Prologue by David Weber, continued by Rod Serling, and ending by John C. Wright.
If you read the description, it reads like a sci-fi version of The Twilight Zone as done in The Hotel California, doesn’t it?
After a fashion. If you’re concerned that the description will spoil the plot, it only covers up to chapter 2. Our hero, Childress, has already started to piece together that the hotel is bigger on the inside by that point. Yes, the Hotel Infinity is bigger on the inside. And if you think that’s bad, you should see the Star Trek references. Heh.
The book is written in a style that’s very novel-like. Less Victor Hugo, and more modern novel, but Richard is very much an artist with no pretensions. It’s smart and well-thought-out, a mystery that plays perfectly fair, and gives the reader all of the pieces and parts to figure out what the bloody blue heck is going on. However, you really won’t figure it out. And, one of the nice things here is that everyone has a back story. And I do mean everybody. If they have a name, they have a backstory. There’s at least one chapter of history for almost every named character. I will say that going from the prologue to chapter 1 in a little disorienting, as it goes from space opera, David Weber style, to a road trip in the South West. The last 10% of the book could have been an additional novel by itself, with what it pulled off. But the ending we got gave a complete, satisfying conclusion to the story, the characters, and the world that’s been established. At the end of the day, this book starts out like David Weber, continued as written by Rod Serling, and ends with the epic scope of John C. Wright. Yes. I went there. Richard Paolinelli obviously thinks in terms of epic scope. I won’t say that Paolinelli is in Wright’s league just yet. Give him another book or two, and expect Wright to have serious competition in the “awe-inspiring scale” category.
For JCW, I would give a 6/5 if I could. Richard will just have to settle with a 5/5.
– from a 5-Star Amazon review by DFinn
Explores so many ideas it will damn near melt your brain.
My only complaint was the Liz back story section. I personally felt it could have been split up into two parts, but it doesn’t distract because the story keeps moving at a furious pace. Paolinelli manages to capture the epic scope of the scenes.
Overall, this is a very solid piece of science fiction that explores so many ideas it will damn near melt your brain trying to absorb them all on the first go. I can’t really go into them without going into spoiler territory, but pick up a copy of this novel today and see for yourself.
The second part of the book strikes me as more engaging to a teen reader. Fast narrative introduced and resolved plot points; the emphasis seemed to be on far-off adventure, rather than character development.
Yesterday evening, I gave my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, a really quick plot summary of the first part: A woman finds herself lost in the desert in the 1850s; a man from today finds himself also lost. They are saved by discovering a luxury hotel, where every need is met. They also both find in each other the fulfillment of their ideal mate. What will they do next?
She said: “GET OUT OF THERE! It’s a TRAP!”
I said, ‘Wouldn’t you much prefer to spend some nice relaxing vacation time with your beloved, eating delicious food and taking it easy?”
“NO!” she said emphatically. “The delicious food is how you know that you are in a trap.”
So, she agrees with the author, and thus the book dances down a long path toward a conclusion.
I’m giving the book FOUR stars, because I did like it. In particular, I liked the idea of the mysterious luxury hotel appearing , just in time to rescue stranded travelers. I liked the description of the starship commander and his colleagues in emotional turmoil as they realize that their actions have precipitated an event that destroyed the earth, and that they feel compelled to do something about it, and ESPECIALLY that the commander willingly sacrifices himself to make that happen. I liked the concept that each one of the stranded travelers sees the hotel & furnishings as being consistent with their own era. I also liked the detail given to Elizabeth’s back-story, although I found the murder of her child unrealistic and unnecessary; there were LOTS of ways to lose baby girls at the time without family murders.
What I didn’t like: the extremes in the differences of the descriptions. For example, we are given Elizabeth’s back story in loving detail (it really WAS remarkable) but we get nothing about almost every other character. I didn’t like the abrupt way in which the tone of the book changes, from the detail in the first three quarters of the book, to the treatment of the events as soon as they step into the fog. I would MUCH, MUCH rather the book had been made into a series: Part 1: explorers destroy earth. Part 2: the Infinity Hotel. Part 3: rebuilding, and return to space.
After reading the back cover, I knew I was embarking on a freaky, mind-warping ride and was looking forward to the journey Richard was going to take me on. The front cover looked promising as well. It had me thinking this book would be taking place solely in the future. However, once I began reading the prologue, I soon realized space and alien life would encompass the plot. Even though I was only thrown for a loop for about a nanosecond, I soon found myself engrossed in the mystery of the Infinity.
