Review – The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Posted February 19, 2020 by Carole in 2020 New Release Challenge, Book Reviews / 21 Comments

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Date Read: February 7, 2020
Length: 336 pages
Source: Purchased

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 USA Today 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 there.

Upstate NY, 2017. Carly Kirk has always been fascinated by her aunt Viv who disappeared from the Sun Down before Carly was born. Using a small inheritance from when her mom dies, Carly leaves college to go to Fell to figure out what happened to her aunt thirty-five years ago.

Soon, Carly is mirroring her aunt’s life, working as the night clerk at the motel, which hasn’t changed since 1982. The guest book is still handwritten, the rooms still have actual keys, and a haunting presence still lingers. Carly discovers that Viv had been trying to unravel mysteries of her own—including a possible serial killer working in Fell. If Carly can find the answers Viv was searching for, she might be able to solve the mystery that has haunted her family for years.

My Review

I thought that this book was really good!  I have wanted to try Simone St. James’s writing for a while so I jumped at this book as soon as I saw it listed as a Book of the Month selection.  I must say that I was really impressed by this author’s ability to tell a story.  I read this book over just a few days but I really could have read it cover to cover if little things like my job and family hadn’t kept getting in the way.  I was entertained from cover to cover and am so glad I decided to give this book a try.

This book is told over two timelines.  Viv worked at the Sun Down Motel back in 1982 when she disappeared.  Her niece has always wondered what happened to her aunt and ends up working at the same motel in 2017.  I was equally entranced by both timelines.  I liked that there were some similarities including the setting and some characters but I also appreciated the unique story that each timeline had to tell.  I did like the way that everything came together in the end.

I loved the atmosphere in this book.  I wouldn’t say that I was ever frightened but I did enjoy the fact that there was a creepy feel throughout much of the story.  I liked the fact that the author wasn’t afraid to throw a bit of paranormal activity into the story which added to its appeal. 

I really liked the characters in this book.  Viv and Carly were both strong individuals that were determined to get the facts that they were looking for.  I liked the friends that Carly made in Fell and thought that their knowledge of the history of the town added a lot to the story.  Some of the other characters, like the former night officer, also made a huge impact in both timelines.

I would recommend this book to others.  I found this book to be quite the page-turner and found it really hard to put the book aside until I learned what happened to both Viv and Carly.  I can’t wait to read more of this talented author’s work.

About the Author

Simone St. James is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls, Lost Among the Living, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

21 responses to “Review – The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

  1. RO

    I love this cover, and the story sounds like a really interesting read! I can imagine working at a place like that and getting immersed in the history and meeting lots of neat new friends. Hugs, RO

  2. I like the premise of this book, the atmosphere sounds quite intriguing and I just love that the story is told over two timelines. That always seem to particularly drag me into a read and pique my curiosity even more! I can't wait for you to get more of this story, and I'll keep in mind your recommendation 😀

  3. This really was such a good read! I'm also excited to read more from this author. And I agree – Alma was a great character threaded through both timelines!

    Great review. 🙂

  4. My review was today too – audio version – and I really enjoyed it. I was worried for Viv with being alone so much but she did have a couple friends. Fantastic review!

    Anne – Books of My Heart

  5. Anonymous

    I want to pick this one up so badly! Your review makes it sound even better that I was already hoping it would be too!

  6. I keep skimming the reviews for this but it sounds so good, I'm definitely going to try it. Glad it worked for you! I'm definitely going to get this one and move it up on my to read pile! 🙂

  7. I really liked this one, too. It's creepy and engrossing. I read it almost in one sitting because I just had to know what was going to happen next!

  8. I have seen everyone really enjoying this one lately. Sometimes you don't need to feel frightened, but having a sustaining creepy feeling can be enough for me to be so happy with a book or film. It gives me chills!