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Beyond the Pale Motel

3.19  ·  Rating Details ·  534 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
Maternal, sexy Catt and her beautiful, daring best friend Bree are hairdressers at an L.A. salon called Head Hunter, and work out at a gym called Body Farm. They have over a decade of sobriety behind them and are getting close to living the lives they've always wanted.

But when Catt's husband, Dash, leaves her, and then her neighbor is brutally murdered, possibly by a man b
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by St. Martin's Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 01, 2015 Emma rated it did not like it
I write this as a huge fan of Block. I've been reading her books since my early teen years, and they will never lose their tragic magic for me.
However, this book was a HUGE disappointment, in many ways.
First, who edited this? I would have been adding periods and fixing structural errors had the copy I been reading been mine; alas, it belonged to the library.
The story itself was honestly too much. I felt like I was supposed to feel bad for every character, except I found it hard to
Aurora Gray
Aug 01, 2014 Aurora Gray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, mystery
Received as an ARC. Intended to just read the first few pages before making dinner and ended up reading the entire book in one sitting, growing more uncomfortable with each page yet unable to put it down. It was visually searing and haunting, a horror in a way that I'd never read before. I woke up in the middle of the night with images from the book running through my head like a nightmare. This book is darker than anything I've read before by Block. Usually her books touch me with sadness and l ...more
Aug 03, 2014 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC copy from Ms. Block and couldn't wait to delve in. I tried to savor the words but I found myself reading until I couldn't. I finished it in twenty-four hours and want to go back to reread. If you're looking for a haunting, erotic adult novel thats both horror and psychological, this is the novel to read. Beyond The Pale Motel is reminiscent of Muhollond Drive. It's has addiction, a serial killer and broken love. It has hair stylists, best friends and baseball. It's a must read ...more
Liem Duong
Oct 11, 2014 Liem Duong rated it did not like it
"Beyond the Pale Motel" feels like reading a 216 page cosmopolitan magazine with no pictures. Sometimes I felt like I was a peeping tom inside the author's wet dream. And no, that's not a good thing. However, I did enjoy the fact that the font was oversized which made the reading go by alot faster.
Cecilia Tan
Sep 13, 2014 Cecilia Tan rated it it was amazing
I just sent the following email to Francesca Lia Block:

"Finished the book. I'm shattered. It's brilliant.
More coherent thoughts after I recover. I hope. <3"

(I didn't intend to finish the entire book in under 12 hours, but I did.)

EDIT: Okay, here is the full review. This ended up being less of a review and more of an essay on why I feel this book is a brilliant piece of modern literature that may go under-appreciated by critics.

I was lucky enough to get an advance reading copy of Francesca L
Mary Lowry
Dec 08, 2014 Mary Lowry rated it it was amazing
I met with Francesca Lia Block at Sage, a vegan restaurant in Culver City, to discuss her new novel Beyond the Pale Motel (St. Martin's). Sitting in the lovely patio eating a vegan falafel bowl with Block across from me wearing a black tank top, black skinny jeans, and shiny pink Nike high-tops, I couldn't help feeling like I'd fallen into a Block novel.

Many of Block's 25 books are set in a gauzy, fairy tale Los Angeles, and her ability to write a love song for the City of Angels has become lege
Chrissy Daly
Aug 04, 2014 Chrissy Daly rated it it was ok
Long time fan of Ms. Block, but sadly this book disappointed me. I was excited to hear of the darkness in the plot, but very let down by the character portrayal. When the main character unknowingly breaks her decade of sobriety, all her support system crumbles. He best friend takes away everything she loves out of... Uh anger? Her sponsor drops her, leaving her alone to start on a downward spiral when they should have been helping. From what I know about AA, they are a team and will help anyone ...more
Jul 31, 2014 Charlie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are no fairies here. There's no sweet love affair between quirky outsiders. This is a grim and relentless examination of a life spun out of control: love lost and never redeemed; pain and despair and death - lots of death. And at the story's center, a gaping hole where love should be. Block stares down some personal demons here, and if you've got the spine for it, this book's a harrowing read. But not for the beach...
Steve Lafortune
Oct 07, 2014 Steve Lafortune rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
The only good thing about this book is that it's a fast read.
Writer's Relief
Dec 22, 2014 Writer's Relief rated it it was amazing
Surreal, erotic, and completely engrossing, BEYOND THE PALE MOTEL is a sexy psychological thriller set in seamy, steamy Los Angeles. Catt, a voluptuous beauty, is obsessively in love with her punk-rock husband, Dash, and works as a hairdresser at a hip salon alongside her best friend, Bree. She also has over ten years of sobriety under her studded, black leather belt. But when Dash announces he is leaving her for another woman, Catt is shaken to the core.

