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…
This book was excellent. It was one of those rare books that simultaneously made me want to speed up the narration so I could keep getting through it, and slow it down so it wouldn’t end. I was genuinely surprised by how much I liked listening to this book.
It’s told in two different timelines – late 1982, and late 2017. In 2017, we’re following twenty-year-old Carly, who has recently arrived in Fell, New York, to see if she can figure out what happened to her aunt Vivian, who went missing in 1987. Carly’s mother, Vivian’s sister, has recently died, and Carly is feeling unmoored. Her mother wouldn’t talk about Vivian very much, but Carly feels compelled to see if there’s anything she can find out.
We’re also following Vivian through the last few months of 1982, up to the time she went missing from her night shift at the Sun Down Motel. The two timelines ran parallel to each other, and I found myself trying to figure out how what we were discovering with Vivian was going to come into play for Carly.
I’m not going to give away too much about this book. There are some ghosts, but I wouldn’t call it a ghost story, or even a supernatural story. They’re in the story, they sort of come into play, but this is very much the story of Carly and Vivian, and all the dead and forgotten girls they’re uncovering.
That’s really what this book was for me. A look at the way young girls are let down by everyone around them. Vivian was gone for 4 days before anyone noticed. She had a roommate, she had a job. In fact, she disappeared from her job. Her car was still there, her purse was still there, but she was gone. And they just didn’t notice. No one said anything, no one noticed that all of her stuff was still there but she was missing. For 4 days. The women in this book are on their own. When they try to get help from the authorities, they’re ignored, patted on the head, and told to stick to dresses and gossip. Meanwhile they’re dying and disappearing, and no one is bothering to look for them.
This is obviously more open and up front in the 1982 storyline than it is in the 2017 story, but it’s no less infuriating.
Bottom line – read this book. Listen to it. Whatever you need to do to get this book into your brain, do it. I can’t wait to see what Simone St. James comes up with next.