Beyond the Pale Motel by Francesca Lia Block


There is a skeleton of pain beneath your flesh and I can see it.

Francesca Lia Block has been a sensation in the YA scene for over 15 years.  Since her 1989 debut of Weetzie Bat, Block has been casting spells over readers with tales of magical realism in the glittering world of Los Angeles.  With a fearless exploration of love, sex, abuse, heartbreak, and redemption, her novels are powerful yet whimsical portrayals of growth, discovery, and perseverance.

With this novel, Block steps out of her YA comfort zone and into the Adult Mystery genre with a tale of lust, deceit, addiction, and murder in L.A.  Beyond the Pale Motel introduces readers to Catt, a fierce yet deeply heartbroken and damaged woman.  After more than ten years of sobriety, Catt and her best friend Bree are finally settling into positive routines, happiness, and health.

But everything changes when Catt’s husband abruptly leaves her, sending her into a dangerous and dark mental spiral.  A highly-sensual and energetic woman, Catt tries to distract herself from the emotional pain of abandonment by sleeping with a multitude of handsome and edgy men.  But when news of a local serial killer breaks, Catt realizes she may need to be more aware of her lovers and their true intentions.

Known as the Hollywood Serial Killer, this elusive and sadistic murderer specifically targets young, virile, and beautiful women.  After Catt’s neighbor becomes one of the victims, her mental state further unravels, and so does her relationship with Bree.  But as Catt tries to combat the darkness in her own life, a more sinister force slowly penetrates her many layers of mental and emotional armor, and she is no longer able to determine who she can and cannot trust.

Quick-paced, erotic and highly sensitive, Beyond the Pale Motel is a triumph for Francesca Lia Block and her loyal fans.  With such a wide cross-genre appeal, hopefully this novel will generate an even larger following for an author who more than deserves some literary limelight.  If you’re the kind of reader who is reluctant to explore the YA genre, this is a perfect starting point on your way to the other side.

Beyond-Pale-Motel ★★★★½
Beyond the Pale Motel
Francesca Lia Block
St Martin’s Press
224 Pages
ISBN 9781250033123

About Karli Cude

Karli Cude, previous moderator of Hooked Bookworm, is an avid reader and former bookseller. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in English Literature in 2010 and completed a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences in 2013.