Denver Post
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About the Author
Steve Rasnic Tem is an author, artist, and poet. His works have earned him numerous international literary awards, including the World Fantasy Award. Joe R. Lansdale has referred to Steve as “a school of writing unto himself,” and others have compared his work to that of Ray Bradbury, Dino Buzatti, Raymond Carver, and Franz Kafka. Tem has long proven his understanding of the dark parts of the human soul, with books and stories that have earned him 9 Bram Stoker Award nominations (3 wins) and 7 International Horror Guild Award nominations (2 wins, plus one story nominated for the 2007 awards). Deadfall Hotel is the product of nearly twenty years of work.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The Deadfall Hotel - A Place For Discriminating TastesApril 29 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
If a book blurb tells me a certain book is like a King, Kafka, and Poe nightmare wrapped up in one, I am there, first in line, sign me up. This book lives up to its jacket, but it's heavy on the Kafka, middling on the Poe and includes a whiff of Shirley Jackson and for me, a dollop of the likes of Nabokov. The story itself is creepy like something King may write, but with an ending that is fitting its readers without a myriad of scrambling characters to keep up with. At first, upon opening this book, I didn't really know what I'd gotten myself into. But then I just kind of threw myself into the superb writing and went along for the ride, and then I liked it and then I remembered the Kafka reference, and I liked it even more.
Deadfall Hotel may not be for everyone, but if you like really good, stylized writing on the gothic/horror side, you will adore and love it. It's about a man who has lost his wife in a fire and his name is Richard. He answers a rather obscure ad in the paper for a caretaker of a hotel and is interviewed by a man named, Jacob. Richard takes Serena, his young daughter who is on the brink of teenagerhood to live in this very interesting place, the Deadfall Hotel. It's vague and sometimes more nondescript than I would have liked, but nonetheless, the hotel is enchanting and scary in its own way. There are creatures and people who live or come to stay in the hotel who would rather stay to themselves and sometimes they do mix in with Jacob, and Richard who is learning the ropes, and Serena. The lines blur and come back into focus and things get stranger and stranger and then come back into focus and that's how I found this book throughout. I am also sure it's worth another read. If if gets confusing for you as a reader, have another sip of wine and keep reading.
Jacob keeps a diary throughout the book and I really enjoyed his take on the happenings. He's been at the Deadfall since the sixties and he's used to the way it changes shapes and how certain rooms and areas open up and then go away. He's also used to the strange inhabitants that are sometimes more alluded to than uncovered entirely. There are some very strange visitors that one gets to know, shall we say a little more intimately, than others. I will let Steve Rasnic Tem tell you about them when you read the book, as I could not do justice with a description. There are also strange ritualistic things that need be done each year around the hotel and Jacob explains them to Richard in ways that say, 'they just need to be done,' and for good measure.
Then there is the underlying theme of dealing with loss and love and life and family. This book covers a gambit with expertly written prose. I don't know, but I learned to love it. It's well written and very different, which makes me think the book is like fresh air, well maybe not fresh because it is the Deadfall Hotel where nightmares and the like reside or go to....(well never mind). Think Kafka. It's really about going on your way in life, getting to the brink of something disastrous, coming back and getting on track again and hopefully, in the best light possible.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Horror Novel Reviews: Honesty in the TerrorJuly 30 2013
Horror Novel Reviews
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Once in a blue moon you encounter a book you just can't seem to wrap your head around. Not to say that isn't a good thing, but Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem is one of these such books. It makes you think about every bit you read and you can obviously see the author has inserted his various personal and philosophical views. Some of which you may not agree with but it helps lend a creepy and thoughtful tone to this supernatural horror novel. Now when I say horror, I mean a very unique type of horror. While it is apparently horror, it still has a somewhat whimsical lilt to it that keeps you reading due to fantastical descriptions. Unfortunately, some of these descriptions can go on a little long because the author seems to have a penchant to wax poetic occasionally. One other thing to keep in mind, if you're like me, you like to have the reasons behind the horrors laid out and explained. You will not find this anywhere in this story. As long as you are aware of that and just sit back and enjoy the ride, this novel will be very entertaining.
