The Sun Down Motel

Original Title:The Sun Down Motel
Published Date:18th Feb 2020
Publisher:Berkley
ISBN:9780440000174
Edition Language:English
Format:Hardcover
Number of Pages:327 Pages
Rating :
About Simone St. James
Simone St. James is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of The Sun Down Motel, The Broken Girls and The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two RITA awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives outside Toronto, Canada with her husband and a spoiled cat.

The Sun Down Motel Overview

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…

The Sun Down Motel Reviews

  • O.M.G. 😱😱😱!!!! This was a GREAT book! I’m not one to hand out 5 star ratings. But I loved this creepy story!! ❤️For me a 5 star equals: Great characters Great setting Great storyPlus: I don’t want to put it down and I think about the story even when not reading it, because it’s just that great!!This was told on two time lines:Viv in the early 80’sCarly (Viv’s niece) in present day They both worked the night shift at a very haunted motel. But obviously there’s even more to this mysterious story. It really sucked me in... I just loved it!!I listened to this very creepy audiobook, which was narrated very well, btw. Anyway, I was finishing it up well past bedtime last night and I had to keep pausing it because every sound in the house was creeping me out!!Highly recommend this one, if you like ghost stories/mysteries! ❤️📚
    more
  • Can a ghost story be boring? Unfortunately, the answer is yes.In The Sun Down Motel, Vivian works the night shift at the front desk of a creepy motel. She sees some ghosts haunting the place and starts digging around. Soon she realizes that some of the deaths around town may be connected. But one night, she disappears without a trace. Thirty-five years later, her niece Carly shows up, hoping to figure out what happened her aunt. Carly also gets a job as a front desk clerk on the night shift. Soon she's digging around and being haunted by ghosts too.This story bored me to sleep, literally. The problem is, if you take out the ghosts, not much happens. And the ghosts were mostly only there in the beginning of the story to precipitate the two girls' investigations.The majority of the story centers around Vivian and Carly, each in their own timeline, putting their lives on hold to bumble around, sticking their noses where they don't belong. In Vivian's case, she zeroes in on a guy solely because she has a gut feeling that he's a bad person. Let's think about this for a second. If he really was the guilty party, then she's going around following a killer. If he's not guilty, then she's just harassing and stalking an innocent person. I know stories have to have some sort of premise in order to tell their tale, but this just stretched beyond credibility. The two girls' parallel story lines have a lot of overlap, so it often feels like I'm being told something I already know. And it doesn't help that the two women have pretty much the same personality (extremely nosy and weirdly obsessed with digging into people's deaths beyond what is safe or healthy). More than once, I forgot whose point of view I was reading and it didn't really matter. It's like watching a campy horror movie where you could see the main characters doing one stupid thing after another, and they just get more and more into trouble. And it's not clear why they are doing this. Both can leave at anytime, especially when weird stuff starts happening. I just don't understand their motivation, and it prevented me from connecting with the main characters.And even when the story mercifully seems to have wrapped up, it somehow kept going on some more. There were extra unnecessary characters and ghosts who seem to have no purpose other than to make the story longer and more convoluted.Lots of people loved this book, so this was clearly a case of it not being the right match for this reader. I trudged on when I should have quit. I thought it would get better, but it never did. I just couldn't get into it. The whole thing was unbelievable, and it exhausted me.
    more
  • 3.5 stars. I didn’t read too much into the book and I was hoping it would be all like....Nope, it was s mystery/thriller with some paranormal things. Oh well. I love that freaking cover!! Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
  • Great compelling murder mystery with supernatural elements! Carly tries to find out why her aunt Viv vanished from Sun Down Motel 35 years ago. Was she murdered? Did she really die? When working as night shift at the Sun Down Motel herself, Carly comes across an intriguing story about a series of women being killed within a couple of years. Was it the same killer or were several killers involved? Who was the killer and why was the police not able to track him down? Why did Viv vanish without a trace? What about Alma, the night police officer and Marnie, the photographer and their involvement into the story? True crime at its best with a nail biting plot, an interesting narrative perspective (split between Viv's story set in 1982 and Carly's in 2017). I also liked the ending. If you're looking for a supernatural crime story with references to Stephen King, Amityville and of course Psycho this is the book you have to turn to. Spellbinding and highly recommended!
