Book Reviews

[Review] A Cacophony of Owls: The Nightly Disease

Publisher: Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing | Published: September 12th 2017 | Pages: 414


The Nightly Disease was an unexpected treat. I love owls and the cover spoke to me, as did a two star review on Goodreads. I’ve never read anything quite like this book. Max Booth III kept this reader off balance and turning the page. Isaac, the night auditor at The God Damn Hotel, isn’t the most reliable of narrators. He’s either slipping into madness or he has a vivid imagination. Either way, he probably needs a mental evaluation, but I’m not sure he has health insurance. Isaac is overworked, underlaid and he pretty much hates everything about his job. When he’s not watching Netflix or doing the five knuckle shuffle on the hotel roof, he’s dealing with rude and ignorant guests. He also likes hanging out with his fellow night auditor, George, from the other hotel.

Max Booth III is at his strongest when Isaac is dealing with the various hotel guests. It’s the inner monologue that truly brings the character to life. You can tell Max drew from his own experiences. Isaac is witty, sarcastic and candid. His appalling thoughts made me laugh. The inner monologue starts bleeding through. He doesn’t know if people can hear him, and he might be having delusions involving owls. He also falls in love with a bulimic woman. Even though Isaac hates his job, he still has to fulfill his duties as the night auditor, unclogging nasty toilets and taking extra towels to guests. Can he catch a break? Nope, uh-uh, no he can’t. Things get even worse for Isaac when two low-life brothers blackmail him into helping with their counterfeiting business.

Bodies start piling up, but Isaac has to be the world’s worst at getting rid of bodies. His apartment scenes are gross. You can smell the stench wafting from the pages. Even though I was grossed out, I had to order a pizza pie and some pasta. The writing is good. It is taut and very-well paced. Max Booth III is not a predictable writer. He throws in several twists throughout the book. The characters were compelling. I was totally invested in Isaac, I needed to see how his story was going to play out. The payoff was worth it. I wasn’t expecting that ending.

I wish there was a soundtrack to this book. I bet it would have at least one Nine Inch Nails song on the track. I’ve never read anything quite like The Nightly Disease, it’s weird and compelling storytelling.

You can buy The Nightly Disease here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sleep is just a myth created by mattress salesmen.

Isaac, a night auditor of a hotel somewhere in the surreal void of Texas, is sick and tired of his guests. When he clocks in at night, he’s hoping for a nice, quiet eight hours of Netflix-bingeing and occasional masturbation. What he doesn’t want to do is fetch anybody extra towels or dive face-first into somebody’s clogged toilet. And he sure as hell doesn’t want to get involved in some trippy owl conspiracy or dispose of any dead bodies. But hey…that’s life in the hotel business.

Welcome to The Nightly Disease. Please enjoy your stay.


Max Booth III is the Editor-in-Chief of Perpetual Motion Machine, the Managing Editor of Dark Moon Digest, and the co-host of Castle Rock Radio, a Stephen King podcast. He’s the author of many novels and frequently contributes articles to both LitReactor and CrimeReads. Follow him on Twitter @GiveMeYourTeeth or visit him at http://www.TalesFromTheBooth.com. He lives in Texas.

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