Hotel Arcadia – Sunny Singh
Sam is a war photographer famous for her hauntingly beautiful pictures of the dead. After a particularly gruelling assignment, she checks into an expensive hotel. Unfortunately she has chosen the exact moment terrorists attack the hotel.
Abhi, the hotel manager, begs her to stay quiet and stay put. Abhi has never wanted to be a hero; a disappointment to his army father and brother. He thought he’d come to a safe haven at the hotel, a place where he could be himself. Now stuck inside the sealed-off manager’s office in the middle of a terrorist attack, he is desperately trying to keep those still alive safe. His lover Dieter is amongst the hostages in the bar and the photographer Sam, refusing to stay in her room, is roaming through the hotel taking pictures, potentially coming face to face with the terrorists at any moment.
My thanks to Sunny for a review copy of her beautiful book.
Hotel Arcadia is a tense read. From the outset the two key players, Sam and Abhi are in constant danger of being discovered and killed by the terrorists that have taken over the luxury Hotel Arcadia.
We read of guests gunned down in cold blood and explosives being rigged around the hotel to prevent the security forces storming the building. The guests that were fortunate to escape the initial attack have locked themselves in their rooms hiding from the terrorists that roam the corridors leaving carnage in their wake.
Sam is a war photographer who has experienced the worst of humanity, capturing images of the victims of atrocities around the world. She is relaxing at Hotel Arcadia when the attack hits. Using the skills learned in combat zones Sam will leave the confines of her room to capture the images of death within the luxurious slaughterhouse.
Abhi is a hotel employee. He has access to the security cameras within the hotel and can contact any of the guests hidden in the rooms to provide reassurance and keep them informed of the ongoing danger. Abhi can also communicate with the security forces assembling outside the hotel and keep them appraised of the makeshift defences the gunmen are building (and update them with news of further deaths).
Sam and Abhi are in contact with each other and Abhi can give Sam some guidance as to when it may be safe to leave her room, where the gunmen are within the building and also guide her towards food. However, Abhi also wants a favour from Sam and it is one which will cut him to the core to ask for.
This is an outstanding read, the juxtaposition of war zone and luxury hotel creates such powerful images. I loved the tension that Sunny Singh generated each time Sam left the safety of her room it had me frantically flicking the pages urging her to get her back to safety.
A gripping, thoughtful read and one that will remain long in my memory.
Hotel Arcadia is published by Quartet Books and is available now in Hardback and digital format
Sunny Singh is on Twitter: @sunnysingh_nw3
And online at http://www.sunnysingh.net/