The Grand Hotel by bestselling author Scott Kenemore is a mind-bending thriller full of fascination and passion. More than just genre fiction, Kenemore echoes his predecessors Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley as his work moves away from simple gruesomeness and into literary fiction. Shown through Kenemore’s rich characterizations and resounding themes, The Grand Hotel is undoubtedly a work with a greater intention than mere shock value.
Inspired by The Twenty-Five Tales of Genius, the novel is told as a kind of adventure. The main narrator is the hotel receptionist who begins the story by recounting how visitors often arrive at the Grand Hotel. It slowly slides from a generic group of visitors to a very particular group of visitors, those the reader will follow throughout the novel. The receptionist always wants to take visitors on a tour of the hotel, and that’s precisely what he convinces this group to do.
At each of the destinations the receptionist takes visitors, there is a permanent resident with a story to share. These stories are filled with horror, death, and often misguided actions on the part of the narrator as well as the characters in the story. Each story is deeply unique, but each leans towards the supernatural and the strange.
With each stop, the tour loses more and more guests. Often a guest will decide to stay with a resident that they find particularly interesting and whose history they are particularly fond of. As the group continues and begins to dwindle, a red-haired girl of about twelve years old begins to stand out to the receptionist. The receptionist is very intrigued by the girl’s intelligence and insight and decides to play a game with her. He asks her a question about every story the band hears and challenges her to answer correctly or he threatens to end the tour. Each question tends to revolve around the character’s morality, and the clerk is continually shocked by the girl’s insightful answers.
At its end, the book plunges into an extremely unforeseen abyss and turns the whole story upside down. It’s not just what “happens” in the book, but rather the moral turn of the story that is endearing and a bit heart-wrenching. Kenemore’s novel is not only well-written, original, and beautifully presented, but it is deeply insightful and leaves readers with a deep sense of compassion.
Published by Skyhorse/Talos Press, the book will be available for purchase on October 14.
Don’t miss Kenemore at City Lit Books on October 31 as he discusses his latest novel on Halloween night.