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Tell-all tale ‘Heads in Beds’ doesn’t tell enough

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Jacob Tomsky’s Heads in Beds

I had Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality all wrong. I figured hospitality business veteran/first-time author Jacob Tomsky would have great behind-the-scenes stories but tell them poorly. Turns out he’s a great writer who doesn’t have many great stories.

The book flap made some big promises. It claimed Tomsky “pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multibillion-dollar industry.” It warned me: “Prepare to be amused, shocked and amazed …”

The Details

Heads in Beds
Two and a half stars
By Jacob Tomsky, $26.

Amused? Sure. Shocked and amazed? Nah. The first juicy insider bit doesn’t come until Page 52: Housekeepers sometimes use furniture polish on glasses to ensure they don’t smudge. The second is on 127: “Often … the worst rooms are given to very specific guests for very specific reasons.” And let me tell you, you don’t want Tomsky putting you in 1212.

“If I put you in room 1212, your phone will not stop ringing with wrong numbers,” he writes. “Why? Well, a surprising number of guests never seem to learn that from every hotel phone you have to dial out. … So all day, and believe me, all night, idiots dispersed throughout the building will pick up their phones and try to straight dial a local number, starting with 1-212.”

The only truly shocking story—a stiffed bellman secretly filling up a famous athlete’s cologne bottle with urine—came on Page 199, and it’s told third-hand. So who knows whether it’s true.

The good news for Tomsky? The kid can write. His consistently solid one-liners and vivid descriptions make that clear. I suspect his next book will be fiction, and I’ll probably pick it up.

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