    more
  • I don’t know the extent of creepiness of Stephen King’s books since I haven’t read any of them, but The Sun Down Motel definitely carries a portion of that spine tingling spookiness in its eerie setting. I had no idea this book features angry vengeful mean looking ghosts. I was unprepared! But also secretly loving all the jump out of my skin surprises.In the year 1982, Vivian Delaney was working the night shift as a clerk at The Sun Down Motel when she suddenly disappeared into thin air leaving only the mystery behind her disappearance unsolved. Now 35 years later, the tragedy brings Carly Kirk to the small town of Fell, New York, in hopes of finding answers to what actually happened to her long lost aunt.The book is told in alternating timelines between 1982 in Viv’s POV (3rd person) and 2017 in Carly’s POV (1st person). Both of these point of views complement and overlap with each other. Viv’s chapters guide us through the events leading up to her disappearance. Meanwhile, Carly’s expose more of the ‘investigation’ side of things.I loved being in their heads, especially Viv’s, because hers gave me the most chills. The downside to this setup is that sometimes the chapters get repetitious. We’ll figure things out ahead of Carly bcs of what is revealed in Viv’s chapters. Then we’ll have to go over the same revelations and wait for Carly to catch up.I’m satisfied with how everything ties up. However, I also think the big showdown at the end is a little anticlimactic and rushed. This book shines light to the many dangers women are vulnerable to and portrays an unyielding female solidarity among some of the characters, both of which I truly appreciate.This book balances a whodunit thriller with paranormal elements remarkably well. Read this book if you’re looking for a story that is filled with serial killers on the loose, missing dead girls turning up in random places, and haunted motels. A gripping tale that will give you a good scare while also get your brain ticking scrambling for clues. (Read as an Audiobook)
    more
  • DNF. This book just wasn't for me. I have to have the Fictive Dream, I have to be immersed in it. It just wasn't here. Great concept, though. This book has two different points of view in two different time periods. It's hard enough for an author to maintain character, cadence and forward motion of the story in one time period and hold the reader's attention. With the two pov's and time periods this becomes two separate books. And in this case I kept getting dumped out of the story. Part of it was a coincidence needed to make a plot point work. I'm not big on any form of coincidence in novels, even though they do occur in real life. The other part that I didn't care for was the closing of the doors without a logical explanation. Which, is fine in itself but the character, in my view didn't have the correct reaction (M.A.R). Motivation Action, Reaction.This is the second book in a row that I did not finish. I bought the hardcovers for both. I will keep this one and give it another try down the road. Later, I may be in a different place emotionally, especially with whats going on out in the real world.d.
    more
  • 4.5So good! When I first saw the cover of this book many months ago, I was drawn to it, without even reading up on what it was about. A haunting and mysterious read... two timelines, but.. things are not much different in the bizarre happenings that took place at this roadside motel in 1982 and then in 2017. Ghosts are involved and they are very active😮Recommended for a fast and entertaining read!!
    more
  • HOT DAMN! This was SO GOOD! Creepy, chilling, atmospheric, brilliant. Bravo Simone St. James! This book will make you believe in ghosts. Lights turning on and off, doors opening and closing, the smell of cigarette smoke in the air, a hint of perfume, a woman in a floral dress telling you to “run“. After the death of her mother Carly heads to upstate New York with the intention of solving a family mystery. In 1982 Carly‘s aunt Vivian disappeared from the town of Fell, New York never to be seen again. 37 years later and Carly finds herself not only living in the same apartment as her aunt, but also working at the same motel and encountering the same ghosts. Told in dual timelines from the perspectives of both Carly and Viv. I loved how the two stories mimicked one another but they both had a unique voice to them. I thought that St. James did a marvelous job of showcasing how almost The same investigation was executed 37 years apart. All the technical advancements, computers, cell phones, Internet, however the Sun Down motel seems unchanged. Loved puzzling the Mystery together with both Carly and Viv. I have to say these ladies were either much braver or much stupider than me, because I would’ve been so out of there the minute I saw those doors opening and closing! They both really did put themselves in ridiculously dangerous positions, it’s like when you’re watching a scary movie and hoping the person just runs out of the house. I wouldn’t say this book was scary necessarily, but it was a whole lot of creepy! Exceptional storytelling that completely sucked me in and would not let me go until the last word.This book in emojis 🏨 👻 📓 🚪 💼 *** Big thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
    more
