released 7 January 368 pages | Hardback/ebook Author Keith lee Morris Publisher Weidenfeld & nicolson
It sounds like an urban legend. There’s this family – the Addisons. They’re driving across America but are caught out in a snowstorm. They decide to shelter in a small town, the ominously-named Good Night (it may as well have “You’ll never leave” on the welcome sign), where they check into a motel. Bad move – they’re immediately separated and find themselves trapped in its limbo-like corridors.
The blurb references David Lynch, but Travelers Rest is more Wayward Pines than Twin Peaks. There’s precious little cherry pie and charm here, just a lingering sense of foreboding. The Shining is a clear influence, not least because of its young protagonist, Dewey, who is quick to pick up on the weirdness. But while Keith Lee Morris’s prose has a hypnotic rhythm that perfectly captures the uncanny ambience, his characters’ frustrations come to reflect the reader’s – the book spends too long feeling like it’s going nowhere, and you tire of people staring out of the window and commenting on the weather.
It’s a shame, as Morris’s characters are well-developed and it’s all building towards a satisfying conclusion. An ultimately rewarding, if sometimes arduous, journey. Will Salmon