“An Unwanted Guest” by Shari Lapena – Book Review

The ten guests that are staying at Mitchell’s Inn in the Catskills all have their own personal and diverse reasons for being there.

Criminal defense attorney David Paley is there to unwind from a stressful career and to escape the whispers and innuendo that follow him everywhere since his wife’s tragic death.

Gwen Delaney has brought her friend Riley Shuter here to rest and relax. Riley is a war correspondent journalist who is suffering from PTSD. Gwen was usually the weaker of the two women, but now finds that their roles have been reversed.

Beverly and Henry Sullivan are there at Beverly’s instigation. She wants the weekend getaway to repair serious rifts in their marriage. Henry doesn’t want to be there at all, and resents his wife on several levels.

Dana Hart and Matthew Hutchinson are a engaged couple who are madly in love. They have come to the inn to recoup and escape the hectic planning for their upcoming nuptials. It is to be a large, society wedding as Matthew comes from old New England money.

Lauren Day and Ian Beeton, a unmarried couple, have come for a naughty weekend.

Finally, Candice White has come alone to the inn to work on her book. When at home, she is the caregiver for her aging mother, so she thought she’d leave the caring to her sisters to deal with and have a much needed break. Stymied with the lack of electricity to recharge her laptop, she is frustrated in her goal.


With the storm, several of the staff of the inn are unable to get to work. That leaves only the inn’s owner, James Harwood, and his son Bradley to cook and wait on the guests.

Mitchell’s Inn is a quaint, old-fashioned, family-owned hotel. James has never wanted modern CCTV cameras, and Wi-fi to mar the ambiance he has tried to create.

Police Sergeant Margaret Sorensen has her work cut out for her when she finally arrives on scene. Five people dead…

This book had the feel of a classic murder mystery with touches of modern-day thriller thrown in for good measure. Imagine it…. you are in a remote mountain resort hotel in the middle of a severe winter storm. There is no Wi-fi or cell phone reception and now the electricity is out due to the ravages of an ice storm. Then, one of your fellow guests is murdered. There is no way to contact the authorities and the roads are impassable.

The guests are completely cut off from the rest of the world. The howling wind is their constant companion..

All the elements of the classic mystery. A limited number of suspects, an isolated, atmospheric setting, and believable plotting make this novel succeed on several levels. One can’t help but compare the novel to Agatha Christie’s infamous “And Then There Were None“. The twelve characters that are in the start of the book are gradually being knocked off, one by one…

After the second murder the fear is palpable.

Claustrophobic paranoia abounds. Tensions reach breaking points, revealing the fault lines in the relationships of those assembled. Compelling stuff. The ‘reveal’ of the murderer was a complete surprise and the ending twist was brilliant. A devilishly clever whodunit that kept me guessing. Loved it!

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 at my request from Pamela Dorman Books/Random House  via Edelweiss.

ISBN: 9780525557623 –  ASIN:  B079KV32DT –  304 pages

Shari Lapena is the internationally bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House, An Unwanted Guest, Someone We Know and The End of Her. She was a lawyer and an English teacher before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Follow Shari Lapena on Twitter @sharilapena

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.
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15 Responses to “An Unwanted Guest” by Shari Lapena – Book Review

  1. Pingback: Fictionophile’s MARCH 2021 Reading Wrap-Up | Fictionophile

  2. Carla says:

    Wonderful review Lynne. I also loved this one. A locked door mystery is always intriguing.

    Like

  3. Mani says:

    Have this waiting to on my shelves but not yet gotten around to picking up but may have to move it up to the top. Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a kid I went to some hotels in the Catskills. The Neville. Grosinger’s. The Concord. There were other big ones there too. These were popular and famous resorts, but all, I think, are gone.

    Like

  5. Pink Roses says:

    Oh dear, my list is giving out but I have to read this one!

    Like

  6. Carol says:

    Twisty can be so fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Maiyah Jayne says:

    This sounds soo good, great review glad you enjoyed it

    Liked by 1 person

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