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Deadfall Hotel

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  390 ratings  ·  87 reviews
The Deadfall Hotel is where our nightmares go, it’s where the dead pause to rest between worlds, and it’s where Richard Carter and his daughter Serena go to rediscover life — if the things at the hotel don’t kill them first.

Think of it as the vacation resort of the collective unconscious.

With the powerful prose that has earned him awards and accolades, Steve Rasnic Tem ex
Paperback, 301 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Solaris (first published March 27th 2012)
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Cold Days by Jim ButcherThe Blinding Knife by Brent WeeksThe Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussTricked by Kevin HearneA Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison
Adult Fantasy & Sci-Fi 2012
411th out of 426 books — 851 voters
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsCabal by Clive BarkerAnonymous Rex by Eric GarciaDeadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic TemNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Freak Societies
4th out of 6 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 926)
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mark monday
a favorite fantasy: i inherit a sprawling and eerie mansion, preferably on a cliff or overlooking a lake, somewhere remote. it can be populated by eccentric characters but preferably it will be virtually empty. i spend most of my days exploring the various rooms, discovering passageways, musing on the mansion's mysterious history. i spend most of my nights by a fireplace, reading a book from the impressive library, hearing the wind howl, wondering if the various dangers will be able to break in. ...more

I stumbled across this book at work the other day, and it called to me with a sweet siren song of potential. This edition comes replete with charcoal illustrations, ribbon bookmarks (always classy) and is published by Centipede Press -- centipede!! Eww! Awesome, right? Plus it's about a scary ass hotel. I'm thinking Overlook, I'm thinking House of Leaves, Hill House, Hell House... well, it's none of these. The Deadfall Hotel has such potential, but it never really fires up all its engines and VR
This is a tough one. Tem is a capable writer. He is a craftsman. There are devices he uses that I'm not a fan of, like placing the direct object first and then subordinating the subject. It's just a little trick used to sound Dickensian (something Dickens never really did, making it a poor imitative device) or make a sentence sound literary when it might have been written in plain syntax form. It's a halting thing and a little lame. BUT, that's his style and that's OK with me.

Tem, in my opinion
Adam Nevill
An extraordinary work of macabre fantasy set within the most unusual hotel you'll probably ever read about. The section - The Craving - was my personal favourite. One of those novels in which I am just happy to wallow in the author's strange imagination.
There's so much I want to say about this book, and none of it is good. In fact, a large part of it is just angry spluttering.

So the concept of Deadfall Hotel sounded really awesome. From the way that the description was written, I expected it would either be really good or ridiculously cheesy. (Okay, let's be honest -- the description basically consisted of three run-on sentences. I was banking on ridiculously cheesy.) I love both of these things, though, so I figured this was a win/win.

Anita Dalton
My selection of "read" is misleading. I actually gave up halfway through. These days I only finish a book I dislike if it would be a good addition to my odd books site. This book was not odd enough.

There was something about the style Tem uses that I found strangely muffled. A widower father has taken his small daughter to a dreadful hotel so he can learn to be its new caretaker. It is a place where horrific creatures live. The current caretaker keeps assuring the father that his daughter will be
So, if a book blurb tells me a certain book is like King, Kafka, and Poe wrapped up on 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. 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 int ...more
This is really a story about loss and the human condition.

Told in six parts, this story relates the journey of a family trying to get over the lost of a mother. Tem has a dark tone, but it is a different dark tone than that which is usually found in horror. It is gothic, but somehow, in someway, humane. It is an understanding mirror.
Eric Guignard
REVIEWED: Deadfall Hotel
WRITTEN BY: Steve Rasnic Tem
PUBLISHED: April, 2012

Deadfall Hotel is a rather sweet, at times sad, at times scary, novel which is more fantasy than horror. It includes the familiar monster tropes, but they are all fused with human pains, made believable in whatever condition ails the character, sending them to convalesce and, most likely, eventually perish in the namesake hotel. I wouldn’t call this book a “page-turner” as it is slow and sentimental, but that is what I enj
First published at Booking in Heels.

Deadfall Hotel is written primarily from the third person perspective of Richard Carter, a young widower left alone with his ten year old daughter, Serena. Together they've been wandering aimlessly ever since Abby died, but they see a new future ahead after Richard comes across a job vacancy for the new proprietor of The Deadfall Hotel. They pack up and set off, only to discover all is not what it seems.