Even though I fascinated by the happenings of the hotel, one thing was missing for me which would’ve made me feel more contacted to the storyline. For me, I wanted to know more about the lives of the hotel’s occupants before stepping into the time/space paradox. We got a glimpse of Liz and the football star, but the inquisitive side wanted more history regarding its occupants. I guess if Richard was writing a 700 page novel then my wish would’ve been granted but he wasn’t. He didn’t. To stay on track, he led us through a series of events which would test the sanity of any man or woman. His writing was equally mystifying and eerie as fellow thriller writers Stephen King, Clive Barker, and R.L Stine. That’s saying a lot about his creativity.
All in all, the plot was sound. The follow-through was a tad bumpy but overall a book I am thrilled to have read and happily encourage others to purchase.
– from a 4-Star Amazon review by Kam
Escaping Infinity is an interesting book that can only be billed as one part Twilight Zone, one part Hotel California. It is definitely worth a read if you are into speculative science fiction. We don’t want to spoil anything for you, so we’ll just give you the set up; two guys are on their way to Phoenix when they stop for the night at a hotel. What they don’t know is that no one who checks in ever checks out. The Good: Paolinelli understands what a good mystery is all about. That’s right, mystery. At it’s heart, this is a mystery book. The author does a better than average job of placing all the puzzle pieces in the opening of the book and giving the reader a chance to figure it out. Despite that, I was still guessing at the 3/4 mark. Why we like it: The author thumbs his nose at the science fiction establishment with his verdict that the natural state of mankind is not improving, but rather spiraling into chaos. That is a grand departure from the current crop of science fiction cannon which suggests the future will be sunny and bright. The author even has the audacity to suggest that Americans from earlier centuries may have known something we have lost or forgotten. To which Literary Rebel replies; Two Thumbs Up!
– from a review by Literary Rebel
This novel has two distinct original storylines. The hotel stay is a compelling mystery that challenges the reader to figure out what forces control the odd limbo that is the Infinity Hotel. The second story explains this bizarre conundrum and is a plot twist that took me completely by surprise. One surmises the author was having a glass of wine (or two) while listening to Hotel California and came up with this science fiction story. Hey, inspiration comes from the most random spark and this idea is great! Bravo..!
– from a 4-star Amazon review by Ron Baker
It’s a bold move to begin a book with a prologue in which an entire planet is accidentally destroyed; once you’ve obliterated the world, you run the risk that what follows could seem … a bit mundane. Yet that wasn’t at all the case here. There was nothing boring about Peter Childress and his arrival, seemingly by accident, in the middle of a mystery. The book makes good use of multiple perspectives, and cleverly combines humour, threat, romance, and deceit. And yes, I did find myself humming the tune of a certain song by the Eagles as I read 😉 If I had to (constructively!) criticise anything, I would say that the final couple of chapters following the revelation of the mystery behind the Infinity Hotel felt a bit unnecessary to me (although they’re certainly grand in vision). If the novel had ended earlier, I think it would have seemed a little tighter and more focused. Nevertheless, it was a great read. Five stars.
– from a 5-Star Amazon review by Angry Goblin
As I have read now three of Richard’s books and interviewed him twice on my show, I found “Escaping Infinity” to be the most surprising, yet the easiest read of all. The story is compelling and you really have no idea where the protagonist is taking you except to try to escape the inevitability of the Infinity Hotel. As the author says, thousands have checked in and no one has checked out. What is it with the Infinity that draws folks in yet refuses to let them leave? The answers lie in the crafting of the story that intricately weaves past, present and future to one fulfilling moment in time when all is answered yet; there is still another surprise around the corner. Richard Paolinelli is nothing if not an outstanding writer of the Science Fiction Genre and good literary fiction. I am proud to consider Richard a friend, fellow writer and an author of outstanding abilities in any field with which he tries his hand.
