Tales from The Beach House is a satiric work of fiction that sharply captures the “Man-Bites-Dog” world of contemporary South Florida. The Beach House, a crumbling old motel, is home to a collection of eccentric residents. Amongst their ranks; a tennis pro at the end of his game, a mortuary scientist whose love life has flat-lined, a paparazzo photographer searching for scoops, a bawdy duo fronting an improbable Ponzi enterprise, a beauty from “The Islands” with a dark secret, a fried-out TV weather man who claims to channel God, a middle school principal with a soft spot for Crack, a Rod Stewart cover artist searching for redemption, and a waitress serving a side order of erotic fiction. Each member of this cohort is in search of something – fast money, an easy hustle, fleeting romance, enduring love, fame, power, dignity, happiness… a place they can call home. As well as facing their own tender, tragic, and often hilarious personal circumstances, this eclectic gang is compelled by necessity to band together when a sinister developer threatens the very existence of The Beach House.
Tales from The Beach House is carefully crafted in the spirit of Carl Hiaasen’s career-long deconstruction of South Florida. Each chapter focuses on one of The Beach House’s individual apartments. These standalone stories possess interwoven subplots reminiscent of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Paul Theroux’s Hotel Honolulu and Thornton Wilder’s classic novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Tales from The Beach House is written in a fast-paced tabloid style, reflecting both the author’s transatlantic sensibilities and his two-decade career in the rough and tumble trenches of celebrity journalism.
James Aylott was previously a Hollywood paparazzo photographer and staffer at an American supermarket tabloid. This is the author’s first work of fiction, although he was often creative in his career of entertainment newsgathering and hated letting the truth interfere with a good story. A prior resident of Delray Beach, Florida he is currently embedded in St. Louis, Missouri researching his follow up novel: Tales of Whiskey Tango from Misery Towers.
I was contacted by the author , James Aylott offering an ARC for an honest review of his debut book, Tales from the Beach House, I was more than happy to take up his offer and started on this very different tale.
It's a tale of a series of interlocking stories and characters who make up the run down beach house apartment complex in South Florida, There’s an ex Tennis Pro, The Mortuary Scientist, a Paparazzo, A Rod Stewart cover artist.... and more.
Each apartment and character, has his or her own tale and reason for now inhabiting this cheap and broken down motel, some are darkly comic and some just dark.
The stories are seamlessly linked and converge into something where instead of just being about their own doomed tale, they come together to ensure a future..
A satirical, often funny and at times , bittersweet look at this micro community.
A superbly crafted work, I really enjoyed this book, the writing style is so different and refreshing and I love the snippets of news at the start of each chapter describing very random events in the Florida area.
I would encourage anyone to pick up this book, I would like nothing more to see it reach a big audience.