I was rather excited when I picked up this book as I expected a very suspenseful and frightening read. Unfortunately, Room 33 did not live up to my expectations. The characters were likable, yet their relationships seemed forced. In fact, the whole suspense plotline seemed rather forced and incompletely drawn. Still, the book manages some refreshing moments due to a unique plotline and interesting, non-perfect characters.
The Hotel Philip has had its share of creepy doom. Since it opened in the 1930s, multiple visitors have been injured or died within its walls. This horror has revolved around one particular place – room 33 – and once again, things are starting to lurk within its dilapidated walls. Is the supernatural involved or is it something much more tangible? Strangely, no one really knows. Though very few people want anything to do with the rather empty hotel, a few, however, will do anything (including murder) to get their hands on the building.
Joy Cole has had little but heartbreak from her mother Lana. Joy never quite forgave her mother from tearing her away from her dying father’s side, and when Lana went from one wealthy man to another, Joy learned of her mother’s true nature. As an adult, Joy wants nothing to do with the woman who gave birth to her, but when her stepfather dies, her life changes drastically. Joy is shocked when she finds out that her stepfather left her the Hotel Philip and his wife, Joy’s mother, nothing. Suddenly, Joy finds herself in charge of her mother’s finances and deeply involved in the woman’s life. There is a way out, though. Joy can sell the hotel to her mother’s boyfriend, go on with her life, and get as far away as possible from the woman who has brought her only heartache.
Wade certainly did not expect to inherit the Hotel Philip when his estranged father died. He is shocked, however, when Joy shows up, and even more surprised when he finds out that his father left her the hotel. Wade is instantly attracted to Joy, yet he cannot get over how much she looks like her mother, a woman he blames for his disinheritance. Yet, the more he is around Joy, the more he realizes that she is the exact opposite of her mother. Even though he is attracted to Joy, he will not let that attraction interfere with his intense desire to own the hotel opened by his grandfather. He intends on starting a new life as the hotel owner, but Joy is being difficult about selling the building.
Joy has a few options: Either keep the hotel and finally have a home of her own, sell the hotel to Wade, or sell the hotel to her mother’s boy-toy. The best thing to do would be to sell it to her mother’s boyfriend so her her mother would be financially secure and Joy free to leave. But she cannot get over the feeling of belonging she gets when she is in the hotel, or her desire to be around Wade. The decision becomes rather simple, but then strange things began to happen. Could the rumors be true – is the hotel cursed? Or is there something or someone much more concrete and close by causing the problems in the building? When the few occupants of the hotel begin to disappear, Joy realizes she just may be in over her head.
There is a sense of fear and dread that Sheedy portrays in her writing, as well as an angst that makes the reader keep on turning the pages. Yet, there was not a whole lot of mystery to the book and no real, genuine surprise. We learn early on what the evil is in the hotel, which was rather disappointing since the character behind all of this malevolence was just not quite believable. I expected something much more complex and inexplicable. There is a bit of surprise as to why the horrible events are happening, but this explanation seemed artificial. The characters were interesting, but did not quite match up together. In other words, I didn’t quite believe their attraction. There were too many times when the characters did things that baffled me. For instance, I did not quite understand why the police were rarely called, even when people start disappearing from the hotel.
With all that said, this is a fast-paced and somewhat different romantic suspense novel. The characters who inhabit the book are different from the norm as well. If Sheedy works on creating more believably chemistry and improving the “reality” of her suspense, I’d definitely read her again.