The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James


Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Title: The Sun Down Motel
Author: Simone St. James
Genre: Thriller
Audience: Adult
Format: Hardcover
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Source: Book of the Month
Reminded Me Of: The Shining


The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…


This is a supernatural thriller. The ghosts are real. This is not a spoiler; this is something the reader needs to know and expect before starting this book in order to fully appreciate the story. This is kind of like The Shining lite, with less horror but lots of suspense.

This book was SO creepy and spooky. I personally LOVED the supernatural elements and think they made the book stand out.

Carly and Viv were both great, strong female characters, and I loved how the mystery unfolded across time in their parallel investigations. Simone St. James did a great job pacing the twists multiple timelines, with a reveal in the past influencing the present, and vice versa. The way all the pieces came together was brilliant.

Viv really got to me. I admired the passion with which she fought to get justice for the murdered women, never giving up her search for the truth even when her friends and the police warned her it was too dangerous. She never gave up on uncovering what really happened to those women. I also loved the female solidarity between Viv, Marnie, and Alma. Terrible things happened, but those women stuck together and supported each other through it all.

AND THE ENDING. The suspense ramped up so high throughout the last few chapters and had my heart racing so fast that I thought it might kill me! It probably didn’t help that I finished this book while home alone with no background noise, but I can feel my pulse increasing now, as I write my review days later, just thinking about it! This book was so ridiculously well written. I know it’s only January, but I’m already calling this as my favorite thriller of 2020. This will be hard for anything to top.

Author: Caroline | Carolibrary

Hello! I’m Caroline! I am a teacher, a book lover, and a nerd. My passions include reading, writing, bookstagram, barre & yoga, baking, binging TV shows, and Star Wars. I love stories in all formats because they can transport you to a different world while helping you understand the world around you. I have always found books to be a particularly magical source of imagination.

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