Wednesday, February 19, 2020
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
In 1982, Viv Delaney leaves home to get away from her anxiety-ridden mother and start a new life. Her intent is to go to New York City but she quickly runs out of money and ends up working in the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. It doesn't take long before Viv starts to notice strange things: a strong smell of smoke, the frequent appearance of a woman who is both angry and terrified, a little boy, doors that fling themselves open, and a couple of hotel guests who seem more than a little shady. When Viv hears about the strange deaths that have taken place in the area, seemingly unconnected and mostly unsolved murders of young women, she starts investigating. Are the deaths really unconnected or did the police miss something? Is there a serial killer in Fell? Who are the ghosts that haunt the Sun Down Motel and why? What are they trying to tell her? Will she discover the answers before it's too late?
In 2017, Viv's niece, Carly arrives at the Sun Down Motel full of questions. What happened to her aunt Vivian, who disappeared while working at the Sun Down Motel in 1982? Is she dead or alive? Why was the investigation into her disappearance given up so quickly? If she's alive, where did she go and why didn't she ever contact her sister, Carly's mother, who has since passed away?
Following in the footsteps of Viv, Carly sets out to find answers. She gets a job at the Sun Down Motel, finds a roommate, and begins asking questions. But, the ghosts of the past are still haunting the present. Will Carly be able to figure out what happened to her missing aunt? Is her disappearance connected to the murders of young women that took place in Fell around that time? With a little help from a man with a troubled past, Carly starts digging. But, the only person who wants to talk about Aunt Vivian is seriously creepy.
Highly recommended - Ohmygosh, what a fantastic mystery/suspense with wonderful characters, genuinely suspenseful writing, and plenty of scare-your-socks-off moments. At one point while I was reading The Sun Down Motel, I realized that I was so tense I was sitting on the bed bolt upright, taking quick, shallow breaths. Very few suspense books truly grab me and hold on the way The Sun Down Motel did. I particularly recommend The Sun Down Motel to anyone who loves paranormal elements as the ghosts (if a little heavy-handed in the number of appearances) are among the most believable I've read.
Weird side note: I guessed what happened to Viv about halfway through the book but it actually didn't matter. It was just a guess and I had to know the answers. The book held onto me fast and I madly flipped pages. In fact, The Sun Down Motel gripped me so thoroughly that I had to warn my husband I wasn't coming up for air till I finished. He shrugged and went off to do outdoor work. I have no idea what he did, I was so immersed. The Sun Down Motel is going into the favorites pile, for sure.
Many thanks to Berkley Books for letting me join in on this tour and providing the book.
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