  • 4.5 stars! A creepy, chilling and intense tale about the unsolved disappearance of a girl from a spooky motel, and her niece who tried to solve the mystery.1982, Vivian Delaney was working as a night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, NY, where something wasn't quite right. She disappeared into thin air, leaving an unsolved mystery...2017, Vivian's niece Carly arrives in Fell looking for answers. But as Carly gets the same job working the night shift that her aunt worked, she finds herself getting sucked into the same mysteries that drew her aunt in.OMG I loved this! The creepy atmosphere of the seedy roadside Sun Down Motel, frankly terrified me, it was a fantastic setting for a story! I was completely immersed in the The Sun Down Motel, it had me by the throat! I was so tense reading it, and felt this sense of impending doom, which made my heart race, and my palms sweat! I couldn't read it at night, I had to take deep breaths, and put the book down frequently! I am a total wimp, I admit it, but I just couldn't stay away from this book!Ahh it was so eerie! I loved the way that Simone St. James wove the supernatural seamlessly into this intriguing mystery/thriller. It was genuinely terrifying and chilling experiencing the paranormal through Vivian, and I could just sense the danger as I was reading. I also felt so scared for both Viv and Beth, as they worked the nightshift at that creepy place, they were both so vulnerable.The dual POV of Viv from 1982, and Carly in 2017 worked so well for me, it was so well written, and it was great how the two timelines came together. I was also really into the 1980's vibe, and Carly's take on it all in 2017! And that cover?? I know I say this a lot, but someone really should make the movie of this! It played out like a film in my mind as I read it, and I felt like I was actually there with the girls in the pitch black. I could hear the doors bang open, and hear the ice machine click. I could smell the cigarette smoke. I got chills up my spine, and had such a bad feeling!I didn't give it the full five stars, as I felt the ending was slightly rushed. I also got the girls timelines confused at some parts, since Carly was mirroring Viv's life in Fell, so it was at times very similar. Although, I see why the author wrote it like that.Overall, this was a fantastic book, which I really enjoyed/was terrified of, and I do really recommend it! I am definitely looking up Simone St. James's other books, starting with The Broken Girls.Many thanks to Edelweiss and Berkley for making this digital ARC available for download!
    more
  • Many thanks to Danielle at Berkley Publishing Group for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review I’ve lived in this town all my life. Gone is gone. I have to admit… this book was much scarier than I expected it to be. I went in expecting a classic mystery/thriller but this ended up being a lot more than that. So, what’s this book about? 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. But before she can uncover the truth, she disappears, never to be seen again.Years later, her niece Carly has come to fell and is exploring the same mysteries. Only time will tell if she reveals the truth or disappears just like her aunt did.From the synopsis, I went into this novel expecting a straightforward mystery but this book went a lot deeper than that.There were quite a few supernatural elements sprinkled throughout the novel so that it had an eerie, creepy tone which I loved.This novel also has two different storylines. Viv’s and Carly’s. Viv is in the past and Carly is in the present. The author did an excellent job of weaving the storylines together and using the to expertly reveal twists.Overall, this novel was eerie, twisty, and very well paced!Bottom Line:4 StarsAge Rating - [ R ]Content Screening (Mild Spoilers)Educational Value (2/5) - [Digitizing information, Police procedurals]Positive Messages (2/5) - [Persistence, Avengement?]Violence (4/5) - [Murder, Sexual Abuse, Injury]Sex (0/0)Language (3/5) - [F**k, sh*t, d*mn]Drinking/Drugs (3/5) - [Alcohol consumption]Publication Date:Publisher: Berkley Publishing GroupGenre: Mystery/Thriller---------------------4 stars! Review to come!-----------------➵ Buddy Read with Miranda Reads| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
    more
  • 5 Stars“The Sun Down Motel” is Some Kind of Creeptastic! Fell, New York.Summer 1982: When Vivian Delaney arrives at The Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York, in the Summer of 1982, she is offered a job as the Night Clerk. Little does she know the place is haunted. The pungent smell of cigarette smoke. Locked hotel room doors swinging open and shut at odd hours. A woman in a floral dress appearing in the middle of the night. A young boy roaming round.When Vivian Delaney goes missing one night November of 1982 at The Sun Down, never to be seen again, questions arise.2017: After losing her mother, Carly decides to travel to Fell to investigate the disappearance of her Aunt Vivian. Talk about Dejavu! The Sun Down Motel is still standing and is in need of a Night Clerk. Enter Carly, walking in her Aunt’s shoes, smelling Cigarette smoke in the air, seeing hotel room doors swing open and shut, and a woman in a floral dress appear in the middle of the night.Has anyone heard of stranger danger or is that just me? Boy oh boy did this novel make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! What a wonderfully creepy novel this is! Simone St. James sure knows how to create atmosphere. A character driven mystery / suspense that will make your heart stop and your breath catch, “The Sun Down Motel” is not to be missed. This was a buddy read with Kaceey and we both really liked it.Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and Simone St. James for the ARC. Posted on Goodreads on 1.25.20.
