A disturbed girl takes a night job in a notoriously haunted hotel with disastrous results.
Sixteen-year-old Noelle has spent her childhood taking care of her despised, morbidly obese, chronically ill father. To escape, she accepts a job at The Boy Meets Girl Inn, site of a famous mass murder and, local residents believe, massively haunted. Hogarth tells most of the story through Noelle’s diary, which, after Noelle’s death in the 1990s, falls into the hands of a movie producer who intends to make a whole series of fright films based on it. Noelle endows the diary with life and speaks to it as another character. Readers see her increasingly unhinged writing, punctuated by several fugue-state entries in which she appears to interact with the local ghosts and torture a cat, although these episodes may be completely imaginary. The author paints Noelle as the mother of all unreliable narrators, allowing readers to make up their own minds about her possible guilt. Could she actually have killed herself by hitting herself in the head with a pickax as the diary strongly implies? That possibility, the gruesome murders involving cannibalism, and the cat-torture scenes make this book disturbing enough to contend with serious horror novels. The annotations in the diary by the producer lend the book a nice psychological verisimilitude.
Highly frightening and effective. (Horror. 14-18)