Review- The Sun Down Motel

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Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

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The night it all ended, Vivian was alone.

New favourite mystery alert!! I need to read more thrillers set in motels- they make for the perfect backdrop to a spooky story.

There is something about this kind of mystery that works for me. It is not psychological or domestic- it is a bit quieter and slower moving. The atmosphere is what makes this book so compelling and eerie. You never quite know what is going on and whether or not the paranormal elements are real. I was constantly second guessing myself.

What also makes this book so special is that, at its heart, it is a human story. It is told in two timelines- one in 1982 and the other in 2017. The familial connection between the characters in the separate timelines adds a level of intrigue and helps the reader to become even more invested in their stories. Viv and Carly are lead down similar paths and part of what made the book so interesting was noticing these parallels. There are many times when I read a mystery that I don’t have a lot of clarity on a character’s motivations, but that was not the case with The Sun Down Motel. Both Viv and Carly had different driving forces that were equally compelling. In a lot of ways, this a coming of age story about these two characters venturing out on their own for the first time.

The side characters also shone in this story. Some of them get really invested in the mystery and you find yourself wondering why.

It is so rare that I love a mystery this much. It is right up there with The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, which is a book I talk about here often. If you are looking for a book to read around Halloween, The Sun Down Motel would be a perfect choice!

  • Characters: 9
  • Atmosphere/Setting: 10
  • Writing Style:  9
  • Plot: 9
  • Intrigue: 10
  • Logic/Relationships: 9
  • Enjoyment: 9

Overall CAWPILE score: 65/7=9.2

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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