Interspersed with the narration of Richard's learning per
Deadfall Hotel works on several levels: a haunted house story, a coming of age narrative, a family's struggle with death, loss and grief. It is a damn good narrative - mysterious, creepy and occasionally terrifying (though not in the bloodletting tropes found in most modern horror novels). Psychological terrors - driven not as much by ghosts and ghouls (though some do reside within the hotel's walls) - are what really haunt the Deadfall's mortal residents.

The hotel is not really an "evil" place
Jason P
May 04, 2012 Jason P added it
Recommends it for: No one.
Shelves: gave-up-on
When I picked up Deadfall Hotel at the book store I thought, "Hey, it's kind of like The Shining, why not?" Unfortunately, I was sadly mistaken; the book opens up exactly like the shining with the car on the long winding road making it's way to the hotel passing huge moutain caps, and the air feeling somewhat thin from the altitude. Although from that point the book drops off the face of the earth with it's boredom and overly descriptive writing style.

The fact that on the back cover it compares
Jason Edwards
Full disclosure: I have not finished Deadfall Hotel yet, and the only reason I was even going to try and finish was for the sake of writing this review. I was struggling to read it last week, and skipped last Monday’s review, and I fear the same will happen again today, unless I just get my thoughts down, finally. I don’t expect there to be anything in the last 20 pages that will change my impressions much. Simply put: awful book.

Now, that’s just my opinion, of course, and you should read others
I can't make up my mind about this book. I liked the idea of it and the events and imagery was great but it felt disjointed overall. Each chapter deals with a different guest or problem so that it felt more like a series of small stories/snapshots than a whole novel. The book lacked flow because of the chapter style and it missed out on true character development. I would have loved there to of been more with Richard's wife rather than just odd glimpses or passing comments. For me it seemed that ...more
Dave Moore
***SPOILERS***read review only after reading the book
I waited several days to actually write something about this book. I'm still a bit uncertain what I read. Was it an allegory or an attempt at "horror". I think it was more successful as the former as the 'horror' aspects were never really revealed, described in anything more than passing, or developed. The "hotel" seems to be more of a metaphor for mental healing and "coming to grips" with reality than a malevolent entity. Thus, its ever-chang
Jason Modisette
Badly written imitation Haruki Murakami. Murakami is skilled at integrating dreamlike stuff into a mostly-real-world narrative. This guy just flips back and forth with no warning.

I was particularly offended by the author's treatment of cats. He clearly doesn't like cats or know much about cats; the first cat to appear was a male calico (consulting the web, apparently male calicos are possible because they can be XXYs, but extremely rare). No remark was made on this. The behavior of the cats in t
Jon Towlson
Recently widowed and in need of a job, Richard Carter makes a new life for himself and his daughter Serena as the manager of the mysterious and remote Deadfall Hotel. He soon finds that the staff of the hotel, led by caretaker Jacob Ascher, are strange, but the guests are stranger still: a collection of werewolves, vampires, cults and creatures that cannot be named. Deadfall Hotel is a sanctuary for nightmares, and Richard must take steps to ensure his daughter’s safety in this terrible place.

Oh dear. Where to begin.

The prose here is incredibly clumsy. Like, I cringed on behalf of the author several times. It's the same type of clumsiness that you sometimes find in very poorly written children's literature, and it gave me unpleasant flashbacks to classroom books that I read when I was like 10. It got a little better towards the middle, but I'm not sure if that was just my literary immune system adjusting to the crisis at hand or whether it actually improved. I'm inclined to think th
I stumbled backward into this book through Blood Kin, Tem's most recent novel. The book caught my eye at the bookstore, but I saw that the mighty praise I saw on the cover referred to Deadfall Hotel, Tem's previous novel, so I figured that might be the best place to start. I'm glad I did, because I found an eerie novel with an effective theme.

In the book, Richard Carter has recently lost his wife to a house fire, and he's been looking for work to support himself and his eleven year-old daughter.
Andrew Kozloski
I read the entire book because I'd like to write a book this year and I want to learn everything I can. Otherwise, I would have given up about 100 pages in. I would have given it 1.5, but that is impossible and a 1.0 would be unfair, because he writes too well.

The writing is actually quite accomplished. That is, when it is not wallowing in self-indulgently Victorian affectation. I see some other reviewer here assumed the book takes place in the UK, as I did at first--it doesn't. The author passi
Nora Peevy
I want to check-in and explore this hotel and the deadfall on the grounds. I picture myself going with a paranormal investigation team to prove the existence of cryptic animals and ghosts and strange people that might find work at a freak show.

