A book for horror fans and those suspicious of billionaires.
In a nutshell: Thirteen Storeys is a creepy and twisted supernatural horror-thriller in which the (egregious) sins of an enigmatic billionaire entrepreneur (Tobias Fell) come back to haunt (not him but) people connected to his residential development, Banyan Court.
Tobias Fell amassed his billions via a system of exploitation: workers’ rights (never heard of those), pillaging rural communities (sounds lucrative), dumping toxic waste (blasé shoulder shrug), and more. If a scandal hit the airwaves, well, he owns part of the airwaves. Fell and his billions know how to spin a story, and if Fell can’t make a story disappear, there are always ways to make people disappear. It’s easy to believe that Fell’s universe is indeed how (many of) the 0.1% have (and are) amassing their fortunes, and much of Thirteen Storeys reads like apt capitalist commentary.
Structured like an anthology of short stories, each of the book’s short stories is told via the lens of a distinct character; from the wealthy residents of Banyan Court’s luxury front-side apartments to those struggling to make ends meet (living segregated in the building’s legally mandated low-income housing at the back) to the real estate agent, the concierge, and the plumber. It’s not immediately apparent how and if the characters are connected and how and if they are being haunted, but the feeling of wrongness slowly, steadily, and creepily builds. It’s the thirteenth and ultimate story (the chilling finale) that ties Thirteen Storeys together into its novel whole — a dinner party hosted by Tobias Fell at his Banyan Court penthouse, where all thirteen characters finally meet, and not everyone leaves alive.
Jonathan Sims is the head writer and voice actor for the horror podcast The Magnus Archives. Thirteen Storeys is his debut novel.
Book: Thirteen Storeys
Publication Date: November 26th, 2020