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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-29
- Reviewer: Staff
Wohlsdorf’s debut thriller plays out on a bank of surveillance monitors in what was thought to be a state-of-the-art security stronghold at the luxe beachfront Manderley Resort in Santa Barbara, California. With its grand opening approaching, the 20-story hotel has been breached by a pair of assassins, who are planning to close off all exits and slaughter, in as grisly a way as possible, the staffers readying the hotel for its debut. Initially, all we know about the narrator is that he’s probably responsible for the resort’s security and is staring at the monitors, witnessing the horror unfold. Reader Villa, given these very bare bones by Wohlsdorf, creates an articulate young man with amazing sangfroid who can segue, without losing a beat, from a monitor image of the hotel’s manager, Tessa, making love with motocross star Brian, to another monitor where an assassin is stabbing, mutilating, and beheading a housemaid. There’s a droll quality to Villa’s delivery that adds to the novel’s flashes of dark humor. And he’s very effective in concocting voices for the staff, including a despotic intemperate French chef, wisecracking electricians, and a thuggish worker who may have compromised the hotel. The narrator’s cool dissolves until, eventually, he sounds totally caught up in their suspenseful struggle. Listeners will be, too. An Algonquin hardcover. (June)