Deadfall Hotel

Narrated by: Matt Godfrey
Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: Fiction, Horror
3.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 explores the roots of fear and society’s fascination with things horrific, using the many-layered metaphor of the Deadfall Hotel. Drawing inspiration from literary touchstones John Gardner and Peter Straub, Tem elegantly delves into the dark corners of the human spirit. There, he finds not only our fears, but ultimately our hopes.

Cover art by John Kenn Mortensen.

©2012 Steve Rasnic Tem (P)2018 Steve Rasnic Tem

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not Scary So Much As Interesting

With a title like 'Deadfall Hotel' I expected some serious paranormal happenings. The story delivers on this, in a sense, but this tale felt more to me like a drama about a daughter and father experiencing a traumatic loss than a ghost story. So if you're interested in a touching story that happens to have some paranormal elements, this is for you. If you want spooks, I'd pass on this one. Matt Godfrey does a stellar job with narration, as always!

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

“You can check out any time you like, but you can

Richard has lost his wife and in his grief, has accepted a job offer at a very unique hotel. It is one of mysteries and wonder, and where the dead can walk the halls with the living. It is a place where dreams can take shape and pets can mutate into monsters.

This book is an interesting read with some odd directions, and for the most part, I found it highly enjoyable. Now I’ll say that with the caveat that I do not feel like many others will like this book. It has an odd detached tone to it while things are happening and it leaves the reader like you are never fully brought into the secrets of the hotel. I enjoyed that because our main character often never feels like he has fully been brought into the fold.

It also does not have a straight central story line where it leads to a massive climax that gets resolved. Instead, the book introduces us to the main character, we have a few adventures with him and his daughter and then the story is over and we are left saying goodbye. I’m okay with that, however the end isn’t fully explained and we’re left not fully understanding what changed. It is the ending that keeps me from rating this book higher.

I did listen to this as an audiobook and the narrator did a fantastic job. In fact, the next audiobook I am going to listen to, by pure coincidence, is also narrated by him and I am looking forward to it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Okay, but...

Normally this would be right up my alley.
Love the narrator. Matt Godfrey has the perfect young dad voice, but I just didn't like the character. Sure, he's been through a lot in life and is just drifting.
What I did enjoy, however, was the "Shining" vibes mixed with older Hollywood horror. There was just something off, and I can't quite put my finger on it.
 “I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review." 

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, Surreal, and Strange

THE DEADFALL HOTEL is a beautifully written story, but difficult to describe with any kind of clarity. To vaguely set the scene: a recently widowed man accepts a job as caretaker at a somewhat remote hotel, bringing along his young daughter. The current, elderly caretaker is the one who recruited him, and will be available for on the job training, in the hopes that he will soon be able to retire.

Anyone going into this book expecting something like King's THE SHINING, or Matheson's HELL HOUSE, is probably going to be disappointed. While the Deadfall does have some ghosts hanging around, the story isn't really about them. Then again, it's not really about the living people at the hotel either. (Remember when I said this is a difficult story to review with clarity?)

Here's how I viewed it, (or tried to view it), and that was by looking at each chapter as its own separate story; connected only by their setting. King of the Cats, for instance. Yes, living people were in the tale, but it was mostly about the cats and the hotel. The Craving-yes the caretaker in training was part of the story, but only incidentally.

In these little vignettes, the author really shines, (especially in regards to the werewolf and the vampire), but when it came to the living people, the narrative didn't work as well for me. I enjoyed the characters, but they did a LOT of things that weren't believable. Towards the end, a few of their confusing actions were explained, (like why they went there in the first place), but the father repeatedly putting his daughter into danger was something that was not explained to my satisfaction.

Aside from these issues, I truly enjoyed this story. I've long been a fan of Tem's writing, but other than his novel UBO, (which I loved), I've not read any of his longer works. I pulled over in my car, so I could bookmark this quote from the audio:

"Fall is but a whisper in these environs. With so much death and decay on display year-round, we hardly notice the autumn and so it truncates, crawling off sullen and insulted by our lack of attention."

As I said above, I listened to this story, and I loved the narration-especially the voicing of Jacob, the elder caretaker. Most chapters started off with quotes from his journals over the years and I think those were my favorite parts.

Even though DEADFALL HOTEL wasn't quite what I was expecting, it did grow on me, and I did end up enjoying it. I would go there for a visit...as long as I didn't have to go near that godawful swimming pool. (Trust me, that pool was SCARY.)

Highly recommended for fans of dark fantasy, and/or weird tales!

*I received the audio of this book free of charge from the narrator with no strings attached. I chose to review it anyway. Furthermore, I consider the narrator to be a friend, even though we've never met in person. That fact did not affect this, my honest review.*

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Deadfall Hotel

I used to hate literature classes where the teacher asked you what the author meant by things in a story/book: Why were the curtains blue? Why did he walk on the left side of the street? Maybe that's why I didn't really enjoy this book that much. I think that the author was trying to say things through the story, but I am not sure what he was trying to say.

The main character, Richard Carter, is a recent widower after his wife, Abby, dies in a tragic fire. He is at loose ends and trying to raise his 10 year old daughter, Serena. When he sees an ad in the paper for a job as a Hotel Manger at a remote Hotel, he applies even though he knows nothing about managing a hotel. In fact, I never figured out what he had done as a career before this job.

A man named Jacob comes to interview him and immediately offers him the job. Richard accepts without really knowing what he will be doing.

Without going into too much detail, I found this book to be extremely weird and hard to follow most of the time. First of all, Richard is a true wimp and allows his young daughter to be put into dangerous situations after their arrival at the Hotel. The first story involves a werewolf (I think) who smells Serena's menstrual blood and comes after her (TMI if you ask me!). But, instead of taking Serena and running for safety, Richard just seems to go along with the flow.