Deadfall Hotel is an atrocity of a hotel. At three stories high there is no uniformity of it whatsoever. Angles of walls and chimneys meet in odd ways that don't seem possible in any geometry of physics. The hotel is more of a giant who fell stone dead and is splayed haphazardly than a building that any planning was put into constructing. As fitting for a hotel as this, it's guests are of an equally disturbing caliber. Residence is never refused to it's living (and less than alive) patrons. The hotel and its guests are taken care of the manager -- Jacob Ascher -- who is looking for a replacement. This is where Richard Carter and his daughter Serena come in. They've been looking for a fresh start after their house fire which took the life of their wife and mother Abby. Richard jumps at the chance before he gives any time for second thoughts and soon finds himself installed as the new manager of Deadfall. Completely unaware of it's clientele and sometimes mysterious happenings, Richard is trained by Jacob on a need to know basis and before you know it some very terrifying events unfold. These are compounded by other troubles, such as his daughter reaching the tumultuous time of puberty and the arrival of a guest who looks strangely similar to a recently deceased Abby.
There are only six long chapters in this 301 page book, so you'll need to settle down for a read if you dislike ending a chapter midway. Chapters mostly seem to confine to one season and usually have their own adventure in addition to the overarching story which gives them an almost episodic quality. Don't expect an intense climax as you experience the mysteries of the Deadfall Hotel and maybe even one of Richard's own he's kept hidden. While this novel could be better, overall it's a good story that has many redeeming qualities and is well worth a gander. Especially if you tire of classic ghosts and zombies and want to take a leisurely horror-filled trip into the unknown of the spirit world and the dark, hidden corridors of the Deadfall Hotel.
Written by Tyler Reedy from Horror Novel Reviews. Horror Novel Reviews does not receive payment for reviews. All books are promotional copies.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Deadfall Hotel is fantastic, whimsical and dark and beautifulDec 3 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
Deadfall Hotel is fantastic, whimsical and dark and beautiful. Imagine, if you will, spending a season in the Overlook Hotel, if it were peopled by the family from those Bradbury stories. For all his lyrical prose and stunningly surreal imagery, there is plenty of darkness and horror to be had.
Richard Carter and his young daughter, Serena, arrive at the hotel in the opening pages. They approach the front desk scarred and stained from recent tragedy. They are welcomed by Jacob, the current caretaker and the man who will “train” Richard as his successor. He will show him the ropes and rules to the hotel, a place where nothing is what it seems and even the most simple things can be dangerous.
Along Richard and Serena’s journey to accept and embrace their grief, we encounter a sinister old man and his lupine alter-ego, Dragon, the King of the Cats, disturbing housekeepers, and things that scuttle and bite. Meet the pool man, easily one of the most haunting characters I’ve read in some time.
Tem is quite masterful with his words. And even when the pacing and story become a bit slow, his language is hypnotic. The characters are rich and real. But the real star here is his cunning skill at presenting a feeling of loss and sadness. He has done this in several shorts I’ve read. The man can put that feeling of empty and sadness into words like no one else.
This is a novel about grief and what a heavy yoke it is to bear. About how it can be a many-faced monster that will devour your life, all aspects, right from under your nose.
It’s also about a creepy hotel with boarders who are not always human and not always nice. An utter joy to read.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
First ClassSept. 23 2012
Jason Sean Ridler
- Published on Amazon.com
Steve was as mentor of mine, so I'm a tad biased. Then again, his reputation as a talented craftsman of short fiction is etched in stone. I'd only read one novel of his, co-written with his talented wife Melanie (also a mentor), but this was my first solo Steve Tem experience. And it was a joy, from first to last. A dark but often funny tale of a widower trying to overcome his grief while raising his daughter alone, where his own fears and dreams become the ghosts haunting the DEADFALL HOTEL where he works. There are scenes that will stay with me a long time, from the King of Cats episode to the terrifying discovery in the pool room . . . Anywho, if you like Neil Gaiman or Graham Joyce, good money says you'll like Steve's lovely haunted house novel. I know I did.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Really having a hard time getting into this oneMarch 20 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Well, I see that I'm in the minority in this one, but I just can't get into this book. It sounded like a terrific premise, and I really looked forward to it, but I think the writing style is just not for me.
Another thing which bothered me was the fact that Richard seems to take this place in stride. Where is the surprise at what he sees here? There's no adjustment period at all to what he's seeing - creatures he knows are supernatural, a particular ghost, a killer. Yes, he worries for his daughter. But why is he not more shocked at the guests? Why does he not find any of this hard to believe?
I keep forcing myself to read further, hoping I'll really get into it, but I just can't, and as I'm a quarter of the way through, I may not get a lot further. Yes, I suppose it is very well written, but it's feeling like work to read it. I'd recommend reading a sample before buying to see if it's your style.