    more
  • OMG I am speechless! Well not really..but can I give this book 10 stars??!!! Adding this to my list of all time favorite thrillers. Yes, it was that good. So many good things about this book, where do I even start?I think what made this book so special was the feelings it gave me. The creepy, chills down my spine- feelings I had the entire book! I am not sure how an author can manage to spin such an atmospheric feel with words that you are entirely caught up in the whole vibe. How is this really possible? It is though...trust me. I was at the Sun Down Motel..yep I was. I could hear the ice maker rattling down the hallway, I could smell the musty smell of years of neglect. I could feel myself gearing up for fight or flight as I knew something really bad was going to happen. I could visualize the dirty carpet and thin, stained bedspreads....Eww....That is just one of the many factors that made this book absolutely fantastic. The story line was so interesting that I was captivated the whole time. With a dual time line of an aunt that had gone missing in 1982 and her niece who wanted answers to questions in 2017, it constantly kept you are your toes. Especially when Carly decides to work at the Sun Down Motel doing the exact same job as her aunt Viv did twenty years prior. Did I mention Viv went to work one night and never came home? Not much has changed at The Sun Down Motel. No flipping way would I last one single night there.....hells to the NO! As you guessed it, I loved this book. Perhaps going to be my favorite book of the year? Okay I hear you, it is only January 15th but I guarantee we will be having this same conversation at the end of the year. This book is that good.
    more
  • Another Booktube video - this time all about the Top 10 Books of 2020 (so far) . Now that you know this fabulous book made the list, check out the video to see the rest! "Sun Down Motel, can I help you?"Nothing. Just the faint sound of breathing. There's a terrible secret hidden within the walls of the run down motel just outside of Fell, New York.Thirty-five years ago, Viv Delaney began experiencing...disturbances during the night shift at the Sun Down Motel. Ones that had her questioning everything she's ever known and reality itself. What if everything I've seen, everything I think, is true? And just like that...she disappeared. She felt like crying. She felt like screaming. She felt sick. In modern-day, Carly spent her life watching how that disappearance affected her mother. And when Carly's mother dies, Carly is drawn to Fell - the last known location of her Aunt Viv.At first Carly tells herself that she wants to do just a little bit of exploration - perhaps even find out what happened to her aunt.But...what started out as an innocent curiosity quickly became something much more. "Some of us like the dark. It's what we know." And almost without realizing it, Carly finds herself drawn to the location of Viv's disappearance... only realizing too late that there was something else drawing her there. ...all she could hear was her own breath sawing in and out of her lungs. Oh man.Ohhhh man.This was a wild one.First and foremost - the Sun Down Motel provided just the perfect backdrop for a truly spine-chilling tale. It had so many creepy little things and really set up the entire book.I loved the alternating view points (and this is something I don't say too often!). They were so well balanced and really gave the story that extra pop.Viv's perspective had so much mystery and played out beautifully. And I truly had no idea where Carly's view point was going - which just made me absolutely addicted to this story.The way Simone St. James interwove ghost stories and the other terrifying elements definitely brought everything together.All in all - this was a FABULOUS buddy read with Tucker the Reader!With thanks to the author and Berkley Publishing for a free copy in exchange for an honest reviewYouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads
    more
  • 4.5 Creepy Spooky Stars 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… I loved this book. I did love The Broken Girls by this author and this one is just as good. I loved the atmosphere and the spooky creepy vibe. The motel really had the creep factor going on. The Sun Down Motel is haunted and it has very creepy customers. The whole town of Fell is so spooky. This is the perfect Halloween book. It hooked me straight from the beginning and didn't let go until the end. I loved the ghost story and how it then turned into a thriller and mystery. The suspense kept me turning the pages and kept me reading into the early hours of the morning. There are several twists and turns that have me surprises. I loved the plot. I was intrigued and couldnt wait to find out what was going to happen next. I loved the two timelines and loved Viv's the best.The characters were so well developed and it was very well written. I felt so sorry for Viv.I loved Carly, she made a great investigator. Also loved Alma the cop too. The Traveling