Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Wow! This was such a good story. I'm a bit biased, because I have read every one of Simone St. James' novels. She just keeps getting better with each novel. 

This latest haunting thriller takes place in Fell, New York. A sleepy little town where the Sun Down Motel sits out on the edge, and a highway runs through to other towns along the way towards New York City. It's the kind of motel that is run down but still offers a place to stay when options are few. It's 1982, and young Vivian Delaney has left her mom's home to seek a new life in New York City. She ends up in Fell, and decides to stay for awhile. She answers an ad for a night clerk at the Sun Down Motel. It's a boring job, but easy work while she figures out what to do with her life. 

Except one night, Vivian discovers the motel is haunted. And not in a casual way--in a really big, scare the crap out of you way. Not only do the doors to the rooms open on their own, but lights go out (even the big motel sign out front), the smell of cigarette smoke is strong, footsteps are heard, and she sees not one, but two ghosts: that of a little boy who drowned in the now closed pool, and a pretty woman in a flowered dress who tells Vivian to RUN.

Vivian is freaked out, but keeps coming back. She's just got to get to the bottom of this mysterious woman's appearance, and her obvious anger. Vivian has started down the path of extreme danger, but her desire to uncover past wrongs can't be stopped. 

It's 2017. Carley Kirk arrives in Fell, New York. Her Aunt Vivian disappeared from Fell in November of 1982, and Carley has always been obsessed with this family tragedy. Carley's mother, Vivian's sister, has recently died, and she took any clues to Vivian's life with her to the grave. Carley decides to come to Fell and look for any trace of what happened to her Aunt. She even gets a job as the night office clerk at--you guessed it--the Sun Down Motel. 

Carley's not there long before she also discovers the horrific secrets of the Sun Down Motel. And as she starts to dig into the past, she realizes her Aunt was onto something terrible, something that put her in terrible danger. How does this have anything to do with the motel?

Wowza. This was soooo good. A truly creepy ghost tale, mystery, and thriller all wrapped into one amazing story. I don't want to give any more details, because it's definitely a story you have to read and uncover on your own. Vivian and Carley are certainly cut from the same cloth-young, smart, determined women who pursue the truth, even if it means they are put in danger. This wasn't a mystery that you are required to figure out-rather a mystery that you get to watch unfold as the pieces are put together by the characters, thirty-five years apart. All of the main players in this novel are compelling--yes, even the ghosts. 

I know I'll never look at a motel quite the same way again. 

This novel will be out in February, 2020 in the United States in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

Rating: 5/6 for an excellent ghost story wrapped up in a thriller. Themes include revenge, justice, family secrets, and the damage done to people when they never have closure. Highly recommend this one. 

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