I am in love with his imagination and his beautiful prose discussing the grief process Richard goes through after losing his wife. I found it profound and deeply touching, as I lost my father a month ago.

I also want that library and the scene where the K
Nora Peevy
I want to check-in and explore this hotel and the deadfall on the grounds. I picture myself going with a paranormal investigation team to prove the existence of cryptic animals and ghosts and strange people that might find work at a freak show.

I am in love with his imagination and his beautiful prose discussing the grief process Richard goes through after losing his wife. I found it profound and deeply touching, as I lost my father a month ago.

I also want that library and the scene where the K
I liked this book, but I wouldn't recommend it. This story was sold as a horror, but turned into a path to enlightenment for the main character, which wouldn't have been so bad had the story not tried so hard to be scary or dark. There were a few parts of each sub-story that set the heart to racing, but the solutions to wrap up each story nullified any brief excitement that had developed.

I think what bothered me was that the overall book was disjointed. Had each chapter been treated as a short s
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This was (un)interesting book... it took me so much too read due to the lack of interest of the first two chapters... after that it was a ride but never an interesting. A duality of opinions within my being with no true wining.

The story is simple.. the ordeal through which a man and its child must overcome the loss of a wife/mother. The man is recruited to take care of an odd hotel (deadfall hotel) and from that moment on nothing is at seems. The hotel changes its indoor appearence to suit each
I've read a lot of negative reviews (from readers, very few from critics, whatever that means, if anything) for this book, all of them fair and all of them well considered (even from the ones who couldn't get through the book).

I would like to present this book in a slightly different light that, without negating what the negative reviews have said, might be more encouraging to potential readers.

Managing the Deadfall is mundane. It's almost boring.

We the readers can't possibly think so because t
At first I didn’t quite know what to make of this book. I stumbled upon it via a short but appreciative review in the Guardian, and being a fan of horror and weird fiction I expected something fun but fairly trashy from such a portentous title and a peculiarly retro cover style. (Incidentally, I was somewhat mistaken about the title; the word ‘deadfall’ isn’t just a creepy-sounding invention but a term used to describe a mass of living, dead and fallen trees whose roots and trunks have grown ine ...more
Caveat lector: Check your expectations at the front desk -- the Deadfall Hotel is not the Overlook, and if you come to this book expecting The Shining (because several reviewers have made that comparison), you may be disappointed.

That being said, it's a good, weird little book. It's scary in some places (and downright disturbing in others), to be sure, but it's also sort of melancholy and contemplative. It's more than a little zen, oddly enough. It's well-written, and sometimes very much so; Ste
OK, rarely will you ever hear me say this, but this book should have been longer. Not because I didn't want it to end, but because so much is left out. While I am generally a fan of books that leave a little to the imagination and treat the reader as though they are a capable, thinking individual, there is so much missing here as to strain credulity.

I know, I know, this is a fantasy novel. But it is populated by actual human beings, even if they are English. And those Englishmen should either r
It's a book founded by a good idea but it's very disorganized and difficult to follow or get invested in. Tem is by no means a bad writer, but I think tried to reach to far with this book. So many tiny unique ideas are introduced for no reason and then never seen again, the characters don't ring true at all, and if the character of Serena is anything to go on, Tem has never actually met a 12 year old girl in his entire life. The character of Richard is at one moment meek and cowering and nervous ...more

Interesting idea but it didn't really come together. A meditation on loss and grieving set in a place of (mostly) benign monsters and ghosts. The story is rather picaresque and some of the episodes linger on longer than I care for while others are too fleeting. You're left feeling that the tail would be so much more interesting solely from Jacob's perspective, even if Richard is the protagonist.
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Steve Rasnic Tem was born in Lee County Virginia in the heart of Appalachia. He is the author of over 350 published short stories and is a past winner of the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards. His story collections include City Fishing, The Far Side of the Lake, In Concert (with wife Melanie Tem), Ugly Behavior, Celestial Inventories, and Onion Song ...more
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“A life was a secret thing, even between a husband and wife. Your secret life was completely your own, and because it was unknown, would never be mourned. The secret life of each individual went unhonored through eternity.” 4 likes
“We carry our fears with us wherever we go. We pack them neatly, holding them close because if we lost them, where would we be?” 2 likes
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