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Sun Down Motel


Title: The Sun Down Motel
Author: Simone St. James
Synopsis:  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…
Publisher:  Berkley
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

"This place is dark.” “Some of us like the dark. It’s what we know.”


After the death of her mother, Carly finds herself in Fell, NY, a small town where her aunt disappeared without a trace. For unknown reasons, Carly's mom refused to talk about Vivian, the sister that took off and never came home. This bothers Carly, so she sets out to find the truth.


Fell is one of those small towns stuck in the past. Apparently the technology age hasn't hit yet and it is quite annoying. Carly has no cell reception. She has to read through paper archives in the library since nothing is digital or online. And there is something super creepy about a town with a history of missing and dead girls and a police force seriously lacking in the equality of genders in their officers.


With the promise of a nearby theme park, the Sun Down Motel was built in the late 70s as a hopeful way to take advantage of the tourism. When that plan crashed and burned, the owners were stuck with a business investment they didn't really care about. Viv appears in 1982 and quickly gets a job at the night attendant. In her new position, she meets and befriends the only female officer and a local PI. With their help, Viv investigates the murders of three local women. Unfortunately, this is the most dangerous adventure she has ever embarked on.


Thirty-five years later, Carly arrives at the Sun Down Motel and quickly takes up the same job her aunt had previously. Quickly she finds the outdated motel eerie and possibly haunted. Will Carly be able to track her aunt's final days and find out what really happened?


This was a graphic murder mystery with a side of supernatural. Written from the duel timeline POVs of Viv in 1982 and her niece, Carly, in present time. The switch between the timelines was well done. I enjoyed the "who done it" crumb trail, although I did find it somewhat too predictable.


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