do tell hotel

Review of Carl Watson's "The Hotel of Irrevocable Acts" by Kevin Riodan

Do Tell HotelReview by Kevin Riordan

To read Carl Watson’s novel is to put on a pair of X-Ray glasses that do not stop at the skin, but go on to eviscerate instead of titillate, the literary equivalent of the Swedish film Travis Bickle takes his date to. From the first line, I thought I had a handle to grasp this book first published in French a decade ago: a new Jim Thompson, whose first person anti-confessionals were cherished in France and nearly neglected here, like so many other tough paperback original authors, like David Goodis, Chester Himes, or Charles Williams. This contrarian thwarted and eluded that grasp in no time. The book is as free of cliché as it is of guideposts, as he resolutely qualifies every line that might put things in the light, until, like diamonds in a seam of coal, he plants a gem of faceted brilliance[...]