Hospitality suite

From the second sentence, Jacob Tomsky lets you know just what sort of a book he’s written: “I’ve checked you in, checked you out, oriented you to the property, served you a beverage, separated your white panties from the the white bedsheets, parked your car, tasted your room service (before and, sadly, after), cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&Ms out of your mini bar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money.” With that, Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality is off at a breathless pace.

The book is what it says it is: a behind-the-scenes tell-all of the hotel industry. Tomsky started his hospitality career as a valet parking attendant when he was just out of college (“Valet 4 Life, motherf**kers,” he crows as he moves up to the front desk). From there, the industry took Tomsky on a rocky ride, across state lines and out of the country, calling him back to its steady (if tiny) paycheck even as he tried to get free and pursue his true passion, writing.

Seems the end justified the means: Tomsky turned all those years parking cars, changing sheets, adjusting bills and pilfering snacks from mini bars into a quick-witted work of mostly non-fiction. Heads in Beds is at turns hilarious, sad, too revealing, naughty, frightening and wildly fun. Tomsky proves to be a smart writer. His voice is warm and accessible, but he’s also pleasantly snarky and potty-mouthed. He lets the reader see him at his smarmy, smooth-operating best and his filthy, fed-up worst. (And the book includes lots of tips, like how to eat and drink everything in your minibar for free, how to get extra amenities, and all of the things a hotel guest should never say to a front desk agent.)

Better yet: Tomsky went to high school in Asheville and his father was the media and public relations director at the Grove Park Inn for many years. Which is not to say that any of the bad behavior alluded to within these pages took place at the Grove Park. Certainly not. But as that hotel has employed or will someday employ much of Asheville’s population, the connection seems worth mentioning. And in addition of already-scheduled appearances on Good Morning America and 20/20, Tomsky will also make at stop at Malaprop‘s to read and sign copies of Heads in Beds. (Xpress will run an interview with Tomsky in advance of the reading. Check back for that!)

That author event takes place on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. The book goes on sale Tuesday, Nov. 20. Buy it at Malaprop’s or pre-order it here, here and here.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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