For a weekly writing exercise cranked out through a blog, Hotel Flamingo is a terrific work. Comprising twenty-two short-short vignettes about a host of loners, losers, monsters and quite a few janitorial workers whose strange paths intersect at the eponymous hotel, this is a creepy and imaginative piece of weird urban fantasy.
Tracing a hurried, almost desperate path from one haunted, ruined or just plain odd character to the next, these interconnected anecdotes recall the oppressive weirdness of Johnathon Tweet’s Over The Edge roleplaying game or Grant Morrison’s groundbreaking surrealist run on the Doom Patrol comic. The Hotel Flamingo would not be remotely out of place in either work, which I hope comes across as the high praise intended.
Author Patrick O’Duffy has a breezy, assured narrative voice that’s as effective describing a character’s crushing loneliness, his deranged inspirations and her existential befuddlement as it is at suggesting the horrific alien architecture lurking just behind the curtains (most of the time) in the story. That he has also constructed an intricate and complex tale from just a few slivers of detail is remarkable. If I have one complaint, it’s that this collection is too easy to consume in a single serving, and I have an appetite for more. I don’t imagine that O’Duffy intends to revisit this setting, but I would happily accept another fat slice of Flamingo.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)