The Way Inn
Author: Will Wiles
ISBN 10: 0007545541
Imprint: Fourth Estate
On Sale: 15/01/2015
Welcome to Way Inn. A generic mid-range hotel chain. You know the type. We’ve all been there at some stage. A business conference. An airport stopover. Designed with the customer in mind.
Or at least that what they want you to think.
Neil Double loves these places. So much that he has taken a job as conference surrogate. Attending conferences so you don’t have to. Recording and reporting the information you need without the work and drudgery of actually attending, all for a handsome fee.
This particular Way Inn is the newest, built adjacent to a brand new state of the art conference facility (cheekily called the MetaCentre). As Double settles in for his stay, familiar faces emerge from his travels – a pretty female traveller who’s name he still can’t get right, an annoying but generally harmless journalist, and a strange red-haired woman he once encountered at another Way Inn in Qatar.
Things quickly start to unravel for Neil, as his formerly anonymous status is discovered by the organisers, none too happy at his particular talents reducing their customer base. At the same time, he begins to notice strange occurrences within the hotel that will alter his perception of reality forever.
Wiles perfectly conveys the clinical, disposable nature of the major hotel chain with cleverly constructed scenes, but it’s also a fascinating study of our relationship as humans to the space around us, our need to expand and fill every empty space we see and our reaction when the reality of this space is compromised. Each set piece fuses the often grim reality of the corporate rat race with smart and witty moments but it’s the scenes where something extraordinary begins to occur within an environment so seemingly ordinary that the author manages to disarm the reader and make them feel uncomfortable in an environment where comfort should be paramount.
As the plot develops and Neil discovers the true nature of the Way Inn, the Inner Hotel, things take an almost Doctor Who-ish turn when a sinister character appears and he is thrown into a situation he could never have imagined, which is when The Way Inn comes into its own.
Darkly funny, with nods to everything from The Office to The Shining, The Way Inn is a spellbinding supernatural romp, which benefits from keeping one foot firmly stuck in reality while leaving the other to its own devices, with chilling results.
4 out of 5 Nerds