Catt’s neighbor is viciously killed, the
Justina N.
Aug 11, 2014 Justina N. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adult Readers
Recommended to Justina by: Advanced Reader Copy
Review: Beyond The Pale Motel
By Francesca Lia Block

Beyond The Pale Motel is Francesca Block’s newest adult novel. Grittier, sexier, darker than her young adult work or her other writing to date this prose is incredibly candid. While reminiscent in tone to her erotic short story collection, Lay Me Out Softly, this book takes that darkness and frank sexuality much further. As narrator Catt draws the reader into her tale, one is struck by a compelling sense of impending doom mingled with a desperat
Aug 05, 2014 Steph rated it really liked it
Expect the Unexpected....

Beyond the Pale Motel is unlike any FLB novel that you've read before. While novels like The Elementals exploring the darker, sinister side of human nature, Pale Motel attacks it full force. It is an in-your-face, brutally honest portrayal of broken people in a desperate (and perverse) search for love.

For FLB fan's, the exquisite pacing, endearing/simultaneously heartbreaking characters, and lyrical prose will feel like old familiar friends. The de
Jennifer Martin
Feb 20, 2014 Jennifer Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beyond The Pale Motel is a fast-paced, erotic, psychological thriller. Heavy on the erotic and heavy on the psychological. Francesca Lia Block uses her signature dreamy style to lure the reader to the edge of nightmare in her latest (and darker) take on living and dying in Los Angeles.

Catt is married to dashing punk-musician--aptly named--Dash, and works with her best-friend, the beautiful pink-lavender-blue haired Bree, and is a devoted and deeply invested godmother to Bree's son. Even though d
CB Davis
Dec 27, 2014 CB Davis rated it it was ok
There is a LOT going on here. This is like 14 novels in one, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. I think it literally contains every LA cliche there is. I burned through it in an afternoon, so I don’t feel too let down by it—Block does have a writing style that keeps you reading. My issue is that she threw so many random left turns in the last quarter of the book that you’re left wondering, what is the point of all this? She would benefit from the adage ‘put everything on, but take 2 things ...more
Gail M
Oct 08, 2014 Gail M rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what the point of this book was. There didn't seem to be any growth for the characters and the ending resolved nothing. Maybe it was to say once you have a screwed up childhood it's highly unlikely you'll recover??
Oct 15, 2014 Rhema-Leigh rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookclub-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tara Dawn (Colourful WordWench)
OMG....What the fuck did I just read? I just can't wrap my head around it at the moment. I started this book based off of a review I read on a friend's blog. It called to me. I didn't even read the synopsis, just went straight to her review and thought damn I need to read this. My friend decided to gift me a copy which I am eternally grateful for. I sat down, loaded it up on my kindle and didn't put it down. NOT ONCE! I was ensnared and there was no escaping it. I knew as soon as I started this ...more
Dec 25, 2016 Atreyu rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenna Mia
Apr 09, 2017 Jenna Mia rated it really liked it
First book I felt unable to put down in ages.
Apr 03, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Catt and Bree are hairdressers in LA. They've been friends for a long time and been through alcoholism, recovery, and over a decade of sobriety together. Catt's husband Dash suddenly leaves her for a rich, young starlet. This along with the Hollywood Serial Killer murders that seem to be closer and closer to her are shattering her world. She seeks comfort in many men, but all of them turn out to be using her. She sees a pattern to the murders and thinks Bree might be next, but is she right or is ...more
The Truth
Sep 30, 2014 The Truth rated it really liked it
Melissa's Review

**Arc Provided by author in exchange for an honest review**

4 Stars

Beyond the Pale Motel by Francesca Lia Block was dark, twisty and suspensful. OMG I loved it! This fast paced book is centered on topics that are often hard to discuss- addiction, adultery & murder. It was my first FLB book but surely will not be my last. Her style pulled me in from the first sentence and did not loosen it's grip until I reached "The End."

