Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Way Inn; Will WIles


The Way Inn; Will Wiles
Harper - 2014

The Way Inn, is a strange book,  yet in some ways very entertaining.  Neil Double’s job is a “conference surrogate,” someone hired companies to attend trade shows and conferences in their place.  It’s all done on the cheap – cheap travel, cheap accommodations, but hey he makes a living. 

For a fee, Neil does what many professionals hate doing. Schmoozing, attending presentations and meeting and living out of a suitcase.  He has plenty of work, and he’s a rare bird who enjoys staying in hotels. Up to this point "The Way Inn” is a chain of budget-friendly hotels that makes his travel experience enjoyable.  Every room from pictures on the way, placement of furniture, position of toiletries is exactly the same.  As a travel bonus he often meets desirable women who seem to enjoy a one-night stand here and there. Life is good and Neil finds comfort in predictable.

Yet for Neil, his latest assignment – a conference for conference organizers is about to change him in unexpected ways.  When he meets Dee, a mysterious and elusive red-headed woman at the bar, she tells Neil that she is photographing every single picture hanging on the walls of the hotel, and in the blink of then eye she is gone. Once Neil’s cover as “surrogate” is blown, he’s banned from further conferences and his access cards voided. Neil’s hotel experience this time will be more like a mouse trying to escape an elaborate maze.

I am not sure what to make of this book, and while I loved the author’s first book, The Care of Wooden Floors, this book left me perplexed.  The book is divided into three parts: The Conference; The Hotel and The Inner Hotel. There are only three characters to speak of in this novel -  Neil,  Dee, the red-head,  and the hotel manager. None of the characters left an impression.  While there is some humor to be had and even elements of tension and fear at times,  I never felt invested in the story.  To me for the most part if felt like a confusing romp down the rabbit hole. I often felt like I was watching an episode of the Twilight Zone (although those segments I generally get).

2.5/5 stars (review copy)

19 comments:

  1. I was really excited about this one, but felt pretty similar. I actually think this is one of those books that would have made a fantastic movie, but just didn't come across quite right without all of the visual tie-in.

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    1. Shannon -- you are right about that. I wonder if the author has written any screenplays?

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  2. Aw, too bad because I've been drawn to that cover.

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  3. That does sound a wee bit strange.

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  4. Hmmm. I sense your frustration, but for some odd reason I'm drawn to this book and may investigate it further. Maybe it's the hypnotic maze-like cover, lol.

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  5. What an interesting premise. It's too bad it wasn't better though. :-(

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  6. I think my review for this one posts tomorrow. Anyway, I liked the first half a lot. But as soon as I realized where the story was going, I was like, what? I am not a fan of magical realism or anything like but I do like alternate realities so although it did fall apart at the end, I still thought it was entertaining.

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    1. Ti, I'll be anxious to read your thoughts. As another reader stated, this might have made a better movie:)

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  7. It's funny, I liked the cover too but will probably give this one a miss. I am reading Louise Penny's latest book, A Long Way Home. Not sure what I think of it yet.

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    1. I love Louise Penny and the Inspector Gamache series --enjoy Denise

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  8. Sounds absolutely bizarre! Though maybe it would make a better movie than book. The cover reminds me of The Shining for some reason--though for me attending conferences is horror! ;)

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    1. The Shining is what I thought of immediately when I saw that cover.

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  9. Such a shame that this one didn't live up to your previous read by this author. I'm not sure I would like it either - better luck with your next read.

    http://cleopatralovesbooks.wordpress.com

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  10. Opinions are all over the place on this one. At first I thought I would like it but now I'm not so sure. I'm thinking library book - that way I won't feel bad if I give up and not review it!

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