The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

tmp_dn4FWX_4947357a06bbc6fa_TheSunDownMotel_UPDATEDThe Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Publishing February 18, 2020

This is one of the best mystery books I have read in a long time! I normally don’t read books with supernatural elements, but this one was done so well that I would read it again and again! Fans of Stranger Things would love this book! Atmospheric, creepy, suspenseful, and so hard to put down! The story unfolds in dual narratives between Viv in 1982, and her niece Carly in 2017, who have very similar lifestyle choices, despite the age gap of 35 years and that Carly wasn’t even born when Viv disappeared. This is the story of the doomed Sun Down Motel, the strangely compelling town of Fell, New York, and a string of murdered girls with unsolved cases and unfinished business.

1982: Viv doesn’t get along with her mother. She takes off on her own, ending up in Fell, New York where she accepts a night shift position at the Sun Down Motel, a place full of secrets and not much business. She finds a roommate, Jenny, who isn’t really around much, so she spends most all of her time alone. The Sun Down Motel is rumored to be haunted, and it doesn’t take long for Viv to become intrigued, and spooked by its mystery. A young boy died in the pool a few years back, which is now closed down and deserted. Even more disturbing is the string of young women who have been murdered in the small town as of late. Viv is so bothered by the unsolved cases that she begins to retrace the final days of each victim, becoming totally consumed by her amateur, but surprisingly valid findings. She makes a friend with a local police woman, Alma, who doesn’t believe Viv. She thinks Viv spends too much time at the Sun Down and tries to get her to seek therapy. Viv is brave and tenacious, continuing to investigate even when she starts to feel real danger. The killer is still walking free in Fell, and Viv is determined to stop him at all costs.

2017: After losing her mother to cancer, Carly is sort of over college, so she leaves Illinois and makes her way to upstate New York, to the town of Fell, where her aunt Viv spent her last days before she died. It pains Carly to know that her mother died grieving her only sister, believing her to be dead, and never knowing the truth about what really happened to her. Carly lucks out and finds Heather, who turns out to be a great roommate and friend. When she arrives at the rundown, eerie Sun Down Motel to retrace the steps of her aunt Viv, Carly ends up with a night shift job, the very job that her aunt Viv had 35 years prior. What could possibly go wrong? It will give her time to investigate and try to figure out what happened to Viv. Buckle up, Carly, because the Sun Down Motel is ready for you. The question is…is Carly prepared for it?

I absolutely loved this book with the strong female characters. Original, well-written, and unputdownable! It gave me chills at many points along the way. Now I’m off to read more of Simone St. James’s books.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this title.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

iletyougoI Let You Go will be published by Penguin Group on May 3, 2016.

Oh my goodness – this book is a roller-coaster ride! This book has it all – part police procedural, mystery, love story, and family drama. There are two story lines, both starting out with a tragic hit & run accident, killing a young boy named Jacob. Jenna Gray leaves her grief from losing her son and a fear-filled life for a remote seaside cottage on the Welsh coast. Meanwhile, seasoned police inspector, Ray, teams up with younger, beautiful inspector trainee, Kate, in an attempt to find the hit & run driver and bring some closure to Jacob’s mother. Ray’s home life is just about as stressful as his work life, due to the tension with his wife, a former police officer, and problems at school with his teenage son. Kate is young, energetic, easily accessible, and a great sounding board for Ray. Will he slip up and jeopardize his future, both at work and at home?

When Part 1 ended with a major twist, I had to go back and reread the first two chapters just to figure out what was going on. It really threw me for a loop, and after that I couldn’t put the book down. Part 2 picks up quickly, with jaw-dropping scenes and unimaginable, terrifying moments, as Jenna’s story is revealed piece by heartbreaking piece. The story line truly proves that things are not always what they seem.

This book made me cry for Jenna, and also gave me chills of terror. The writing is excellent, as even the ending leaves readers wondering if what people believed happened actually did transpire. Upon finishing, I was left with an unsettling, creepy feeling that can only be quelled with a sequel. I do hope Mackintosh writes many more novels. This is her first, and it’s an amazing accomplishment. Ray’s character reminds me a bit of Michael Connolly’s famous character, Harry Bosch. Fans of the Bosch series and of psychological thrillers such as The Girl on the Train, The Luckiest Girl Alive, and The Good Girl will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.