Review: The Way Inn

The Way InnThe Way Inn
By Will Wiles
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062336101, September 2014, 352pp.)

The Short of It:

Very strange, often clever but surreal story about a guy and a hotel.

The Rest of It:

What I said above sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? But that’s really what the story is about. Neil Double is a conference surrogate. His job is to attend conferences on your behalf. Why spend money and time to send your employees all over the country for these things, when you can pay one guy to do it for you? That’s Neil. He reminded me a lot of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. He’s very precise and wants things to be a certain way and he loves hotels. More than the average person and definitely more than the conference goers who normally attend these events.

This time, he is staying at The Way Inn, which is a hotel chain that he is very familiar with but there is something very strange about this particular hotel. The corridors seem oddly familiar and yet new and every once in awhile, his key card fails to work and it almost seems as if his hotel room appears in two different places. As you can see, it’s a little bit surreal once you get into the meat of the story and I think some readers might be turned off by it. However, I think the cleverness outweighed the other elements and although I did lose a little interest when I realized where the story was going, I still thought it was a pretty clever story idea.

There are some other characters that add interest. The conference head who realizes what Neal is doing and tries to put a stop to it. There is also a strange woman who keeps showing up and Neal is absolutely sure he’s seen her before. So along with the surreal stuff, there is a tiny bit of mystery as well.

Would I recommend it? I would, if you don’t mind a lot of mundane details. You see, I am a little anal and highly sensitive to noise and smells and  lots of other things these days so the highly descriptive parts about the hotel itself were fascinating to me. I can see others being bored by them though. Also, I am not sure the majority of you would buy into the surreal aspect of the story but it was a quick read and I found it entertaining. Just know, that’s it’s clever but may not be for everyone.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

14 thoughts on “Review: The Way Inn”

    1. I think I did enjoy it more. I did do an eye roll when the magical hokie pokie was going on but overall, I thought it was clever but could have been executed a little better. I give him credit for being different.


  1. Sounds just my sort of thing. I wasn’t greatly impressed by his last (Care of Wooden Floors) but this sounds intriguing.

  2. I continue to see this book pop up with…as you said earlier…really mixed thoughts…I am totally unsure about it…I like everything about it except for the main character being hired to attend conferences…that is what is offsetting to me…

    1. It’s a very strange book but I kind of liked it even though it didn’t quite hold up all the way through. I don’t think it would be good to listen to though. I could be wrong but I enjoyed it in print. I think on audio it would be hard to follow maybe.


  3. I really like the cover of this one….And I agree with Diane, it does remind me a bit of The Shining. Sounds like this guy is very anal. It might be interesting to check out.

    1. That cover, and long hotel hallways in general always remind me of The Shining. I need to watch it this weekend. I am sick as a dog and just want to hang out but I have a bake sale at the pumpkin patch that I may or may not work, and a set build for choir.

      This guy is anal but I liked him. He’s logical in his rantings.


  4. I read another review (or maybe it was my reading your review twice–once this morning before I was fully awake and now) of this one today.

    It’s an interesting premise and I’m curious, but I’m still on the fence.

    (The more I think about it, the more I think it was someone else’s review–I remember bullet points being used).

  5. That cover sure catches my attention. Interesting concept but not sure if I’ll like it, though. Will think about this one.

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