Published by Hammer
In the decade since his Booker-winning debut Vernon God Little, Pierre has produced two further novels to mixed reviews – and now this slim oddity for horror studio Hammer’s publishing arm.
Polish-American academic Ariel Panek, en route to an artificial intelligence conference in Amsterdam, is diverted by dire weather to an unappetising Suffolk hotel.
From there, he struggles to contact the lover waiting for him in Holland (poor signal has so fast become one of suspense fiction’s mainstays) while becoming enmeshed in the long-running dramas of the other residents.
The hotel setting has a certain queasy interest; it feels like the TV adaptation would star Toby Jones or the Psychoville team.
Alas, Pierre then tries to load it with implications of some greater significance, deploying recurrent but disjointed musings on connectivity, quantum mechanics and game theory.
This is weight the fairly predictable story can hardly sustain. Ultimately, a curious misfire.