Then, he becomes involved with a vampire and still stays at this creepy place. Every time he asks Jacob what is going on, he gets some vague/philosophical answer. "There's death of the body and then there's death of the spirit." "Sometimes a mirror is just another door."

You also have Abby's ghost floating around the Hotel and Richard isn't sure whether he wants to be around her or not. As I read this book, I kept thinking of all the "B" horror movies I have seen and found myself wanting to slap him for staying in this place.

The book is classified as horror, but to me it was more of a fantasy/psychological tale, with much of the book being dreams/hallucinations (you never really know what is "Real"). Sure, there are werewolves, vampires, evil cats, ghosts and other unnamed creatures, but they were more creepy and dreamlike than horrid.

The most interesting part of the book IMHO were the journal entries from Jacob, as he related the history (in part) of this Hotel. I think that this story had a lot of potential, but just fell short for me. The narrator, Matt Godfrey, does a good job and held my interest. All in all, I just wanted the whole thing to be over and done. The chapters were very long and I think that they were first written as short stories, then put together (in a way) for this book.

I was given the chance to listen to the audiobook version of this book through Audiobook Boom! and chose to review it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Special Scary Fun

Man, I wanted to love this book. Give me a haunted hotel or house any day, and I want to immerse myself in it. This story had so much potential for greatness but fell a little short for me.

The setting is a hotel where monsters, ghosts, and creatures go on vacation or to retire. Deadfall Hotel is not what I would call a horror story. It was not scary but more like some of Stephen King’s books’ unusualness rather than scariness. There are supernatural elements like ghosts, monsters, a swimming pool that appears and disappears randomly, and the hotel has its own weird quirks.

Jacob, the current caretaker, was the hotel manager before Richard and his daughter, Serena, came to Deadfall Hotel. Richard takes the manager’s job and Jacob stays on as a mentor of sorts. There seems to be a history of former managers becoming caretakers and staying on to help care for the hotel’s “special” clientele. Throughout the book, Jacob shares parts of the story through his journal entries, and I found those parts the most revealing.

Richard, a single dad following the death of his wife in a house fire, responds to a job ad, and the next thing you know, he’s the new manager of the Deadfall Hotel, where apparently, no experience is required. Although, I don’t know what prior experience he could have had to prepare him to manage a hotel like Deadfall.

After Richard and his daughter settle in, it’s not long before Richard’s dead wife makes several cameo appearances; not so much to interact with Richard or his daughter, but more so with Jacob. Richard is the protagonist in the story, but his character is never fully developed. For a story with so much going for it, none of the characters were compelling. I never discovered a sense of who Richard or his daughter was. I felt lost at times because the story seemed to jump from scene to scene without smooth transitions and no strong sense of the timeline. A book needs a definite ending. This one sort of rambles on.

On the bright side, the narrator, Matt Godfrey, has a pleasant reading voice and did a fantastic job with each of the characters, particularly the voice of Jacob. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bottom-line, I would have liked: more depth to the characters, Jacob’s point of view instead of Richard’s, and that all the under-developed great ideas within the story could have been …well – more.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting Journey

Nervous to read a novel about a strange Hotel, I’m glad I went on the trip. Comparisons to The Shining faded away quickly as Deadfall Hotel is a much different animal. Most importantly, it is well written. I may try another of the author’s books. That said, there are issues. There is not a lot of tension in the plot and this is more of a journey story, not a traditional plot-exposition-climax thing. The Deadfall is an interesting place, but not all the time. The weakest part of the book is the protagonist. He may be an ”everyman,” but he’s a dull one. Not a lot of character to develop. It unfolds like a series of adventures in, outside or around the Hotel and some work better than others. I could not get onboard with the cat thing. Great voice artist.
I was given a free review copy of this book and have voluntarily left this honest review. 

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Series of Short Stories Connected by the Hotel

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

I must admit that it took me a while to get into this audiobook. I kept rewinding it over and over again thinking I might have missed something that would make the story a little clearer, but at the end I deducted must of it on my own. Not sure if that is what the author was aiming at. The only constant is the strangeness of the hotel and its staff. I felt that I wasn't really following the development of any one story. Even though the father and daughter team were always present they were almost presented as secondary characters. They were living their drama and loss surrounded by the strangest and sometimes terrifying happenings. You would think the father would have shied away from this place and looked for more healing accommodations, at the very least, for the daughter's sake... One of the chapters I found a little disturbing was the one with the kitties' destruction. I couldn't quite grab the meaning of it all. More poignant was the preacher's story with enough of the macabre. That said, the writing is excellent and some of the stories (or should I call them "chapters"?) quite interesting. Too bad I was finding them a little disjointed from one another. I'm wondering if reading the book instead of listening to the audiobook would make a difference. Some of the chapters end quite abruptly followed by non sequitur beginnings. I still think it a good book if somewhat unusual, with excellent writing and superb narration.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Deadfall

I loved this book!A man takes a job at a hotel in the mountains.He is trying to get over his wife dying.He and his pre teen daughter make the trip.There are secrets that live in the hotel.Their are weird guests and cleaning teams no one sees.Then there are the cats!Matt Godfrey was a terrific narrator.I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

what a strange place!

** I received this audiobook in exchange for a honest review**

Matt Godfrey did a great job narrating this strange tale. The production quality was great, I had no problems with it. and I absolutely love the cover art. The story, however, was so strange. the word I keep coming back to when thinking about how to describe it, is disjointed. The character's acceptance of the hotel and it's guest was unbelievable. the hotel is very interesting but I don't think we got enough about it. Maybe there will be sequels? There was probably a deeper meaning to the hotel but I really couldn't get into this story.