I don’t normally do ghost stories, but I recently joined Book of the Month, and this was the only one of January’s books that seemed like something I might really like, so I ordered it. Plus it was also being touted as a mystery and a thriller, it fit well with my January theme of reading books by and about badass ladies (double check on that here) and with my run of books about shitty men doing bad things to women and girls. Also it’s very clearly influenced by Stephen King, and I love Stephen King, so.
Anyway, it was great!
Twenty year old Carly is in Fell, NY to finally find out what happened to her Aunt Vivian thirty-five years ago. Viv lived in Fell when she was twenty (the parallels don’t stop there), and worked as a night clerk at The Sun Down Motel, a neglected, rarely visited motel on the outskirts of town that not even its owners like to visit. She disappeared during the middle of her shift one night in November of 1982 and was never heard from again. The police investigation went nowhere. The narrative is split between Viv in 1982 and Carly in 2017, as Viv becomes obsessed with solving the various unsolved murders of young women in Fell, and Carly becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Viv. (Carly is also a true crime aficionado, and the book is dedicated to nerdy girls and Murderinos, so that endeared it to me right away.)
And as all of this is going on, The Sun Down Motel makes its presence known.
I really loved this one. Honestly, I can easily see myself revisiting this book next year and upping it to five stars. Sometimes I wait to do that until the book gels in my mind, and I think this is one of those times. This book was the absolute perfect amount of creepy for me, just enough to give you that eery shiver without actually scaring you, and the ending more than makes up for any bad feelings you get along the way.
I highly recommend this one, and I’m definitely checking out the author’s other ghost story from 2018, The Broken Girls.