When Catt's husbands up and leaves her to start a new li
On audiobook, read well. I have feelings for this book! It tells the story of Catt, a woman in her mid-thirties who has overcome a bad childhood and her own addiction problems. She has a successful blog, a job in a hair salon with her best friend, a stepson she loves and is deeply involved with, and a sexy husband. The husband leaves right off the bat, then pretty quickly, it all gets taken away, and then-- whoops! Absolute horror.

I found it incredibly engaging in the first three quarters. I was
Carolee Wheeler
Oct 26, 2014 Carolee Wheeler rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 04, 2014 Andrea rated it it was ok
I have been a huge fan of FLB for several years. Her writing style was as lush and beautiful as it ever has been, but Beyond the Pale Motel had a very clear, deliberate darkness to it. However, it seems like in this book, FLB is juggling just too many plot lines: Addiction, love, family, abuse, and objectification. And that doesn't even begin to cover this whole murder thing that is simultaneously going on...And the random sex scenes that felt like they were just plopped randomly throughout the ...more
Ellie Julio
Sep 21, 2014 Ellie Julio rated it it was amazing
Vicious and vulnerable. Horrific and heartbreaking. Sad and seductive.

More erotic and real than her last adult novel, The Elementals, FLB has woven another distressingly beautiful tale for the adult audience who devoured Quakeland.

Catt's story is a map of sensual scars over an aching, bloodied heart, a near-purposeful decent into madness fueled by desperate love, burning fear, and Jack Daniels. Watching her lose each of her nine lives to pain is a harsh reflection of the reckless choices we've
Jenn Watson
Sep 15, 2014 Jenn Watson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-shelf
Beyond the Pale Motel is a dark and spellbinding emotional thriller. A story that will hold you in its grip long after you turn the last page. Block’s talent seems to know no bounds; with the ability to turn the most perverse and haunting events into something lyrically beautiful, her voice as an author astounds. The story is brilliantly told in first person narrative and through Catt, the reader experiences the ugliness of addiction and self destructive behavior, the beauty and bonds of friends ...more
Oct 26, 2014 Nikki rated it it was ok
Shelves: 100-in-2014
I expected a lot more from this book based on the glowing lyrical reviews here. I think you have to be a Block fan to enjoy this book. I am a Stephen King fan, however, and I feel this attempt at horror was bungled.

The unreliable narrator was too unreliable, the suspense build up was good but ham handed, and the end was jarring- not just because of what happened, because 'here's everything explained and tied with a bow in the last few pages kthxbye!'

This read like a YA novel with a lot of sex,
Renee Vacek
Sep 16, 2014 Renee Vacek rated it it was amazing
As an author and writer myself, I often find myself reading books with my editing hat on. But Francesca Lia Block has managed to remove me from editing mode to reader mode. From the very beginning, I was caught in the story of Catt and felt each emotion and fear as I continued. Block's writing is evocative and erotic without the typical, tired stories. This book is an amazing read and the journey is well worth taking.
Jul 13, 2014 Terri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Received as ARC. I wanted to love this book. I respect the author. I felt so sorry for the main character, but she eventually became too pathetic and it was hard to remain sympathetic towards her. The mystery /thriller never really got off the ground. The focus was on the protagonist and her endless struggles. I still wish I liked this book! It was an engaging read, but it was like watching a train wreck. It kept your interest, but it wasn't for the right reasons.
Giovanni Arduino
Aug 04, 2014 Giovanni Arduino rated it it was amazing
Being a lifelong Francesca Lia Block enthusiast (plus his Italian editor for a sadly short period of time), I simply had to read this! Incredibly fast-paced, haunting, sensual, erotic and graced by her usual lyrical style, Beyond the Pale Motel is one hell of a good read that confirms the versatility of this incredible author.
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Would Like to Discuss Catt and Bree's relationship 4 8 Aug 06, 2015 02:07PM  
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Francesca Lia Block was born in Los Angeles to a poet and a painter, their creativity an obvious influence on her writing. Another influence was her childhood love of Greek mythology and fairy tales.
She has lived in the city all her life, and still resides there with her daughter, Jasmine Angelina (about whom she wrote her book Guarding the Moon), her son Samuel Alexander, and her two dogs: a spr
More about Francesca Lia Block...

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