– 5-Star review by reader Jim Christina on Amazon
Amazing story…so worth the read. When I read the description I was a bit intrigued so I figured why not give it a go. I thought I understood the gist of what the story would be if not the how or why of the Infinity Hotel. What unfolded right from the first pages was unexpected and so much more then I ever imagined. It had a depth and breadth that I was not expecting at all. There are so many things I wanna say but in doing so would possibly spoil it for those of you thinking of reading it. That being said PLEASE give it a chance and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I actually stayed up well past 1am because I couldn’t put it down. I’m greatly looking forward to seeing what else this author has to offer me next and I’ve no doubt I will be starting another tomorrow. Many thanks to the author for such an outstanding read!
– 5-Star review by reader Heather on Amazon
The concept of Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli takes the sense of wonder of classic science fiction tales that readers would love. Its prologue gives an intriguing foreshadowing to start the story, grabbing my interest right away. The plot is deftly formative, as we follow Peter’s attempt to get him and his friend Charlie out of the deceiving hotel, while trying to avoid the watchful eyes of the hotel’s manager and the front desk clerk named Liz. The narrative is flawless, with its concise and clear prose. The pacing overall is solid, although there were some events that I thought could unfold quicker. That said, it’s not necessarily a weakness, but merely my personal preference for the story. Paolinelli’s Escaping Infinity is a mixture of hard science fiction, mystery, and some interest in transcendence. There’s a subtle metaphor of fixing societal problems when the opportunity arises in the last half of the story, as the protagonists discover more truth about the hotel and its purpose. All in all, a solid read.
– 4-Star review by Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite
I’ll be honest. I’m rather particular about what I spend my time and have been for some time. Like others, it was an interesting premise from the blurb- enough to catch my attention. The start’s a bit slow-ish going. Almost Space Opera- but in order to tell the story Richard clearly sought to tell, you had to go from each of the shifts in each of the chapters of the book. Without them, this wouldn’t have tied together as nicely as it did. I’m quite satisfied with my use of the time reading this story. I’d definitely do it again, it very much wasn’t wasted- which can’t be said of a lot of the stories out there.
– 5-star review on Amazon by Mad Scientist
This story is readable, old-fashioned, upbeat science fiction in the pulp style. It’s pretty much character driven, ending up light on the science part—on the hardness scale, it’s about on the level of the Star Trek series. Peter is the model of the nerdy engineer who finds adventure, along with a beautiful girl, and rises to the occasion when virtue, intelligence and a big heart are required.
On the con side, this requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. It uses standard SF memes like faster than light spaceflight, time travel, terra-forming, life-extension, etc., without delving into the science or adding any new insights. It has a utopian bent that’s very much counter to current trends, and I’d like to have seen some investigation of the consequences of godlike powers.
This is a good read for folks who enjoy positive stories, nerdy engineers and pretty girls. Interestingly, this is the second highly positive SF story I’ve read this year in connection with the awards–Chambers’s A Closed and Common Orbit read like this, too. I wonder if that means it’s a new direction in SFF taste.
Three and a half stars.
A very compelling book that featured a mixture of science fiction, thriller, and a little romance. It was not overwhelmingly technical and easy to follow. The plot was a little confusing at first but soon the reason became known and continued smoothly. I enjoyed this book immensely and would read other books by Richard Paolinelli.
– Gold Bookworm review by Lucy Bohannon on Readers Review Room
Overall, this was an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to science fiction fans looking for something quick to read.
– Good review by Amanda Hill
I really liked the premise of Maelstrom by Richard Paolinelli. I love stories where a person is trying so hard to avoid one thing that they actually cause it. This is a very interesting point to make and I am so happy to see it in fiction. I also love the idea that the same man gets a chance at redemption, redeeming himself for the mistake that he made. That is exactly what this story is all about and I appreciate the message it sends about determination and belief in one’s self, no matter if you are projected into the future and see the Earth’s destruction.
– Reader’s Favorite review by Janelle Fila
I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. This book was well written, with excellent flow to it. The author uses a few perspective changes, but not to the point where we forget who the main character is. It is not an overly long story, it includes about twenty-two chapters. I enjoyed reading through Steven’s dilemma. The remaining humans on the planet view him as a monster because his force field instigated nuclear strikes that scorched the earth. However, we begin to see the future humans’ minds change, in light of Steven’s dedication to helping them defeat Andras and his original intentions regarding the shield.
– Online Book Club review by A Parsons
Twelve, page turning stories by notable authors such as David Marcum, Richard Paolinelli and Nebula and Hugo Award winner, Jack McDevitt make for a delightful read.
