Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

by Simone St. James
Release Date: February 18th 2020
2020 Berkley
Kindle Edition; 327 Pages
ISBN: 978-0440000174
ASIN: B0751K42R2
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Paranormal
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
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…
My Thoughts
The Sun Down Motel wasn't a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, but I did find it predictable, and I didn't really find it all that creepy, to be honest.  I guess the real issue I had with this book is that there was really no meat or guts to the story as most of it was so strongly based on the paranormal element that the mystery just kind of fell flat. 

The story is told from both Carly and Vivian's POV and this is sort of where the author lost me.  And if you read my reviews, you know that I am a fan of alternating POVs, but I think it sort of backfired in this case.  Vivian was a busybody, sticking her nose where it didn't belong, chasing this person whom she thought was a serial killer just because she had a 'gut instinct' about him, badgering the police.  And don't even get me talking about the police response to Vivian's disappearance and all of the conspiracy theories.  It's not that I didn't like Vivian as a character, I did, but as the story progressed, she was kind of annoying in this pestering sort of way, putting her nose in business that really wasn't her concern, and she caused all sorts of problems for people because of it.  I mean, wasn't what she did stalking?  I wish the author had come up with a slightly better way to get her story across than that. 

Carly was a bit more interesting, and I related to her a bit more.  Anyone who has this to say about libraries is a friend forever: "Libraries were my places. I was that girl who maxed out her library card every week, starting with The Hobbit and The Witch of Blackbird Pond and moving up from there. I could kill an hour by wandering into an unfamiliar part of the Dewey Decimal System and checking it out." (p102). Oh, boy, can I relate!!! The biggest problem with the story lines though, is that they overlapped, and were quite similar.  By the time I was halfway through, I was getting a bit bored and I had to push through to the end.  
While I typically enjoy this author's writing a lot more as her writing style is fun and interesting, this one felt more like one of those horror movies where you yell at the silly characters who goes outside to check on that noise and ends up dead.  There were some ghosts I just didn't see the purpose for while others showed up, and it became more interesting, only for it to go nowhere, or back to another alternating POV,  I just couldn't figure out why the author had her characters do some of the things they did, and one of them was a police officer.  It just didn't make sense to me.
I realize that lots of people loved this book and that is fine, but unfortunately, this was not my favourite book by this author.  I did really like some parts of it, but on the other hand, really disliked other parts of it.  The book was easy to read, it was spooky, it had all the elements of a good story, but I had no interest in the main characters and thought some of the things they did were silly, and the alternating story lines bogged down the plot.  While I would normally recommend a book, I think this one I would leave up to the reader to see as I am in the minority on this one.  Happy reading everyone!!



  1. this sounds like a cozy mystery to me and while i do enjoy reading them, they are the blow my mind kind of books for me. i do like the cover and have seen this around and it catches my eye every time
    sherry @ fundinmental