LAW & CRIME

Behind the Door: The Dark Truths and Untold Stories of the Cecil Hotel

Morrow Oct. 2023. 240p. ISBN 9780063257658. $30. CRIME
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The former general manager of an infamous hotel on Los Angeles’s Skid Row has tales to tell. Price became famous via Netflix’s 2021 docuseries Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, which was about the death of hotel guest Elisa Lam, a troubled Canadian student who went missing. Her body was found two weeks later in a water tank on the hotel roof. While not essential, watching the series or at least reading a reputable news article about Lam’s tragic death would help readers. Price’s tone is matter-of-fact, even when describing morbid events. The book traces the author’s life from Detroit to California. She spent 10 years working at the Cecil Hotel and recounts bizarre behavior by guests, her love of the staff, and a tumultuous personal life. She also addresses the Netflix production, Lam’s death, and its effects on her, the staff, and those falsely accused by YouTube sleuths of killing Lam. The book concludes with a series of staff notes about guests’ unbelievable actions and activities.
VERDICT True-crime and tabloid fans will devour this spicy tell-all.
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