Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf


I had to put the books I've been reading on hold this last week so I could read Heather Gudenkauf's latest--I had a 10 day check out from the library so I couldn't dither!

It wasn't hard to do, because this novel grabbed me from the first few pages and I quickly became completely invested in the characters and the plot.

Wylie Lark is a true crime writer, and she's come to Burden, Iowa to stay in an isolated farmhouse to finish her latest book. A big blizzard is heading quickly towards town, and Wylie heads to the farmhouse to huddle up and wait out the storm. 

Twenty years before, young Josie Doyle and her friend Becky were spending a last summer night together out at Josie's parent's farm. It was hot and hard to sleep. The girls slip out to jump on the trampoline outside, and hear gunshots in the house. Running towards the house, the girls quickly realize their mistake and turn around to flee into the cornfields. 

Josie makes it into the field to hide, but Becky doesn't. That night, Josie's world crumbles and Becky disappears.

The blizzard is raging, and Wylie lets her dog out and ends up having to go outside herself to get Taz to come back to the house. She finds a small child, lying in the snow. How did the child get there? 

Wow this was so good! The story flashes back and forth between 2000 and the violence at Josie's home, a young mother and child living in a basement (you know right away this isn't right!), and Wylie focusing on keeping the child alive and figuring out what the heck is going on--all while the power goes out, the storm rages, and no one is available to help. 

It wasn't hard to figure out who was who, but the story was tense and oh golly, that blizzard--I could feel it in my bones. I felt chilled the whole time I was reading. 

It's a quick read, but a good one. All the pieces come together at the end. There are some sensitive subjects involved in this one, so be prepared. 

Rating: 5/6 for a thriller set in an isolated farmhouse in rural Iowa during a massive blizzard. Past and present come together with a bit of a twist at the end. Heather Gudenkauf did not disappoint! 

Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio.

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