Book Review: Security (Gina Wohlsdorf)

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Manderly Resort, a luxury hotel by the ocean, is buzzing with excitement. Their opening day is tomorrow and there is still a lot of work to be done. The housekeepers are running room-to-room, cleaning up stains and buffing the marble floors. The cook is working diligently on preparing his opening night meal. The hotel manager is organizing staff and ensuring no detail is left. And a psychopathic, mask-wearing killer is on the loose to slaughter them all…

Where do I even start with Security by Gina Wohlsdorf?

This novel was completely different from any novel I have ever read.

Initially,  I had a very hard time getting into this one. However, it’s creative, cunning and downright inventive narrative path kept me coming back for more.  I am glad that I kept reading this one because it is a doozy.

The novel opens, as most do, with business as usual, the night before a grand hotel opening.   The Manderly Hotel is state of the art with its complex design and excitedly awaiting their debut. Soon, a killer is moving swiftly through the hotel, taking out its members one by one.  Systematically, violently and without any hesitation.

Wohlsdorf has some completely original moments within this book. For starters, the novel has flashes where the narrative text is split down the middle; this is meant to mirror the multiple security cameras in the resort. As you read one side, and then the other, you are shown multiple events happening in the hotel at the same time.   Someone could be being brutally murdered on one floor, while someone is cleaning a bathroom on another. This was one of the most intriguing features of the book; I loved being able to see the multiple perspectives. This tactic also became quite eerie.   This also comes into play with the naming of the chapters; each chapter is named based on which security camera it is following. That chapter will focus on all the events going on in the hotel through those specific lenses. This is kind of hard to understand at first but once you get a hang of it, you appreciate it for its originality. And it’s downright cool.

The narrator is an omniscient narrator. The voice comes across as “Big Brother” type- something right out of 1984.   Initially, it is not made clear who he is, whether he is in on the killings or whether he is, simply, a victim himself.   What we do know for sure, is that he is privy to watch all of the action in the hotel unfold through the security cameras. Whether or not he is enjoying it, is a completely separate issue. His narrative voice is detached and cold; he seems not bothered by the gore that he is watching on camera. This is one of the most disconcerting parts of the novel.

This book will not be everyone. For starters, it is kind of hard to follow; the narration is extremely disjointed (on purpose) but the story will not follow any sort of linear path. It jumps rampantly.  One moment, you are looking through one lens and then it jumps back through the lens of another camera.  Even with the warning of which cameras it is following, it still was a little difficult. I feel like it would have been more pleasing to have the multiple views told strictly in the side by side panels instead of mixed into the body of the text.    It also moved rather quickly, the first people were already being murdered before I even had a chance to know who they were!

If you want a novel you can read absently and straightforward, you will not like this novel at all. This one will not allow you to be a complacent reader.  However, if you want something more complex and original, then add this one to your list.  You may also love this novel if you are a fan of slasher movies.  This novel sort of reads like one!

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Security (Gina Wohlsdorf)

  1. Kat says:

    I’ve been meaning to get a copy of this title, as it sounds too good to pass up. Sadly I’ll probably have to wait till Xmas, as last I checked it was quite expensive. Still, hopefully it’ll be worth it!

    Like

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