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Beyond the Pale Motel Hardcover – September 16, 2014

4.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Beyond the Pale Motel is a fast-paced, original, and highly sensual novel, set in an L.A. characterized by isolation and darkness, where true love is elusive in any of its forms. Block paints a convincing portrait of a woman in crisis, abandoned to her own self-destructive devices.” ―Steph Cha, Follow Her Home

Beyond the Pale Motel is sadder, darker, grimmer [than anything Francesca Lia Block has written], yet still glinting in spots with ethereal light and her trademark belief in the saving power of love.” ―Denise Hamilton, Damage Control

“With a protagonist who's looking for love in all the wrong places, Francesca Lia Block's new novel is sexy and grim.” ―Ellen Datlow, editor of The Best Horror of the Year

“Mesmerizing and at times haunting, Beyond the Pale Motel is about how longings can warp us or shape us into something stronger.” ―Gary Phillips, Warlord of Willow Ridge

Beyond the Pale Motel is a can't-stop-reading, gasp-out-loud sexy thriller that keeps you guessing at every turn. Block holds up a dark mirror to the traditional love story. She creates characters so real you feel they've done your hair, heard your sob story, slept in your bed. Block reflects Los Angeles with as much distinction as Raymond Chandler and John Fante, but her Los Angeles has the cotton candy colored sunsets in the smog and the dark magic of the shadows.” ―Laura Lee Bahr, author of Haunt

“Ariel Silverman shimmers in the very air between page and eyelashes. Tam Lin meets the tabloids.” ―Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked, on The Elementals

“Well-paced and lushly written.” ―Kirkus Reviews on The Elementals

“The Elementals [is] a fever dream of a novel, an exercise in the surreal.” ―Booklist on The Elementals

“A compelling and quick read... will keep readers engaged and guessing as the pages fly by.” ―Publishers Weekly on The Elementals

About the Author

FRANCESCA LIA BLOCK is the acclaimed author of many books including the popular Weezie Bat series and The Elementals. She is the recipient of the ALA Lifetime Achievement Award, among others, and is published all over the world.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 16, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250033128
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250033123
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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 desperate hopefulness. She is a brutally honest, often funny, yet deeply vulnerable heroine. I was hooked from first sentence to heart wrenching conclusion.

Catt is a recovering addict. She and her model pretty best friend, Bree, are hair stylists at trendy salon Head Hunter. Although beautiful in her own way, the voluptuous maternal Catt strives to look like the stereotypical LA ideal – spending hours working out at her gym Body Farm. Her life centers around Bree, Bree’s son Skylar, her few close companions, and her rock musician husband Dash. Caregiver for her circle of friends-turned-family, Catt channels her desire to be a mother into her love for them. This need for closeness also shows itself in her hyper-sexuality; she is always aroused and hungry for even platonic physical affection. When Dash leaves her, Catt’s carefully cultivated happy life falls quickly to pieces. She becomes obsessed with the brutal Hollywood Killer who is murdering beautiful women then butchering select body parts from his victims. Her pain at losing Dash is exorcised in a series of graphically detailed, intensely hot flings with a series of different men. These lead to new dangerous fixations. Relationships with everyone she holds dear are quickly jeopardized as Catt spirals out of control. Most affected is her friendship with Bree.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Extremely disappointing novel. The main character is a 1-dimensional insecure woman who mostly thinks about getting laid and how fat she is. Literally like a Kathy cartoon combined with a cheaper version of 50 shades. None of the characters are developed or interesting. The "plot" is thinner than the protagonist could ever dream of being.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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 she becoming unhinged from reality?

Beyond the Pale Motel is Francesca Lia Block's newest adult novel. It's a bit more sexy and dark than her teen work, but just as lyrically written. I loved how the horror theme extended to unexpected areas of the story. Catt's salon is called Head Hunter and her gym is called Body Farm. Her blog is called Love Monsters and she has monster labels (vampire, manticore, zombie, or goblin) for the types of men there are. The story centers around Catt who has it together. She's been going to AA for years and her relationship with her husband is solid as can be. Her family consists of those she has chosen: Dash, Bree, and her son Skyler. Everything is idyllic and happy right up until it all falls apart. It was hard to read Catt's life just disintegrate. She is a sensitive person who needs people desperately and wants to be a mother above all else. Her need for people translates into hypersexuality after her husband leaves her and she invites man after man into her bed to fill the emotional void. This doesn't work out since they turn out to be scumbags. These encounters don't help her initial pain from her breakup, create more pain, and send her spiraling out of control, ending her sobriety.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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 friendship and the fear of losing everything.

This is by no means an easy read. Block will obliterate any preconceived notions you have on the traditional thriller and show you something much more complex and imaginative. Beyond the Pale Motel is powerfully written and will leave you on edge right until the very end where you will be stunned into disbelieving silence ...
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Format: Hardcover
I grew up reading Francesca Lia Block's YA novels like WEETZIE BAT, marveling at their dreamy prose and breezy acceptance of a variety of alternative lifestyles, an easygoing attitude that seemed to go hand-in-hand with their Los Angeles settings. So when I learned that Block was coming out with her second novel for adults, BEYOND THE PALE MOTEL, I knew I should check it out.

What I found was a work that clearly conveys Block's fondness for Los Angeles, although through a more nuanced lens. It's also every bit as sexy as her Weezie Bat books, actually a lot more so. What might surprise her longtime fans is that it is also a genuinely suspenseful and, at times, pretty darn scary novel.

The protagonist of BEYOND THE PALE MOTEL is Catt, a hairdresser and recovering alcoholic who finally seems to be on the right track. Catt longs to have a baby of her own, but makes do by spending lots of time with her godson, Skylar, the son of her best friend and coworker (and fellow recovering addict) Bree. At the opening of the novel, however, Catt's volatile relationship with her rock star husband, Dash, finally seems to be over, which sends her into a tailspin that results in a crisis of self-confidence and a series of bad decisions (including having sex with a number of men who may be hot but just don't love her).

By sleeping with strangers, Catt may be putting herself in danger. There's a murderer on the loose, dubbed the Hollywood Serial Killer by the media, and his victims are getting uncomfortably close to Catt and her circle. By the time Catt recognizes that Bree falls into the serial killer's "type," it may be too late to save either of them.
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