Salesman freaked me out as much as the ghosts did and then when Callum came into the story, he was scary too. I loved the ending and I highly recommend this book to those that love a spooky thriller.This was a Traveling Sister Read.I want to thank Berkley, Edelweiss and the author for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Twilight zone’s intro music blasting out in my mind: nananana!!!! I’m in the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition and I’m at the dimension of imagination….Nanana!!!I cannot sleep! I cannot move! I cannot breathe! When I was younger so much younger than today I never needed anybody’s help in anyway but even all ghost members of Beatles cannot save me! I’m numb, terrified! I’m speechless! I’m about to do something in my pants but I don’t! I barely hold myself! Thankfully, I wore diapers before reading something sooooo scary! So I’m giving my 5 gaazzzzzillion ssstaaarss (I cannot even speak or properly write, this book is so horrifying! I wish I hold my childhood Teddy bear to gather my wits but I already ripped its head when I was nine, reading Salem’s Lot! Dammit!)It’s midnight in LA, even my 24/7 partying neighbor is sleeping. My husband is still making entire Jurassic World’s sound effects by snoring loudly. But I’m alert! Eyes shut open! Already all lights in the house are turned on! I’m at the verge of hysterical breakdown, waiting to see Sun Down Motel’s ghosts banging on the door. Is this smoke I smell right now? Is this a salesman walking toward me? Who keeps knock, knock my heavenly house’s doors? Eric Clapton! Daattt! Freddy Mercury! Nope! He will rock not knock! Okay, I can’t stand anymore, dear lovely occupants of Sun Down Motel, I’m not night clerk, I’m just regular reader who loves your stories (I’m not talking about one of your friendly one named “Casper”, I actually find it overrated!) and Simone St. James did an amazing job because I didn’t eat for 8 hours, I didn’t move an inch and now my legs turned into jellies that I couldn’t move them, they’re useless right now. And of course I had limited booze service from my husband (you can imagine drinking and empty stomach could be definition of living dangerously!) I didn’t blink and I think my face is also paralyzed! I’m just looking like a survivor after over botox injections. I didn’t even visit to bathroom so my bladder already performing “Under Pressure” as a tribute to Bowie and Mercury.As a summary: This book is mind blowing, horrifying and so much better than entire horror movies I’ve watched lately. It’s better than Bad Times at the El Royale (I wish salesman Simon could dance like Chris Hemsworth but you cannot get what you want all the time!), entertaining as Bates Motel (this time night clerks are women and innocent, but we cannot say the same for the deceased occupants of the place whose souls stayed there for their unfinished businesses!) and they’re as creepy, spooky, disturbing as Overlook occupants. So we have an amazing gem is an impressive combination of Vacancy, Inkeepers and Poltergeist.In 1982 Viv Delaney, night clerk of Sun Down hotel, vanishes into thin air. They never find her corpse. Nobody knows her whereabouts. Till in the present time her niece Carly, arrives at the hotel, getting the same job her missing aunt had performed decades ago. After her mom’s sudden death because of big C, Carly is so adamant to find out what has happened to her aunt. By getting rid of the burden of the past, she feels like she may designate her own path for her own future steps.As soon as Carly arrives to Fell and starts her new gig, she’s going to find out, she’s living ten times worse experience of Paranormal Activity movie sequels and she knows who she is gonna call (of course Ghostbusters!) but there is bad reception at the hotel. The story is narrated by two people and two timelines. We move back and forth between 1982 and today. We have Viv and her niece Carly as narrators. They’re so interestingly similar each other, only their zones are different but both of them brave, smart, risk taker, loner, introverted, happy with their own terms and small things kind of ladies. ( I thought too many times, Carly could be daughter of Viv. Their instincts and approaches to the events, their actions are so similar.)Carly is too determined to find the secrets about the hotel and what happened to her aunt which puts her life in danger because she literally has to deal with the supernatural entities who could help her show the truth!!!!There are so many amazing characters such as Helen ( I visualized as Billie Lourd, only Carrie Fisher’s talented daughter could handle this creepy, weird but also loveable character.) And of course nobody knows what is like to be the sad man behind blue eyes Nick is also memorable character, hiding from his traumatic past, a great partner of crime to help Carly to solve the puzzle.I had great, terrifying time and I truly enjoyed every second of it by reading this book. Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group to share this best ARC COPY and give me early Christmas gift in exchange my honest review. And honestly guys, PLEASE READ IT, READ IT, READ IT!And special thanks to Simone St. James for creating this amazing, memorable, stunning, mind blowing masterpiece!bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
