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Deadfall Hotel Hardcover – March 27, 2012

14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"...just when you think you've found the lay of the land in this most rich and fertile of imaginative plains, and you're thrown a twist or turn, or simple line of speech masquerading as so much more. Just when you think you've nailed a certain style or emotion in the text and again it buckles and surprises."- Spooky Reads

"Deadfall Hotel is everything a horror novel should be.  Steve Rasnic Tem is at the height of his powers with this effort.  If you're a fan of horror, the weird, or just plain old great storytelling, give Deadfall Hotel a read.  You won't regret it." FEARnet

"This is no ordinary novel. It is not a comfortable read and it is incredibly surreal. However, it is a book that must be read." Terror Tree

"A dark and moving story of love, loss and change, with a posse of horror kittens thrown into the mix." The Guardian

"Steve Rasnic Tem has created a strange and wonderful world, filled with the curious and the much a place of joy as it is of sorrow, something [he] captures brilliantly in this extraordinary novel." -- Maureen Kincaid Speller in --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Steve Rasnic Tem is a well-known writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction who lives in Denver, Colorado.

John Kenn Mortensen: John Kenn Mortensen is a freelance illustrator living in Denmark. His quirky, Edward Gorey-inspired artwork has a large following on the internet.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Centipede Press; Signed edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613470126
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613470121
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,969,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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, and In Concert (with wife Melanie Tem). Forthcoming collections include Ugly Behavior (crime) and Celestial Inventories (contemporary fantasy). An audio collection, Invisible, is also available. His novels include Excavation, The Book of Days, Daughters, The Man In The Ceiling (with Melanie Tem), and the recent Deadfall Hotel. In this Edward Gorey-esque, Mervyn Peak-esque novel a widower takes the job of manager at a remote hotel where the guests are not quite like you and me, accompanied by his daughter and the ghost of his wife--"a literary exploration of the roots of horror in the collective unconscious."

You may visit the Tem home on the web at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Irish TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
If a book blurb tells me a certain book is like a King, Kafka, and Poe nightmare wrapped up in 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 and for me, a dollop of the likes of Nabokov. 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 into. But then I just kind of threw myself into the superb writing and went along for the ride, and then I liked it and then I remembered the Kafka reference, and I liked it even more.

Deadfall Hotel may not be for everyone, but if you like really good, stylized writing on the gothic/horror side, you will adore and love it. It's about a man who has lost his wife in a fire and his name is Richard. He answers a rather obscure ad in the paper for a caretaker of a hotel and is interviewed by a man named, Jacob. Richard takes Serena, his young daughter who is on the brink of teenagerhood to live in this very interesting place, the Deadfall Hotel. It's vague and sometimes more nondescript than I would have liked, but nonetheless, the hotel is enchanting and scary in its own way. There are creatures and people who live or come to stay in the hotel who would rather stay to themselves and sometimes they do mix in with Jacob, and Richard who is learning the ropes, and Serena. The lines blur and come back into focus and things get stranger and stranger and then come back into focus and that's how I found this book throughout. I am also sure it's worth another read. If if gets confusing for you as a reader, have another sip of wine and keep reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Horror Novel Reviews on July 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Once in a blue moon you encounter a book you just can't seem to wrap your head around. Not to say that isn't a good thing, but Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem is one of these such books. It makes you think about every bit you read and you can obviously see the author has inserted his various personal and philosophical views. Some of which you may not agree with but it helps lend a creepy and thoughtful tone to this supernatural horror novel. Now when I say horror, I mean a very unique type of horror. While it is apparently horror, it still has a somewhat whimsical lilt to it that keeps you reading due to fantastical descriptions. Unfortunately, some of these descriptions can go on a little long because the author seems to have a penchant to wax poetic occasionally. One other thing to keep in mind, if you're like me, you like to have the reasons behind the horrors laid out and explained. You will not find this anywhere in this story. As long as you are aware of that and just sit back and enjoy the ride, this novel will be very entertaining.

Deadfall Hotel is an atrocity of a hotel. At three stories high there is no uniformity of it whatsoever. Angles of walls and chimneys meet in odd ways that don't seem possible in any geometry of physics. The hotel is more of a giant who fell stone dead and is splayed haphazardly than a building that any planning was put into constructing. As fitting for a hotel as this, it's guests are of an equally disturbing caliber. Residence is never refused to it's living (and less than alive) patrons. The hotel and its guests are taken care of the manager -- Jacob Ascher -- who is looking for a replacement. This is where Richard Carter and his daughter Serena come in.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jason Sean Ridler on September 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Steve was as mentor of mine, so I'm a tad biased. Then again, his reputation as a talented craftsman of short fiction is etched in stone. I'd only read one novel of his, co-written with his talented wife Melanie (also a mentor), but this was my first solo Steve Tem experience. And it was a joy, from first to last. A dark but often funny tale of a widower trying to overcome his grief while raising his daughter alone, where his own fears and dreams become the ghosts haunting the DEADFALL HOTEL where he works. There are scenes that will stay with me a long time, from the King of Cats episode to the terrifying discovery in the pool room . . . Anywho, if you like Neil Gaiman or Graham Joyce, good money says you'll like Steve's lovely haunted house novel. I know I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shiney on December 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
Deadfall Hotel is fantastic, whimsical and dark and beautiful. Imagine, if you will, spending a season in the Overlook Hotel, if it were peopled by the family from those Bradbury stories. For all his lyrical prose and stunningly surreal imagery, there is plenty of darkness and horror to be had.

Richard Carter and his young daughter, Serena, arrive at the hotel in the opening pages. They approach the front desk scarred and stained from recent tragedy. They are welcomed by Jacob, the current caretaker and the man who will “train” Richard as his successor. He will show him the ropes and rules to the hotel, a place where nothing is what it seems and even the most simple things can be dangerous.

Along Richard and Serena’s journey to accept and embrace their grief, we encounter a sinister old man and his lupine alter-ego, Dragon, the King of the Cats, disturbing housekeepers, and things that scuttle and bite. Meet the pool man, easily one of the most haunting characters I’ve read in some time.

Tem is quite masterful with his words. And even when the pacing and story become a bit slow, his language is hypnotic. The characters are rich and real. But the real star here is his cunning skill at presenting a feeling of loss and sadness. He has done this in several shorts I’ve read. The man can put that feeling of empty and sadness into words like no one else.

This is a novel about grief and what a heavy yoke it is to bear. About how it can be a many-faced monster that will devour your life, all aspects, right from under your nose.

It’s also about a creepy hotel with boarders who are not always human and not always nice. An utter joy to read.
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