A Paranormal Mystery That Fell Flat for Me

The Sun Down Motel

by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel begins in 1982 with the story of Viv Delaney who left her home to travel to New York City. She ends up in Fell, New York, at the Sun Down Motel. The motel is shabby, but Viv is offered a job as the night clerk and being broke, she accepts it. However, something strange is going on at the Sun Down. Doors are opening and closing when no one is in the rooms, the electricity keeps going off, she smells cigarette smoke but doesn’t see anyone smoking and Viv sees strange apparitions.  One of the apparitions tells her “to run”. During this same time, young women are going missing in Fell and then found dead. Viv is afraid.  Then Viv disappears.

In 2017, Carly Kirk is struggling. She has just lost her mother and feels lost. She has always been interested in her Aunt Viv who went missing many years ago. Her mother would never talk about it, so Carly decides to take a break from college and go to Fell, New York, to see if she can find out what really happened to her Aunt Viv.

As luck would have it, Carly finds an apartment with a local college girl who is keen to help Carly find out what happened in 1982. They visit the Sun Down Motel and find that it is rundown but open and Carly also gets hired to work there. Once there she begins to experience strange things, too.

I thought the premise of this book sounded interesting and I love a good mystery, but The Sun Down Motel turned out to be a horror, supernatural mystery, that strained credulity. I tried several times to read it and gave up each time. I decided to give it one more try and started to get into the story and the mystery but then the horror, paranormal elements took over and that ruined it for me. There are also too many convenient things that happened to Carly, like finding a roommate who just happens to love local history and lives in her Aunt Viv\’s old apartment and getting hired as the night clerk like her Aunt Viv did back in 1982. Even though there was a semi twist at the end it wasn’t enough to make me change my mind about it.

If you like mysteries with paranormal, horror elements you might like The Sun Down Motel but this book fell flat for me.

Thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.


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