    more
  • 4.5 stars! A dark, engrossing, chilling, gothic, suspenseful, atmospheric, mysterious thriller! Loved it!!!After her mother’s death, Carly moves to the small town of Fell, to investigate the disappearance of her mothers sister, Vivian. Decades earlier, Carly’s aunt Vivian took a job as the night clerk at the remote Sun Down Motel. Unexplained strange things happen at this motel including the disappearance of Vivian from her shift one night. Police investigation provides no answers as to what happened to Vivian. Haunted by the tragedy that happened before she was born, Carly begins her search at the Sun Down Motel, only to be offered a job as the night clerk. Carly finds herself in the same role that her aunt Vivian had before she vanished. Will Carly be able to uncover the long buried secrets and get the answers she hopes for?I loved this book! The atmosphere was thick! I felt every spine-tingling scare that Carly felt. I was with her there in that run down motel, holding my breath in anticipation of what would happen next. The author, Simone St. James, created a storyline that completely engrossed me within the suspense and mystery. I felt like I truly knew the characters, the small town and the motel. The story is brilliantly narrated in two timelines/perspectives - through Carly in 2017 and her aunt Vivian in 1982. Loved the pace and flow - it kept me curious and hungry to read “just one more chapter.” My one tiny critique is that I felt a couple things near the end were a stretch for me to accept.I will warn you that this novel is quite ghost-y. I am not one who generally attracts to ghost-y type novels, however, this story simply felt so real and kept me fully immersed and invested that I never doubted the supernatural element. I read and loved Simone St. James’ previous novel, The Broken Girls. This book was just as good! I’m a huge fan and look forward to what this author comes out with next! I must make note of how much I LOVE THIS COVER!! Thank you to Berkley for sending me a physical copy to read and review with The Traveling Sisters! Expected Publication Date: February 18, 2020.
    more
  • A stunning cover, an unsolved mystery and a motel harboring both secrets and ghosts = another winning read by Simone St. James!I absolutely devoured this book and with good reason. Once you start reading, you just can't stop! It's such a page turner!!! Simone St. James has captured all those creepy thoughts we all have about those roadside, seedy looking motels and turned things ALL the way up. Talk about a place you want to run far away from! The story is told via 2 POVs. The past - it's 1982 and Viv Delaney has dreams of making it in NY as an actress but she ends up in Fell as a night clerk at the Sun Down Motel. What starts out as a temporary stop ends up being the last place anyone ever sees her. One night she simply vanishes and her family never hear from her again. The present - Viv's niece Carly is drawn to Fell after the death of her mother. She is determined to find out what happened to her aunt Viv. The two stories mesh together, to reveal the truth of the Sound Down Motel. I love how St. James weaves ghosts into her stories and this one was really well done. It added such a spooky element to the storyline and a great twist to the mystery. This story was totally up my alley - a 80s vibe, creepy motel with ghosts and spooky happenings, a Nancy Drew-esque vibe with the main characters and it even had a hot guy! Needless to say, I enjoyed this so much! A highly recommended read for my fellow mystery and thriller fans. Thank you Simone St. James, Berkley & Penguin Publishing and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read this arc. All thoughts are completely my own.
    more
  • This old, seedy roadside motel setting had me running to grab this one! This creepy, haunted motel has a past that it won't let go... slamming doors, traveling salesmen, and many unanswered questions. I loved the atmospheric setting and couldn't help but think of the Bates Motel. The same type of place you wouldn't necessarily want to check into! I was also picturing the Scooby Doo van about to roll up at any moment to help this girl Carly out.The two timelines meshed together to solve a 35 year old mystery made this an entertaining who-dunnit. Carly was the amateur detective and was determined to get answers.While it was a spooky read, I was hoping for a little more spine-chilling twists and creepy turns. For me this one was more of a spooky adventure where Carly is on a mission.If you are looking for a unique crime read with some ghostly happenings, this one is quite entertaining and perfect for the season.OUT on Feb. 18, 2020Thanks to the publisher and NG for my review copy. 
