Updated: Mar 30, 2020
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a unique supernatural mystery/thriller revolving around a string of missing girls and a creepy motel. It is one of those books that does not fit entirely in a single genre because of it's uniqueness. Simon St. James' writing is just plain spooky. This book was a perfect vacation read and had me hooked from the very beginning. I could vividly imagine this creepy motel and it's patrons and I NEEDED to know how it ended.
The Sun Down Motel takes place in dual timelines and revolves around a desolate town in upstate New York and this seedy motel. In 1982, Viv Delaney works the night shift at the Sun Down. Her job does not entail much other than sitting in the front office, assisting any patrons that linger by, and calling the police if there is any rucus on the property. Something is not quite right about the Sun Down and seemingly out of nowhere, Viv vanishes, never to be seen again. Flash forward 30 years and Viv's niece, Carly, does not want to rest until she learns what happened to her late aunt. Carly ventures to upstate New York and finds herself following in the ghostly footsteps of Viv.
I enjoyed the supernatural aspect of this book. Ghosts always add a new dimension to your typical mystery and I could appreciate that aspect. The Sun Down Motel has received a lot of attention lately and I felt like that skewed my expectations. The dual timelines keeps the book moving along quickly and the sense of place is highly atmospheric, but the ending did not blow me away. I felt the build up was great, but the last few chapters were a bit too tidy for me. One complaint I have is the dual timelines were a bit confusing at first. I had a hard time remembering who did what/knew what between Viv and Carly. Parts of Viv and Carly's stories overlapped at times, but about halfway through the story becomes more clear.
The Sun Down Motel is not your typical thriller/mystery, which is all the more reason you should give it a read. At just over 300 pages, it is one you will finish in one or two sittings. It has the creep factor, but is not one that you need to read with the lights on. While the ending was not anything I would write home about, the book was worth the read. Check this one out if you are in the mood for something outside of the norm, you will not be disappointed.