Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Title: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Supernatural, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.


The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is an eerie mystery with ghostly elements.

In 1982, twenty-year old Viv Delaney leaves home to pursue an acting career only to end up working at a motel in Fell, NY.  Hired for the overnight shift, she is terrified by the supernatural phenomena that occurs during the dead of the night.  Viv is also very curious about the deaths of several young women in the local area.  She starts looking into the murders in hopes of unmasking a potential serial killer. Viv then inexplicably vanishes  one night while on shift but her case soon goes cold.

In 2017, Viv’s niece Carly Kirk makes her own journey to Fell, NY in hopes of learning what happened to her aunt. Following in Viv’s footsteps, she too is hired to work the graveyard shift at the motel.  Carly also experiences the otherworldly occurrences. With the help of her roommate Heather and motel guest Nick Harkness, Carly’s search for Viv eventually leads to the old, still unsolved murders. With more investigative tools at hand, she unearths some very intriguing details about the cases, but will Carly uncover the truth about Viv and the killer?

The novel alternates between Viv’s story in the past and events playing out in the present. The motel itself is both a character and setting and it is overwhelmingly oppressive. The ghostly happenings are rather chilling and extremely unnerving. The pacing is somewhat slow and the storyline is a little repetitive. Viv and Carly are tenacious as they try to solve the murders. Viv becomes rather reckless in her quest for the truth and this adds tension to the plot. Carly’s part of the story is more compelling and the addition of Heather and Nick to the investigation adds another layer to the unfolding drama.

The Sun Down Motel is a wonderful blend of mystery and supernatural. The ghostly aspect of the storyline is unsettling and intriguing as curious minds try to decipher the reason they are haunting the motel. With some very unexpected plot twists, Simone St. James brings this fascinating mystery to an exciting conclusion.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Simone St James, Supernatural Elements, Suspense, The Sun Down Motel

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