Good Reads, Lifestyle

Good Reads Challenge Book Review: The Sun Down Motel

What’s up “fam”..Welcome back to the blog.

“The person who could be truly alone, in the company of no one but oneself and one’s own thoughts—that person was stronger than anyone else. More ready. More prepared.” –Simone St. James

Hello friends, and how are you? I hope you’re doing well, getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, focusing on your mental health, and giving yourself grace.

I think I’m slowing down on the reading, but not on purpose.  Of course, I have more books open where I’ve stopped and started, and I’m trying to finish ARCs and audiobooks.  There (just) aren’t enough hours in the day.  Also, it takes time for me to sit down and flip through a physical copy or read a Kindle book (which is not an excuse…I’m just sayin’). However, I’m still two books ahead on my GR Challenge, and I’m powering through.  Today my review is the novel “The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James.

The Review

Title | The Sun Down Motel
Author | Simone St.James
Format | Libby [Kindle]
Pages/Hours | 327
Published  | February, 2020
Genre |  Mystery, Horror, Thriller, Crime, Paranormal
GR Rating | 4.02
Purchase | Amazon


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 nationally bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

My Rating (4.75 ⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Another St. James title I truly enjoyed, the Sun Down Motel, has been on my list since I read her last title, “The Book of Cold Cases.”  This was a Libby read. It’s about 327 pages, so I got through it as quickly as I could.

This story floats between a disappearance (murder) in 1986 back to its present time of 2017 and starts with our protagonist, Carly, who has been unhappy since her mother died.  Carly wanted to know what happened to her Aunt Viv, who disappeared in 1986.  Even on her deathbed, her mother never told Carly the truth.  Carly leaves school to clear her mind and search for answers about Aunt Viv. In the mix is Carly’s brother. He thinks that she should stay in school and stay focused because that’s what their mother would have wanted. Carly avoids him at all costs, letting him know she’s OK, but she needs time away.

Quote from The Sun Down Motel
“For the odd girls, the nerdy girls, and the murderinos. This one is yours.”

The book is [mainly] about an award-winning scientist, Evelyn Caldwell, who paved the way with her groundbreaking research in her field. This is where the story begins because Evelyn is on her way to accepting an award, but you also get a sense of how uncomfortable she is at this event and that her husband is missing.

Evelyn and her husband, Nathan, are divorced, and it’s pretty clear that he’s with someone else, but everything has a bitter sting from this point. Science fiction, in my opinion, is usually long and daunting because you have to set the environment and create this world to give us backstory and context, which can take some time. This story was no different, as it details Evelyn’s background in her field, her mannerisms with her assistant, and how she treats her colleagues. The book goes back from the past through the present, her childhood, and her relationship with her parents, which played a big part in her adult life.

Quote from The Sun Down Motel
“This place is dark.” “Some of us like the dark. It’s what we know.”

There is something unusual in the way her aunt Viv disappeared. Her car was found in the parking lot of the motel, and her purse was left on the counter in the registration office with nothing taken. Viv had disappeared without a trace.

As fate would have it, Carly arrives in Upstate NY, the last place her aunt was seen. She begins researching The Sun Down Motel and decides to take a job there as the night clerk (the same as her aunt Viv) in the hopes that she can reveal what happened on that fateful night.

Throughout the story, there would be strange occurrences and things happening with no explanation, which is something I love about a St. James novel. There is mystery and thriller, with a paranormal aspect.

Quote from The Sun Down Motel
“I think it’s instructive to be awake in the middle of the night every once in a while. To really see what you’re missing while you’re usually sleeping.”

The small town of Fell was a place that people would pass through.  The motel was a rest spot for weary drivers, questionable transactions, and the like. The few guests who stayed there always looked out of place, lonely or searching for something.  Some clues would put Carly in contact with people willing to help or people who just wanted to forget. The motel has a dark, sinister past that locals don’t want to discuss, but all these things would play a pivotal role in the story.

Fell is known for one thing …murdered and missing girls, and when Viv learns of the murders, she connects them to the strange things happening at the Sun Down.

There is one point in the story in which I was growing weary of Viv’s character, but it’s that unrelenting nature to get people to try to listen to you when you know something is wrong and when you know danger is imminent.

Quote from The Sun Down Motel
“Her entire life in Illinois had been about what doing what other people expected, never what she actually wanted.”

This ending was a surprise, and I was not expecting the curve I was thrown into. However, it’s that type of writing style that keeps me engaged, keeps me interested, and becomes a book that I can’t put down.

The middle lagged a little, but that was OK because we needed that context to place us (the reader) where we needed to be. I did get to a point where I thought, OK, I think I’m figuring it out, and I was almost right, but not. Love this title, and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Good Read Challenge Progress

What Moves the Dead (read)
Leslie F*cking Jones (read)
The Cousins (read)
September House (read)
The Echo Wife (read)
Her Lost Soul (ARC: read)
The Black Girl Survives This One (ARC: read)
The Bad Ones (ARC: read)
The Eleven (ARC: currently reading)
The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar (Reading)

For my full Good Reads Challenge list ..check out this post.  For all the other posted reviews, check my page.

Thanks so much for visiting the blog today.  Don’t forget to follow and subscribe, as I appreciate the support. — Peace

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