– 5- Star Amazon review by Chuck Davis
HOLMES AWAY FROM HOME
Richard Paolinelli’s “The Woman Returns” (no Holmes fan should need to ask which woman), is a nicely plotted tale that remains true to the characters depicted in the Canon.
– 5-star review by Thomas Turley on Amazon
The plot is tight and well-constructed as Del Rio and Chee attempt to narrow down their list of possible suspects. Del Rio is a fresh and intriguing character, and I enjoyed seeing both his psychological approach to interviewing suspects and his occasional bursts of high-velocity action in pursuit of the killer. At the end of the story, several of Paolinelli’s characters leave some tantalizing hints about a future challenge facing this intrepid sleuth, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series. Reservations is most highly recommended.
– 5-Star Reader’s Favorite review by Jack Magnus
I was completely engaged for this entire novel. Although I had a guess at who the murderer was early on, the author led me on several hunches and had me questioning every turn. This novel reminded me of Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie because the main character was so well written and the investigation was just as intriguing. There were also several timelines and plot lines used that all converged on this murder investigation, and I really enjoyed the way they all weaved together.
– PlusGood review by Amanda Hill
“Richard Paolinelli’s mystery-thriller ‘Reservations’ is an excellent ‘who-done-it’ with multiple twists and turns in the plot line. Every time I thought I had finally gotten a clue as to what was going on, nope…wrong again! Jack Del Rio reminded me a great deal of Dilon Savich, from Catherine Coulter’s acclaimed FBI series. The Navajo lore was a very interesting touch. Overall, a great read. Looking forward to reading more Jack Del Rio adventures from Mr. Paolinelli.”
– 5-Star review from Gibson Michaels, Dragon Award nominated author of the Sentience Trilogy
It started out pretty slow but picked up pretty fast and ended with wanting to read more. I loved that the end wasnt all “and they lived happily ever after.” I also liked the lack of romance, since its a thriller not a sappy romance book.
– Munnings At Perfection review
Great final confrontation between our heroes and the villain — I can’t tell you all the reasons I liked it without ruining it, but for people who like thrillers/detective novels, I can assure you that there’s more than enough reasons to like it. The second Del Rio novel, Betrayals is out now, and I look forward to getting it. But we’re talking about Reservations now, and I give this a solid recommendation for fans of the genre or non-fans wanting something different.
– The Irresponsible Reader
It’s not science fiction or fantasy, but if you like thrillers, you are going to love RESERVATIONS. I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of depth to the characters, and an underlying story that makes you want to read the next adventure of Jack Del Rio. To me, Jack Del Rio is a Bond type, or a character you might see as an investigator on Criminal Minds. While I am not as well versed as an officer in the ins and outs of detective work, I am an alumni of the Citizens Police Academy and have had some training in police and detective work. I thought his characters were believable, and I enjoyed seeing them in action. I am definitely giving this book five stars!
-Arwen Chandler, Sculpting Words From Air
Richard Paolinelli’s thriller novel, Betrayals: A Jack Del Rio Thriller, blends elements of politics with history in this riveting tale of the prelude to the inauguration of a president-elect. While this is not the first novel in this series, the author gives the new reader enough background to allow this story as a stand-alone. That said, I’d strongly recommend reading Reservations: A Jack Del Rio Thriller as well, not only because it’s a marvelous read, but to get more insights into Jack Del Rio. Paolinelli’s agent extraordinaire is a complex and multifaceted character whose thought processes are a delight to follow. I especially enjoyed the Cold War-era historical aspects of this political thriller as sleeper agents seeded in the USA during the 1950s set out to change the future of the nation. Betrayals: A Jack Del Rio Thriller is fast-paced and filled with the twists and turns that make a book of this genre work so well. It’s most highly recommended.
– Jack Magnus, Readers’ Favorite
FROM THE FIELDS
This was a very insightful read. I have a love for Australian Rules football and hence found this documentary informative and enlightening. It is clear that Mr Paolinelli’s days as a Sports Writer have helped him with his research which will no doubt become a legacy to the Bulldogs and indeed the town of Turlock itself.
– The Next Great Read review by Lorraine Loveit
This is an easy-read treatise on a neglected area of baseball history — the umpires. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the history of Major League Baseball.
– 5-Star Amazon Review by Allen Roach