Horror Hotel by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren

Trigger Warning: This book is centered around ghosts and psychic/mediums. This book also includes a murder with a description of gore. There is some minor drug use and mentions of the occult. If these are triggers for you, read at your own discretion.

Hello friends! When I originally saw the cover for this book, it reminded me of The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James. As I got farther in, it reminded me of Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz. If you enjoyed either of these books, this one should be right up your alley.

When Chase discovers that Chrissy is a psychic, he creates a YouTube channel called the Ghost Gang. Comprised of Chrissy, Chase, Kiki, and Emmaline, the group decides to go to the Hearst Hotel to do an investigation. Pretty quickly into their investigation, Chrissy meets Bram, a fellow psychic. She begins to gravitate to him because he has the ability to quiet the spirits that surround them, a skill Chrissy has not mastered.

When investigating, the gang finds a dead body. When they try to find help in the hotel, the body magically seems to disappear. But when they discover another one, they need to figure out what is going on before they are next.

Okay, for anyone who is interested, this book is heavily inspired by Elisa Lam and the Cecil Hotel. I am not going to go into a lot of detail into the case (there is a Netflix docuseries called Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel or a personal favorite, Buzzfeed Unsolved that could do that for you), but here is the Cliffnotes version. Elisa Lam traveled to the Cecil Hotel where she stayed in the hostel within the hotel. While there, she stopped taking her medications, causing her bipolar disorder to go unchecked. She ended up disappearing, only for her body to show up in a water tank weeks later. While conspiracy theorists believe that paranormal activity was the reason for her death, the official cause of death was accidental drowning caused by untreated bipolar disorder.

In this book, we focus on the paranormal conspiracy theory instead of the mental health disorder. Which is fine, I get it. It’s an interesting idea. But I’m unbelievably disappointed that it follows so much of the Elisa Lam story. I understand that there is some original story, and I think that the writing is so well done, but the entire time I was reading through it, I kept saying to myself “Oh, so like Elisa Lam” which I shouldn’t be able to say multiple times. I want to be left with the overall feeling like it is like the story, not specific details. And can I just say, it kills me that this book is so unoriginal. But the cover though. That cover artist deserves a raise.

While I enjoyed this novel, I feel like I can’t give this one a high rating. I think I would give this a 3.5 rating, while I would give the cover art a 10,000 rating.

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