    more
  • Spooky, spine-tingling suspense, and creepy!THE SUN DOWN MOTEL by SIMONE ST. JAMES is an engrossing, dark, gripping, chilling, and fabulous gothic mystery/thriller that I was immediately drawn into. I was totally immersed in this tale and completely devoured the supernatural aspects in this story. The story was so darn entertaining with that creepy and eerie haunted motel setting that I found this to be absolutely irresistible and un-put-down-able!!!! SIMONE ST. JAMES delivers quite the atmospheric, captivating, engaging, mysterious, suspenseful and well-written story here told in dual timelines and perspectives between the past and the present. I sometimes enjoy one timeline and perspective over another but this one I am happy to say that they both equally intrigued and fascinated me. Expected On Sale Date: February 18, 2020.Norma’s Stats:Cover: That cover is absolutely perfect for a creepy and haunting story!! I think it is such a striking & welcoming design that immediately caught my eye and definitely enticed me into needing to read this book.Title: A simply perfect, chilling, impactful and fabulous representation to storyline. Writing/Prose: Well-written, fluid, suspenseful, and engaging.Plot: Engrossing, creepy, captivating, haunting, interesting, riveting, fast-paced, and entertaining.Ending: Whoa! Absolutely loved it!Overall: 4.5 Stars! This was an all around fabulous book for me and the perfect ghost story! Would highly recommend!Thank you so much to Elisha at Berkley Publishing for gifting me a physical copy of this highly absorbing book! It was an absolute pleasure being spooked out by this one.This review can also be found at Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog:https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/
    more
  • "I ain't afraid of no Ghost"I don't know why upon finishing this book, I could not get Ray Parker Jr.'s theme song for Ghostbusters out of my head. "If there is something weird and it don't look good..." Thank you Simon St. James for that earworm and of course, for writing such an engrossing, creepy, haunting and riveting book.The Sun Down Motel - an old Motel with secrets, ghosts and a dark tale to tell. Some get a room to sell drugs, some to drink themselves into oblivion, some to have a torrid affair, some to sleep for the night after a long day of driving, some for prostitution. But the Motel has a history, a history those in the town of Fell know about but aren't always so willing to talk about. A Motel where things really do go bump in the night. Viv Delaney worked as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel and soon begins to notice things - that that aren't quite right. Things that are creepy, scary and strange. Intrigued, she begins to investigate the Motel's history, because that is what you do right, when doors open and close on their own (I'd be so out of there...just sayin'). But then one day, Viv isn't there anymore....Carly arrives in the town of Fell, with questions. Her aunt Viv (Vivian) went missing after working as the Night Clerk at the Sun Down Motel. Her mother died never knowing what happened to her sister. Carly wants to know as well and as luck would have it, the Sun Down Motel needs a nigh clerk, so Carly accepts the position. As she begins to ask questions and look up the Motel's history, she too begins to hear, smell and see that things which go bump in the night.Oh, how I love a good haunting! Simone St. James who knocked my socks off with The Haunting of Maddy Clare has done it again. This book played out like a movie in my mind. I could imagine everything happening. This book is eerie, atmospheric and chilling. She has created intriguing characters who can't quite help but to put themselves in intense situations because of their curiosity. Apparently, no one warned them about what curiosity did to the cat!Initially, I did struggle keeping track of which young woman's storyline/timeline was being told, but I found my stride and had no problems after that. I found this to be an engaging, delightfully creepy haunting which delivered. I loved how everything came together in the end! This is the perfect book to read on a chilly October night as Halloween approaches. Plus, how about that cover!
