This book is a well-connected web of stories involving a motel turned apartment’s amusing and provocative residents. At first, it reads like a collection of stories, each one from a different apartment but they quickly turn into the far-reaching stories of not just the residents, but the area and the “outside” lives of each character.
It was tough to have a favorite character as my heart went out to Angel and her predicament, but I was intrigued by Shane and Rebecca and their back story as well as – who was the brains in that plight? And what about Randy Showers – really isn’t the name enough for a weather guy turned Reverand? As for Bessie and Gabriel, I’m pretty sure they were my neighbors when I lived in Houston!
The quirky and unbelievable yet you know it has to be true “news” snippets at the beginning of each chapter put me in the mood for what I was going to discover each time.
This was a fun weekend read that has me totally rethinking my planned trip to Florida in August for the Indies BookFest – I obviously need to look for the real Florida!
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Tales from The Beach House is a satiric work of fiction that sharply captures the “Man-Bites-Dog” world of contemporary South Florida. The Beach House, a crumbling old motel, is home to a collection of eccentric residents. Amongst their ranks; a tennis pro at the end of his game, a mortuary scientist whose love life has flat-lined, a paparazzo photographer searching for scoops, a bawdy duo fronting an improbable Ponzi enterprise, a beauty from “The Islands” with a dark secret, a fried-out TV weather man who claims to channel God, a middle school principal with a soft spot for Crack, a Rod Stewart cover artist searching for redemption, and a waitress serving a side order of erotic fiction. Each member of this cohort is in search of something – fast money, an easy hustle, fleeting romance, enduring love, fame, power, dignity, happiness… a place they can call home. As well as facing their own tender, tragic, and often hilarious personal circumstances, this eclectic gang is compelled by necessity to band together when a sinister developer threatens the very existence of The Beach House.
Tales from The Beach House is carefully crafted in the spirit of Carl Hiaasen’s career-long deconstruction of South Florida. Each chapter focuses on one of The Beach House’s individual apartments. These standalone stories possess interwoven subplots reminiscent of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Paul Theroux’s Hotel Honolulu and Thornton Wilder’s classic novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Tales from The Beach House is written in a fast-paced tabloid style, reflecting both the author’s transatlantic sensibilities and his two-decade career in the rough and tumble trenches of celebrity journalism.
James Aylott was previously a Hollywood paparazzo photographer and staffer at an American supermarket tabloid. This is the author’s first work of fiction, although he was often creative in his career of entertainment newsgathering and hated letting the truth interfere with a good story. A prior resident of Berkeley, California, he is currently embedded in St. Louis, Missouri researching his follow up novel: Tales of Whiskey Tango from Misery Towers.