Review: The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel
Author: Simone St. James
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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…

The Sun Down Motel isn’t a book I would normally reach for. I like a good thriller, but a ghost story isn’t my thing at all. I ended up with The Sun Down Motel after accidentally forgetting to cancel my Book of the Month subscription. It sat around for a couple of months until I was in the mood to challenge myself. I’m really happy I ended up with a copy of it because it was a fantastic read — ghosts and all.

The mystery of the dead and missing girls was fascinating to me. I loved how it was woven between Viv and Carly’s point of views. Their stories were similar and yet completely different. I enjoyed adding up all the revelations  and being surprised at some of the twists and turns.

The ghost aspect of this story creeped me out. I have to admit that I could only read it during the day. I am a wimp when it comes to that stuff, so take this comment with a grain of salt. Once I got used to the ghosts and what was happening, I didn’t get as freaked out. I loved how the Sun Down Hotel became a character of its own through the ghosts who inhabited it.

I don’t want to give anything away about this book, so I’m just going to leave everything else unsaid. The Sun Down Motel was a well written thriller infused with just the right amount of horror. I was immediately drawn into it and felt its pull the entire time I was reading it. I highly recommend reading it.

21 thoughts on “Review: The Sun Down Motel”

  1. Wow, this one sounds like it has such a creepy vibe. I love the dual timeline/POV aspect. It seems like it would make the story unfold in such an interesting way. I’m glad this was such a hit for you, Deanna!

    1. Thanks! It was creepy in the best way. Not my normal read, but I loved pushing the boundaries.

  2. So glad you loved it!! I’m interested in reading The Broken Girls next. Have you read it yet?

  3. I am very intrigued! This sounds like one that I would be reading during the daylight hours as well. I will add this to my fall TBR because it sounds perfect for Halloween. 🙂

      1. It’s definitely right up my alley! I’m hoping to be able to make time for it as soon as I’ve worked to a pile of pending ARCs.

    1. LOL. Yeah, the ghosts were pretty creepy, but I kind of just went with it. 😉

  4. There’s something about this book cover that has just seemed so intriguing to me. I knew it was a thriller, but I didn’t realize ghosts were involved. I want to pick it up, but like you, I’ll have to read it during the day time!

    1. That cover is really attractive. There’s something about the colors and creepy hotel.

  5. I just finished this one last night so waited to read your review. It was such a great read, I loved how Viv and Carly’s narratives almost mirrored one another. I wasn’t sure I would like the ghost element but somehow it just fit here and I think it’s why I kept reading as I wanted to know more about why they were there and find out what the story was to The Sun Down Motel.

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