    more
  • You know those rundown , L-shaped motels that you pass on road trips, despite the fact that you are so bone tired, that you are not sure that you could drive another mile...The ones with the buzzing signs, that blink, Vacancy! Cable TV!The REALLY CREEPY ones? Welcome to the Sun Down Motel!Located in Fell, a small town in upstate, NY- A town too small to have this many DEAD GIRLS. Viv Delaney was just passing through in 1982. Running out of money before she could reach New York City, with dreams of becoming an actress, she takes a job as the night clerk at The Sun Down.Cigarette smoke...The doors to locked rooms swinging open one by one..a whiff of perfume..And, a woman in a floral dress warning her to RUN!Compelled to investigate, till she too disappears..2017: Viv's niece Carly is drawn to Fell, NY after her mother's death. She wants to find out what happened to Vivian and ends up following in her Aunt's footsteps.She too takes a job at The Sun Down as a night clerk- SOME things never change..I wanted an atmospheric, ghost story for Halloween, and I got one! I grew up reading Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books, so Viv and Carly playing amateur detective, was right up my alley! Some readers may feel that some of the chapters seem repetitive as first one sleuth, and than the other, makes her discoveries, 35 years apart, but it did not bother me, as Viv's chapters in the 80's felt so nostalgic that their voices were distinct to me. Reading this book in my dark backyard last night, my IPAD screen glowing, and the hairs on my arms standing up, I couldn't go to sleep till I found out if Carly would get justice for Vivian..Thank You to Edelweiss, Berkley Publishing and Simone St. James for the digital ARC I received in exchange for a candid review.If you enjoyed 'The Broken Girls" this one will not disappoint you! I LOVED this one!! ❤️Available now! (Feb 18, 2020)
    more
  • Dark, Ghostly, & So Good!Something strange is going on at The Sun Down Motel. In 1982, 20-year-old Vivian Delaney stumbles upon a job opening as the night shift clerk at The Sun Down Motel, located in eerie Fell, New York. During her shifts, Vivian begins to notice some inexplicable occurrences at the rundown motel: doors randomly opening and closing, strange phone calls, the smell of cigarette smoke when no one is present. It seems that the Sun Down is haunted. Making things even more dramatic are the creepy customers who come to stay. At the same time, young women in Fell are being murdered. Vivian plays investigator and when she comes up with a lead, she vanishes without a trace.Fast forward to 2017, Vivian’s 20-year-old niece, Carly, arrives in Fell seeking answers about her aunt Vivian’s disappearance. Carly finds herself doing Vivian’s old job at the Sun Down and also begins to notice the strange happenings at the motel. As she investigates her aunt’s disappearance, she finds herself in extreme danger.There are so many things I loved about this book. Simone St. James transported me to Fell, NY. The atmosphere is rife with eeriness. The whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking that it would make for the perfect Halloween read. The supernatural plays a large role--I am not the most tolerant when it comes to the supernatural, but it works in this book. The ghosts serve a purpose--not to scare, but to remind of events from the past. Vivian and Carly share some of the same characteristics, but their voices are distinct. The mystery is intriguing and while the plot is not the most complex, I was riveted and could not put this book down. It was a little rocky in the beginning and felt like a cheesy tv movie, but the more the better it got. I was wholly entertained by The Sun Down Motel and I highly recommend to those who enjoy creepy, atmospheric mysteries. I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • The night it all ended, Vivian was alone... She felt like crying. She felt like screaming. She felt sick."I don't want to go in there. But I will. Because I always do."Obviously flashy psychological thrillers are still trendy, but have you ever picked up a mystery that is simply well-written, to the point where you can just bask in that book's quiet glory and subtle power? That's precisely how I felt regarding The Sun Down Motel. It's receiving copious amounts of hype, and rightly so, due to it's gorgeous cover art being splashed across social media, it's feature as a January 2020 pick for Book of the Month, and the many lists that it has been featured on prior to publication. Did I mention it's a BOTM pick for January? The tricky part is convincing those readers who typically steer clear of any mention of the supernatural to pick up this book, and I truly believe some of you will love it regardless of this inclusion, because the paranormal aspect plays a rather small role in the overarching story.In my humble opinion, the feature that makes The Sun Down Motel a stand out novel is the incredibly eerie atmosphere. The upstate New York setting was a character of its own, and the ability to fully immerse myself in this oppressive motel that was off the beaten path is what kept my mind constantly circling around the story, even when I wasn't reading it. The intentionally claustrophobic writing was key to keeping both the past and the present storylines married to one another, and I'll be a monkey's uncle if it wasn't one of the most brilliant tactics I've seen recently. While this could be considered a slow burning mystery, due to the heavy emphasis on the amateur detective work playing a large part of the narrative, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened next.There were two reasons why this book wasn't a 5 star read for me: the repetitive nature of the past and present chapters, and the underwhelming, rushed climax of the book. While I wholly appreciate and understand the need for establishing plot progression in both tenses, many passages read almost word for word as the same conversations, which slowed the pacing down. I feel like maybe some fade to black moments, or implied info dumps off page would have kept the accuracy in tact while saving the reader from experiencing the same dialogue twice, and perhaps exchanging information reveals in an alternating style between tenses would have been helpful. Once the ending came, the last 50 pages felt so rushed as such a slow and steady build up, and while I was pleased with the way all the stories tied up, I could have used a bit more extension in that portion. Overall, a fabulous read and one that makes me look forward to future books from the author. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
    more