Author Casper Silk
Welcome to the Hotel Noir, peerless gem of hospitality and sole holder of a Michelin star on the island of St. Germaine. When the controversial American author Francis Stein is stabbed to death in the hotel’s environs, the search for his murderer takes islander Bat Manley north to the other half of Stein’s double life, south to St. Germaine’s vice-ridden slums, and finally into the realm of the psyche, where the blind see and the dead speak. A kaleidoscopic striptease of the human soul, Hotel Noir will make you sweat.Review: Several years ago, I made the long pilgrimage to Lido, Italy, a small island across from Venice, where the Hotel des Bains stands, timelessly wrapped by wooden verandas and famous for its association with author Thomas Mann and his novel, Death in Venice. Why am I telling you this? Because much like Gustav von Aschenbach, an aging writer who turns to Venice hoping for spiritual fulfillment, which leads ultimately to his demise, Silk's character, Francis Stein, also a writer, escapes to St. Germaine because the beat suits him. The parallels or likeness of the two stories are intriguing, and as this could be risky, given the classic works of Mann (and me being such a fan), I was elated to read on and impressed by the characterization and dimension of the story. From the opening page, I was captivated by the writing style and to prove my eagerness, I read forty percent of the book in a single sitting. I was not far into the book when I drew the comparison of Hotel Noir to Death in Venice. This time, the similarity to a classic novel ended with an affirmative nod instead of a ghastly shriek. St. Germaine, like Venice, is a decaying island plagued by an epidemic and both tales have male leads who become obsessed with exquisite, flawed and much younger characters. They question what is love, what is taboo, and are equivalently and beautifully doomed. Hotel Noir focuses on dignity and reputation, as well as: genre, social and economic inequality. It is a very well-written and studied work that I'd recommend for leisure, book club or comparative paper. It reads easily enough to hold interest, but yet, has layers of depth that can offer discussion and debate.