Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Secrets of the Greaser Hotel-J. Scott Fuqua

The Secrets of the Greaser Hotel
J. Scott Fuqua
Bancroft Press, Aug 15 2014, $25.00
ISBN: 9781610881302

At one time Baltimore’s Greaser Hotel was considered one of the most luxurious places for a city visitor to stay.  Now surrounded by downtown urban blight, the Greaser Hotel is a rundown dump with few occupants; though those residing there recognize this is a special place where magic thrives and the secrets kept sacred.

When Allie “the Rat” Argos was six, her parents went to prison for twenty years after a failed kidnapping of a Gristle.  Greaser Hotel caretaker Mrs. Friendly became her foster parent bringing the child to the Greasy Blight where for the next nine years she slaved alongside other inmates (former homemaking diva Midge Darlington, elderly ex billionaire Arnold Armstrong, and tweener Rena Duchamp).  Jerome the cat worries about naive Allie after she suffers an apparent concussion, and no supper.   Marvin Greaser III and Herman Gristle come to stay at the hotel.  Gristle inspects the teenage Rat to insure she poses no threat to him in the near future; but his arrival opens up the past to her.

The Secrets of the Greaser Hotel is a gripping modern day gothic fantasy enhanced by powerful B&W illustrations.  The good vs. bad contemporary Dickensian satirical storyline looks deeply at the negative impact of the under-regulated free market on the exploited with no protection; as young adult readers (and us seniors) want the heroine and her friends to kick the ugly butts of the mean crew.  No one sees Baltimore quite the same way as J. Scott Fuqua does (see Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore).

Harriet Klausner

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