Grotesque Souls – A Novel Of Depravity: Liam Llewellyn
Reviewed by D.K. Hundt
Liam Llewellyn, who admittedly hates talking about himself, doesn’t write in a specific genre, instead choosing to ‘vacillate between genres and occasionally fusing them,’ which, in my opinion, can make for some interesting reading. Llewellyn has several novels to his credit, and those published by L.L. Press include Effusion, Most Unnatural, Days of Fury, Malice: The Rampage and Revelation of Marvin Heemeyer; a true-crime novel, Stuporheroes; a satire, and the book featured in this review, Grotesque Souls: A Novel of Depravity. I pride myself in trying not to reveal spoilers in my reviews, giving just enough to entice any potential reader, however, I feel the synopsis needs to include trigger warnings regarding the content, so if you don’t want certain parts of this book spoiled for you, I would kindly recommend not reading this review any further.
As many of you know, I am nothing but honest in my reviews, so I am going to come right out and say that the content of this novel is jarring, and that’s putting it mildly, however, Llewellyn can most definitely write a well-paced, suspenseful, though very dark and horrific, tale. From a technical point of view, I did notice a few spelling and punctuation errors, but it wasn’t to the extent that it pulled me out of the story. The synopsis of Grotesque Souls: A Novel of Depravity is why I chose to read and review this book, but, I feel it gives too much away about the plot and not enough description is provided about the disturbing acts within; described only as the ‘shocking history’ of the hotel, which may be overwhelming for many, understandably so. The trigger warnings I mentioned have to do with the behavior of some of the characters that include racist comments, domestic violence, and rape. The depravity in ‘Part One’ of the novel is meant to show causality regarding what takes place in ‘Part Two,’ specifically the mindset and behavior of some of the characters.
The Hotel New Mexico, where this story takes place, burned to the ground under mysterious circumstances in 1971, owned and operated at the time by the rich, racist, and masochist Martin Asher, who took pleasure in wielding power over his family, employees, and some of the guests at the hotel. By the 21st century, the hotel is rebuilt and is known to be one of the most haunted hotels in the world. The novel opens with the new owner of the hotel, cult horror movie icon Corbin Burke, who’s giving an interview to an eager reporter and horror fanatic, Abby Harper, about the history of the hotel and why Corbin makes the kind of movies he does. ‘I do know everything about this place. And it’s not a fun story, it’s not something you tell around a campfire while you roast s’mores,’ Corbin tells her. Hoping to write a book about the ‘esoteric director of horror films’ and the haunted hotel, Abby eagerly listens, but isn’t quite prepared for the truth, fleshed out in every horrific detail. After the interview, Abby retires to her room at the hotel where her best friend Georgia Cahill, who didn’t know about this little adventure until their arrival at the hotel, is waiting for her, and the night they have is most definitely eventful. The best way I can describe this book, without revealing too much, is to say that certain aspects of the narrative in the first half of the book reminds me of the movie I Spit on Your Grave II, and the second half, a bit of Wrong Turn and The Descent.
In closing, if my review or the synopsis of Grotesque Souls: A Novel of Depravity, sparked your interest, then, by all means, take a bite, and delve into the creative mind of the author – you may be surprised what you find lurking within.
Since burning down under mysterious circumstances in 1971, the Hotel New Mexico is reputed to be one of the most haunted hotels in the world. Which is what attracts horror junkie Abby and her friend, Georgia, to it one late snowy night. The hotel is under the ownership of cult horror movie icon Corbin Burke, and Abby wants to write a book about Burke, the hotel, and its shocking history. Soon after arriving, the hotel bares all: it’s certainly haunted, but not by ghosts or anything supernatural; by something far more horrifying.
D. K. Hundt is an American writer with a BA degree in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not writing contemporary fiction and horror/supernatural stories, she likes to spend her free time working as a volunteer in her community, being a minion for her cat Simon, warding off carnivorous spiders, and throwing herself into and around the dark alleyways of Stephen King novels in search of inspiration. D. K. resides in California with her husband, and she is currently working on a horror novel titled, Cheveyo–a story about a young boy who goes to live with his grandpa on a reservation, and soon discovers that the malevolent creatures that lurk in the Okanogan Forest aren’t the only deadly secret the locals are hiding.
You can follow D.K. on Twitter @DKHundt1
Please visit D.K.’s official website www.dkhundt.com