I chose The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James for my January Book of the Month box. I’ve read St. James’ previous novel, The Broken Girls, and really enjoyed its spookiness. This novel didn’t disappoint either!
First, as a full-blown, card-carrying Murderino, I was so pleasantly surprised to see that this book was dedicated to someone like me! Murderinos are fans of the podcast My Favorite Murder, but also just like true crime and unsolved mysteries and Dateline marathons and spooky stuff in general.
Once we get into the novel, you realize that it’s a dual-timeline tale — It shows us Viv in 1985, and then her niece Carly in 2017. Viv went missing during her overnight shift at the Sun Down Motel, a run-down roadside motel in upstate Fell, New York. In 1985, the place seemed spooky enough: lights would go on and off by themselves, doors would open and shut randomly, and the smell of cigarette smoke would waft in the air. When Viv goes missing, there are no clues and the case quickly goes cold.
Carly has grown up hearing very little about her aunt Viv, and once her mother passes away, she travels to Fell to learn what she can about Viv. This leads Carly to work the night shift at the Sun Down Motel, where she experiences some of the same creepy happenings that occured when Viv was working there. Along the way, Carly meets her roommate Heather, as well as Nick, a guest at the Sun Down, and these three work to find out the truth about what happened to Viv.
This story was GOOD. I was hooked right away. The setting was perfectly written, giving me goosebumps. It was realistic and so, so creepy. The characters were well-written too, making me so nervous for Carly anytime she did something that seemed dumb. (There were a lot of suspense/horror tropes in this book, but that made it fun!).
The ending was a bit predictable, but that doesn’t mean that it was any less entertaining. I found this book super readable and really fun. I could see this one being a really fun read in October when you want to get some ghostly vibes. All in all, this was a 4 star read for me! Have you read this one? What did you think?