Think too hard about all the people who’ve slept in a hotel bed before you, and you might never go on holiday again. For the Addison family – Tonio, his wife Julia, their son Dewey, and his degenerate brother Robbie – there might not even be that option any more.
Stranded in a snowstorm near the out-of-the-way Idaho town of Good Night, they take shelter at the only hotel in town, the ominously unpunctuated Travelers Rest. They’re only planning to stay for one night, but time seems to have a different meaning in Good Night.
The setting is brilliantly evocative, though it’s initially hard to shake the feeling that you’re reading an unsanctioned sequel to The Shining. The strange hotel, with its maze-like corridors and lack of modern amenities, feels a lot like the Overlook, and a guest could go mad just as easily there.
But Morris manages to shake off those comparisons, creating a different kind of horror altogether. There are no ghouls here, no rotting women reaching up out of bathtubs – just the town, the snow, and an inexplicable evil leaking up from beneath the hotel’s foundations.
The prose is appropriately disorienting. His sentences are long and labyrinthine; they seem to reach up off the page, trying to drag the reader down into their depths. There’s a deep melancholy at its heart, a century-old tragedy that won’t stop playing out over and over again until the right person comes along to break the cycle.
Good Night’s motto is “All Dreams Are Real”, but what happens there is closer to a nightmare; one of the really nasty ones where you can’t wake up. It’s a stunning read – just not for reading late at night.