“Whatever this place was, it was special. Why did he get drawn in?”
Now, we come possibly to my own most self-involved story of all! It follows almost the exact profile of my own younger life. Nathan was in accountancy, me in insurance, I always carried a so-called ‘outdated’ photo of my wife and kids in my wallet (still do) and I spent much of my time going to hotels for business conferences and other business meetings, even examples of the so-called ‘outdated’ hotel in this work, and the ‘occasional shattered city’ And in those days I read much compelling fiction in plain-spoken style as this one, stories with exciting horrors on the front cover, and I later expanded into the carnivals of Ligotti etc. The rest is history. I left the “dull” and the humdrum behind and entered the hall of mirrors where I still live, reflecting the works I read. This story itself is engaging and page-turning, as I follow Nathan into the hotel with the evocatively described hotel’s Under Carnival, complete with smells, into which he is tempted as I was. And likewise glimpsing his grey-suited colleagues of yore just like mine were destined to become in memoriam! Did I say plain-spoken above? Well, yes, mainly so, except for items such as an “organoleptic feast”!
“The man was clearly kind and dull. You don’t know that. He could be a serial killer.”
Full context of this review: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/06/10/vastarien-vol-5-issue-1/