If ever you wanted a story to make you think twice about staying in a hotel, The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is for you. In fact, it is a pretty fitting story right now since we should not be traveling anyway. After all, a haunted hotel where bad things tend to happen will all but eliminate any wanderlust.
I don’t know why, since I adored Ms. St. James’ other novel Broken Girls, but The Sun Down Motel surprised me with its impressive mix of suspense and quirk. It is one of the few dual narrator/dual timeline stories that I thoroughly enjoyed in recent years. Plus, there is an unexpected feminist element to the story that I loved.
It takes a lot for a story to get under my skin, but The Sun Down Motel spooked me quite a bit. I will confess to having to set the book aside a few times because a particular scene was bothering me. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I kept reading.
I will admit to deducing the ending before the reveal. I beat the reveal by a few pages, and I am perfectly okay with that. Mysteries I can solve a few pages before the author unveils the answer never bother me. Plus, there are so many other aspects of the story to enjoy of which the mystery’s resolution is one small part.
The Sun Down Motel is a chilling and impressive suspense novel that keeps you on your toes with its many shifts and twists. With its elements of feminist revenge and haunted motel vibe, it makes for a great self-isolation read that will help you while away a few hours. It might also cure you of any desire to travel right now, something we all need as we head into our second week of self-isolation.