• The Paradox Hotel

  • A Novel
  • By: Rob Hart
  • Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (150 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“Time travel, murder, corruption, restless baby dinosaurs, and a snarky robot named Ruby collide in this excellent, noir-inflected, humor-infused, science-fiction thriller.”—The Boston Globe 

An impossible crime. A detective on the edge of madness. The future of time travel at stake. From the author of The Warehouse . . . 

January Cole’s job just got a whole lot harder.

Not that running security at the Paradox was ever really easy. Nothing’s simple at a hotel where the ultra-wealthy tourists arrive costumed for a dozen different time periods, all eagerly waiting to catch their “flights” to the past.

Or where proximity to the timeport makes the clocks run backward on occasion—and, rumor has it, allows ghosts to stroll the halls.

None of that compares to the corpse in room 526. The one that seems to be both there and not there. The one that somehow only January can see.

On top of that, some very important new guests have just checked in. Because the U.S. government is about to privatize time-travel technology—and the world’s most powerful people are on hand to stake their claims.

January is sure the timing isn’t a coincidence. Neither are those “accidents” that start stalking their bidders.

There’s a reason January can glimpse what others can’t. A reason why she’s the only one who can catch a killer who’s operating invisibly and in plain sight, all at once.

But her ability is also destroying her grip on reality—and as her past, present, and future collide, she finds herself confronting not just the hotel’s dark secrets but her own.

At once a dazzlingly time-twisting murder mystery and a story about grief, memory, and what it means to—literally—come face-to-face with our ghosts, The Paradox Hotel is another unforgettable speculative thrill ride from acclaimed author Rob Hart.

©2022 Rob Hart (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Time travel, murder, corruption, restless baby dinosaurs, and a snarky robot named Ruby collide in this excellent, noir-inflected, humor-infused, science-fiction thriller in which January Cole, the Paradox Hotel’s head of security, is having what can only be described as a spectacularly bad day.”The Boston Globe

“Smashes together some of the best elements of science fiction and crime to deliver a story in which time is broken . . . As funny and entertaining as it is dark and complex. [A] wildly entertaining combination, along with Hart’s relentless pacing, make this a rare hybrid that has something for everyone.”—NPR

“Entrancing in its pull right from the start . . .  Science fiction mixed with the aching pangs of loss and romance will pull the reader towards January Cole’s side and bring them along for a thrill ride.”San Francisco Book Review

What listeners say about The Paradox Hotel

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sure I'll Guard Your Timestream

Ambitious in scope, well-narrated, and as complicated as any good time-travel tale has a right to be, The Paradox Hotel eventually winds its way around to a satisfying conclusion. One never is certain (nor are the characters, it seems) whether the particular timeline being experienced is a first-run event or all a part of some sinister design. Such is made evident when the text itself seems to glitch with snippets of the exact same prose repeating itself in subsequent chapters as if it were brand new. (I actually found myself checking the chapter number to make sure I had not pressed a button by accident, but, no, the repeats were by design.) With that said, this is quite a clever book that makes good use of the time-travel genre although readers may have to hang in there for the payoff—just be patient. The plot certainly does enjoy disorienting its readers, and those who have read The Warehouse will be familiar with Rob Hart's way of placing his characters in mouse-mazes disguised as quirky environments; watching them cope as best they can, all the while suggesting ominously that things are not at all what they seem; and perhaps snickering a bit while they try and find their way out. This book has plenty of fun-house madness going for it, but it also has a great deal of heart. Finally, I wanted to just mention that as of this review, I noticed that the book is not categorized as LGBTQ+, yet given that its central characters are lesbians and that their relationship plays an important role in the events that unfold, this does seem like a bit of an oversight. (Ahem.)

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Repetitive, cliché & confusing

Every scene was exactly the same: Main character in a private room with her boss, he tries to fire her, she won’t be fired. He says “let’s walk” and they talk about trust. Then he tells her to “stay here & cool down” and she does the opposite.

After that scene happens like 5 times, there’s a bunch of stuff about time and emotions that is just impossible to understand. If any reviewer says they understood it, they are lying.

Then there’s some big conference where one dude starts the bidding at “one trillion dollars” lol. Yup. Nowhere to go really after that.

The main character is super unlikeable in the most cliche way (she pushes pple away before they can push her away). Finally she understands that, spits out a bunch of apologies so that her martyrdom can seem victorious.

There you go, now you don’t have to waste any time reading it like I did.

5 people found this helpful

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It's one of those kind of books.

This book is one of those books where you really have to focus on what going on at all times. It's not a casual lisen. Normally I like these types of stories especially when it involves sci-fi stuff like time travel. However I'm 5 hours in to this book and have no idea what going on. Worse, the story is just dull enough to put me to sleep if I'm not careful. I really want to like this book but just can't get in to it.

3 people found this helpful

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Total Junk!

What a POS? it's so bad, some moron in Hollywood will probably buy the rights and make a terrible movie of it. It's supposed to be a book about time...perhaps.., but don't be fooled. It lacks science and substance. The protag is a cranky, windowed detective and her gushy, weeping, maudlin grief that gets tedious and nauseating. The ending is abrupt and vague.

2 people found this helpful

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Highly entertaining

I really enjoyed the book, both the story and the narration. There were times I needed to relisten to get details I missed but I felt it was well worth it. I found the story to be a unique use of time travel and I love the genre so unique can be hard to find. I look forward to reading more from Mr Hart.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Save your time

No significant character development, disjointed storyline, overtly dramatic main character. Only finished it because I had time invested in it. Wish I had stopped early on. Voice acting was good. Would save your time and find something else.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Time travel

This was an entertaining book and the narrator embodied the main character so well. My only complaint would be that the other characters were a little hard to follow because they sounded too similar

1 person found this helpful

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it's worth your time

I liked the different take on time travel. it played a role like a character and this made the ending not as predictable. Hindsight there were clues but as I listen before bed mostly I just enjoy the story. I did guess a few things such as the girl running around but definitely didn't see how she would be used. So I suggest giving this one a try. it's worth the time.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Do not purchase

One of the worst books I’ve finished. I couldn’t believe the author really got this published. Total waste of time.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story, performance is challenging.

I know we are all professionals here and I hesitated to comment but felt compelled. The performer has excellent character voices and pitch and it pleasant to listen to. My only issue is the inflection on words. She reads every sentence as it it's a headline with the first word in BOLD CAPS. The start of "every" sentence is hard, loud and inflected almost as if reading a long list of headlines for a new product. There isn't any flow or emotion.

I put it away for a few months and came back determined to get past my petty grievance, but I failed again. I just can't listen to it anymore and I have 8 hours left.

Note to self, "listen very carefully to the Sample Reading" for new books to buy...lol...