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A Horrific Plot In 'The Grand Hotel' Bleeds Into Literary Fiction

By Jaclyn Bauer in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 11, 2014 8:00PM

2014_10_Grand_Hotel_Image.jpg The Grand Hotel by bestselling author Scott Kenemore is a mind bending thriller fecund with fascination and enthrallment. More than just Genre Fiction, Kenemore echoes his predecessors Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley as his work ebbs away from the mere horrific and bleeds into literary fiction. Shown though Kenemore’s rich characterizations and resounding themes, The Grand Hotel is no doubt a work with a greater intention than mere shock value.

Inspired by The Five-and-Twenty Tales of the Genie, the novel is told as an adventure of sorts. The chief narrator is the hotel’s desk clerk who begins the story by telling the way in which visitors often arrive at the Grand Hotel. He slowly slips from talking about a generic group of visitors to talking about a very particular group of visitors, those who the reader will follow through the rest of the novel. The desk clerk always wants to take visitors on a tour of the hotel, and that is precisely what he convinces this batch to do.

At each of the destinations the desk clerk takes the visitors, there is a permanent resident with a story to share. These stories are ridden with horror, death and often misguided actions on the part of the narrator as well as characters within the story. Each story is profoundly unique, yet each tends toward the supernatural and the weird.

At each stop the tour loses more and more guests. Often a guest will decide to stay with a resident they find particularly interesting, whose story they are particularly fond of. As the group continues and begins to dwindle, a young red haired girl of about twelve years old begins to stand out to the desk clerk. The desk clerk is highly intrigued by the girl’s intelligence and insight and decides to play a game with her. He asks her one question about each story the group hears and challenges her to answer correctly or else he threatens to end the tour. Each question tends to revolve around character morality, and the clerk is continually shocked by the young girl’s perceptive answers.

At its end the book plunges into an extremely unforeseen abyss and turns the entire story on its head. It’s not only what “happens” in the book, but rather the moral bend of the story that is endearing and twists the heart a bit. Kenemore’s novel is not only well-written, original and magnificently laid out, but it is one of deep insight and leaves readers with a profound sense of compassion.

Published by Skyhorse/Talos Press, the book will be available for purchase on Oct. 14.

Don't miss Kenemore at City Lit Books on Oct. 31 as he discusses his latest novel on Halloween night.