The Hyde Hotel anthology, edited by James Everington and Dan Howarth, was published by Black Shuck Books in 2015. Each story is set inside the eerie environs of the Hyde Hotel where dark things have a habit of manifesting. While I enjoyed all these stories, my favorite were: “The View From the Basement” by Alison Littlewood, “Lost and Found” by S.P. Miskowski, “Something Like Blood” by Alex Davis, “The Blue Room” by V. H. Leslie, and “The Wrath of the Deep” by Simon Bestwick. When taken together as a whole, the two bookend stories “Checking In” and “Checking Out” by editor James Everington are also very strong.
- “Checking In” by James Everington (2015) – Told in second person point of view, “you” are the focus of this story, as you struggle to locate the Hyde Hotel where you’re to spend the night. Everyone you talk to seems to think it’s in a different location with differing descriptions as to its appearance. Once you do find it, you discover it’s full of strange sounds and smells.
- “The View From The Basement” by Alison Littlewood (2015) – A traveling salesman takes his first vacation without his regimented wife, having booked himself into a room at a seedy, no-frills place called The Hyde Hotel. He loves the freedom of being able to make all his own decisions. Rather quickly, he’s moved from his originally room to a smaller, bleaker one in the basement. Several subtle things seem to change with regularity inside the hotel, and something isn’t quite right. This is a very well written, spooky tale.
- “Night Porters” by Iain Rowan (2015) – A lonely man stays at The Hyde Hotel for a week to do presentations for a conference. The pattern in the carpeting seem to spell words he can’t make out and the old night porter who makes him drinks each night alternates between remembering and forgetting him.
- “Tick Box” by Dan Howarth (2015) – An aging professional hit man takes a room in The Hyde Hotel for a job and finds he’s been in the crosshairs of someone else in this crime story.
- “The Edifice of Dust” by Amelia Mangan (2015) – A famous architect retreats to the Hyde Hotel to hide from friends, family and society after one of the buildings she designed collapses, injuring many. While there, she loses herself in studying the blueprints of the Hyde while forming a psychic bond with the place’s everpresent dust.
- “Lost and Found” by S.P. Miskowski (2015) – A woman travels to The Hyde Hotel and checks into the two rooms in which her favorite author spent time when she was alive. This author produced only three thin books and has since been largely forgotten by the general public. The woman spends her time visiting places that were important to her idol and begins to feel the same despaire she did. I like stories about lost or forgotten books and\or authors, so I really enjoyed this one.
- “Housekeeping” by Ray Cluley (2015) – A recently hired hotel maid finds a note under the door from the occupant of a room she’s about to clean warning her that the he’s killed himself inside and that she should not enter but get her managerinstead. She enters anyway.
- “Something Like Blood” by Alex Davis (2015) – A man checks into the Hyde Hotel in order to hide out for a bit. He finds himself instantly attracted to his young waitress and to his maid as well. Although each claims otherwise, he’s convinced they are the same woman. Blood is found in his room’s shower and later in his bed as this mystery unfolds around him.
- “The Coyote Corporations Misplaced Song” by Cate Gardner (2015) – A deranged, child-fearing man takes refuge with his cartoonish bomb named Lullaby in a room of The Hyde Hotel.
- “The Wrath of the Deep” by Simon Bestwick (2015) – A cop turned hit-man, who’s been laying low at The Hyde Hotel, is contacted by his powerful crime lord boss and told he needs to kill another person who’s also staying there in exchange for a new identity far away. He’s tasked with killing an elderly professor to whom the crime lord gave money in exchange for finding and bringing him an ancient, lost medallion. Upon doing so, he takes possession of the medallion which he discovers possesses a sardonic intellect, as well as deadly powers. There’s some dark humor involved in this fun, enjoyable read.
- “The Sealed Window” by Mark West (2015) – A man who hates the bustle of the city is sent there by his job for a conference. They’ve booked him into The Hyde Hotel where he spends a horrible evening as the heat in his room boils out of control, and he finds himself unable to open the window for fresh air. This is made even worse by the excessively loud noise of the couple next door’s aggressive lovemaking. Perhaps something terrible from his is past is catching up with him.
- “The Blue Room” by V. H. Leslie (2015) – A depressed woman staying alone at The Hyde Hotel is given a room that is completely blue from top to bottom, this includes everything contained inside it. She begins seeing pale women about the area, some out her room window surrounded by crows, some manifesting inside her room. When she mentions to employees of the hotel about her blue room, they don’t seem to know what she’s talking about. This is an effective tale of melancholy horror.
- “Checking Out” by James Everington (2015) – You wake up in the bed of your room after spending the night in the Hyde Hotel. You don’t feel well, having slept restlessly in the peculiar place. After checking out, you have an odd encounter with someone on the street who’s asking for directions to the Hyde.
Amazon U.K.: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1522801138/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=1522801138&linkCode=as2&tag=greabrithor06-21&linkId=edf333a458b782b3f0d7182d494366b2
Article by Matt Cowan