“The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James – Book Review #FFRC2020

Fell, New York, is a small town that has somehow escaped progress. A town where the library still has paper archives, cell phone reception is sketchy at best, and a town with a history of dead and missing girls.

As with all remote small towns, there is a motel. An old style motel where there are no computers, real keys for the rooms, and a pool which hasn’t held water for decades…

Oh… and did I mention?  This motel is haunted.

Two young women, thirty-five years apart, work at The Sun Down Motel as its night clerk.

A few years ago I read “The Broken Girls” by Simone St. James which made me very eager to read this, her latest novel, “The Sun Down Motel“.

Told in dual timelines, both of the female protagonists were empathetic characters. Both were driven, tenacious young women. However, both were so similar that at times I found it difficult to discern which timeline I was reading.

Set in Upstate New York, in a poorly maintained motel, the story was both a crime thriller and a ghost story. The eerie setting, with the almost unchanged motel, gives the reader the chills. Motel lights going off and on – motel unit doors opening and closing of their own accord… Creepy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the crime elements of this story, though the ghost story seemed far-fetched at times. That is not to say that it did not hold my interest, only that compared to this author’s previous book “The Broken Girls“, the ghost story element seemed less believable somehow.

All in all, I enjoyed the read, but found it a tad ‘hokey’ in parts. It would make an excellent horror movie. I recommend this novel to all readers who enjoy a good ghost story, and who don’t mind stretching your imagination that extra little bit.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars for Goodreads and Amazon

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Berkley/Penguin via Edelweiss.

Available for purchase February 18, 2020

ISBN: 9780440000174
336 pages

The Sun Down Motel” fulfilled one of the criteria for the Bookblogger’s Fiction Reading Challenge #FFRC2020, so I get to put one check mark on my checklist:

Simone St. James‘ debut novel, THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE, won two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. AN INQUIRY INTO LOVE AND DEATH was nominated for another Arthur Ellis Award, and SILENCE FOR THE DEAD was shortlisted for a Goodreads Choice Award.

Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat. You can find her on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodreads, and Pinterest (though not all at once).

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Canadian fiction, Edelweiss, ghost stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James – Book Review #FFRC2020

  1. carhicks says:

    I am also reading this one for the second prompt in the #FFRC2020 challenge. I am not big on ghost stories either, but some are okay. I guess hokey might be better for me though. Nice review Lynne.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins says:

    I feel like I’m seeing this one EVERYWHERE already, it’s getting a lot of coverage! From your review, I’m not sure about the ghost aspect (I’m not hugely into “supernatural” stuff, it always seems like a bit of a cop out), but the mystery/crime elements would probably be enough to reel me in. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul's Picks says:

    I posted my review today too:)

    Yeah, I agree. Def some “hokey” parts that I had to get through too. I like the premise though. I driven by so many of these motels over the years… makes me want to take a second look, creepy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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