• Natalie Nider

The Motel Whore & Other Stories by Paul Heatley -- Book Review

The Motel Whore & Other Stories by Paul Heatley promised me the delicious dirty realism that I know and love: graphically honest, realistic, and despite its cold exterior it is an entertaining read.


It fucking delivered, my friends. I just was not ready for just how much it delivered.

WARNING - CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE, SEXUAL CONTENT, AND SCENES OF VIOLENCE. SHOULD NOT BE READ BY ANYONE. A dying town on the edge of nowhere. Misfits, outcasts, losers and loners, making their way through their aimless lives. The Motel Whore. The Vampire. The Boy. They will crawl inside your skull. They will live beneath your skin. They will stay with you forever. Featuring two previously unpublished tales. 'Darker than spilled blood, more twisted than a pile of mangled bodies, this is a memorable, evocative piece of work.' - Tom Leins 'Rich with great characters, The Motel Whore is sad, brutal and completely enthralling.' - Paul D. Brazill (Read Here)

I thoroughly enjoy anything that comes with a warning label. It's like seeing a bottle with a skull and cross bones. Curiosity will always kill the cat.

The Motel Whore & Other Stories is a collection of short stories including The Motel Whore, The Boy, and The Vampire. I ramble endlessly about these stories but instead of spoiling the read for you I decided to level with myself: I will review the details that I adore without giving too much away. Part of this involves giving a reflective reason as to why The Motel Whore hit me the hardest of all the stories.

As A Whole

Paul Heatley has mastered dirty realism. This collection is gritty and every line throws you in head first. Between the drug use, the peeping tom with a camera, the prostitute, the pimp, the guy who doesn't sleep, a trailer park kid with a skateboard -- all of the pages are a shout into the void about the harsh reality of the world: that it's not all pretty, but it is captivating.

For me, the main point of why I ate this collection up was because it was oddly nostalgic for me. Especially one story in particular.

In order to fully express what I mean by that statement allow me to explain where this level of sentiment came from. It has to do with The Motel Whore.

The Motel Whore

I was emotionally invested in The Motel Whore, more than I care to admit.

The Motel Whore is about prostitute, Joanie. Joanie lives and works at this motel where the owner is her pimp. The men come and go and in between the work she visits another tenant to shoot up heroin without her pimp finding out.

I was overwhelmed by the level of nostalgia this story unknowingly forced upon me. Within the first couple pages I had to stare at the wall and wonder: Am I fucking tripping or is this story sounding real familiar?

As it turns out psychedelics aren't my thing so no, I was not tripping. This read really was a window into my life at one point.

No, I was never a hooker.

But I lived with one for awhile when I lived in Florida.

My whole sunshine state experience was filled with The Motel Whore. Like I said I lived with a hooker who had her addiction to crack, I had my bout of chasing highs and downs as everyone else did there, and just like Joanie the motel bathrooms offered a small space of solitude for me when I needed a minute. Just like the fictional story, all you had to do was go from one motel room to the next and you could get whatever you wanted. I have had plenty tours of different motels, all of them as equally illicit as the next.

The Motel Whore in some ways was reality for me at one point.

That's why The Motel Whore & Other Stories by Paul Heatley will forever have a home on my bookshelf; because there was a time in my life where many of those pages reflected the sort of dysfunctional home I had.

It made me uncomfortable in a way that I didn't know that I needed. The sort of uncomfortable when the truth is staring you in the face. It was immersive and dirty and above all, it was real.


About the Author, Paul Heatley

Paul Heatley is the author of Fatboy, Guillotine, the Eye For An Eye series, and Bad Bastards, among others, as well as more than fifty short stories. He lives in the north east of England.

Natalie Nider

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© 2020 Natalie Nider: Trainwreck Tendencies

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