Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove where it is my absolute pleasure to share with you an extract from Upstairs at the Beresford! Check out my review here if you missed it the first time around, but the long and short of it is, is that I had the absolute best time with Upstairs at the Beresford! A speculative thriller with horror influences, drama and possibly the closest Will Carver has ever come to romance in his books, I devoured it and I would highly recommend it.
Many thanks to Anne Cater for having me on the tour, and to Orenda Books for the excerpt.
Let’s have a quick look at the blurb first:
A grand old building, just outside the city, where any soul is welcome, and strange goings-on mask explosive, deadly secrets. A chilling, darkly funny sequel to Will Carver’s bestselling The Beresford …
There are worse places than hell…
Hotel Beresford is a grand, old building, just outside the city. And any soul is welcome. Danielle Ortega works nights, singing at whatever dive bar will offer her a gig. She gets by, keeping to herself. Sam Walker gambles and drinks, and can’ t keep his hands to himself. Now he’s tied up in a shoe closet with a dent in his head that matches Danielle’ s broken ashtray. The man in 731 has been dead for two days and his dog has not stopped barking. Two doors down, the couple who always smokes on the window ledge will mysteriously fall. Upstairs, in the penthouse, Mr Balliol sees it all. He can peer into every crevice of every floor of the hotel from his screen-filled suite. He witnesses humanity and inhumanity in all its loneliness, passion and desperation in equal measure. All the ingredients he needs to make a deal. When Danielle returns home one night to find Sam gone, a series of sinister events begins to unfold. But strange things often occur at Hotel Beresford, and many are only a distraction to hide something much, much darker…
Okay! Are you ready to check in at the Beresford? Let’s go!
If something is going to get swept under the carpet or a bloodstained sheet is going to be bleached or burned, the order will come from downstairs. At reception.
And it will come from Carol.
The entrance to Hotel Beresford is art deco. Strict lines, geometry and arches showing cubist influence. The monochrome carpet screams elegance as it leads towards the desk that stretches the length of one wall, marble with chrome embellishments. Or, at least, it once looked that way. Back when writers and poets and dignitaries roamed the hallways and foyer.
It still feels lavish. Glamorous, even. But faded. And a little old fashioned. Peeling paint and faded hopes.
Much like Carol.
Carol seems to age with the building. For every strip of wallpaper that gets ripped or falls away, Carol gets another wrinkle. When the front facade gets uplifted with a new paint job or some detail on the masonry, Carol turns up with a Botoxed forehead or facelift.
But not from a reputable surgeon. From somebody she saw advertising in the back of a magazine. Inexpensive treatments. The kind who has a clinic beneath a bridge that leads into the city. He’s got a reputation for double-bubble deformities with breast augmentation and there are a hundred guys knocking up their mistresses because the quick vasectomy they sprung for didn’t quite take.
A real hatchet job. Much like Carol, herself. You can see that she once possessed a natural beauty, probably entered pageants as a kid, but now she looks like Mickey Rourke in a skirt.
There’s no point trying to pinpoint her age. Some joke that she was born in the building. Others say she was found in the Beresford foundations. The smarter ones know that either of those could be true and it’s best not to fuck around with Carol.
She knows things.
Maybe she knows everything.
‘Complaint from the seventh floor. A dog barking. Non-stop, apparently,’ one of the receptionists alerts Carol.
‘How did somebody get a dog in here?’ Carol knows that guests get all sorts into the building. She damn well knows how it got in here, either through a fire-exit door that should set off an alarm but never does, or straight through the front door while her back was turned and other staff members let the mutt walk right by without giving a shit.
She’s saying it for the new girl. She’s young and enthusiastic and hasn’t been beaten down by the job that Carol once loved. The receptionist that passed on the message has been here almost as long as Carol has. Keith. In his fifties. Bald. Effeminate. Always wears a neckerchief, for some reason. When he started out, he spoke with a stutter but that’s all but disappeared over the years. If ever he feels that tongue getting tied, he starts to sing.
Guests love him.
Carol wouldn’t mind if he took a few days off or toned it down ten percent.
Nobody answers Carol’s question.
‘What room is this dog in?’
‘Um…’ Keith taps at the computer keyboard, hitting the return key with a flamboyance usually reserved for bullfighters. ‘731.’
‘Okay. Can you call security to go up there and see what’s up with this dog? Jerry is due to leave today, anyway.’ She looks at her watch. ‘Tell him he’s got an hour and they both need to get out. Send them down the back stairs.’
Want to know what happened in room 731? Of course you do! Upstairs at the Beresford is out now! Order it directly from Orenda Books here.