Tag Archives: Fiction

Review: The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel 
By Simone St. James
Berkley, 9780440000174, February 2020, 336pp.

The Short of It:

This story was good, spooky fun.

The Rest of It:

The Sun Down Motel is a run down motel that’s stuck in the 80s. It’s the type of motel people stay at when they are up to no good, or want to disappear for awhile. Vivian Delaney gets a job as the night clerk and after a few terrifying experiences, and the appearance of ghosts, she does a little digging and realizes that the motel is housing some secrets of its own.

Just when she is beginning to figure it all out, she goes missing. Never to be found with no closure for her family at all.

Fast forward 35 years. Carly, the niece of Vivian Delaney watched her own mother die without any closure for Vivian’s death. Although the two sisters were not close, it bothered Carly that a person could just go missing, without a trace so she decides to investigate on her own which lands her a job at the very same motel. Nothing has changed at the Sun Down. Not the decor, not the emptiness of its rooms, or the dead people that come out at night to roam its floors.

This book was so good and lots of fun to read. There is a supernatural element, a mystery to solve, a serial killer and the creepiness of the motel itself made for some fun bedtime reading. I normally don’t like stories that jump from the past to the present but this was handled so well and I literally read at a snail’s pace because I didn’t want it to end.

One other thing I really enjoyed is that the story is peppered with Stephen King references, his books mainly. I counted at least five. If you enjoy that sort of thing you will be giddy with happiness when you discover another mention. Simone St. James must be a huge fan.

I had not read this author before but I happen to have her previous book on my Kindle, The Broken Girls. Have you read either one? I highly recommend The Sun Down Motel.

I read this for the R.I.P. Challenge.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Heart-Shaped Box

Heart Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box
By Joe Hill
William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780061944895, 2009, 400pp.

The Short of It:

This is a classic ghost story with all the horror elements you’d expect from Hill, without it being too graphic.

The Rest of It:

Judas Coyne is a fifty-something ex-rocker who has a taste for the macabre. He collects things that most people wouldn’t, which is how he comes to possess a suit that comes with a ghost. As Jude (short for Judas) learns, this ghost is not just any ghost and he means business.

This is the story of Jude and his girlfriend Marybeth, also known as Georgia. When this suit arrives in a heart-shaped box, Jude is intrigued. He has no idea what to expect but he doesn’t have to wait long to find out. The suit is accompanied by a ghost named Craddock and what begins as mild curiosity turns into a fight for their lives as Craddock takes them down the “night road” and continues to display glimpses of their future to them. A future where Jude murders the ones he loves.

This was a fantastic read and it’s been on my to-read shelve for YEARS. Not sure why I waited so long to get to it but I wish I had gotten to it sooner. Joe Hill. He’s Stephen King’s kid in case you don’t know but he definitely has his own sense of style when it comes to storytelling and from the very first page I was riveted and had to know the outcome of these two characters.

If I had to find any fault with it at all, I would say that as soon as the ghost makes his appearance, the one thing that made me curious about the book in the first place went out the window. All the macabre stuff that he collected over the years was never mentioned again. Someone with a penchant for that sort of thing would perhaps use it to his advantage? I was expecting it to become part of the story but that never happened.

I really enjoyed the character of Marybeth (Georgia). She was sweet but with a hard edge. I could not help but root for her. Hill did a good job of writing her as strong, but also vulnerable. She brought just the right mix of danger plus loyalty to the story.

Now for the fear factor. A reader on Facebook advised me to read it during the day, that it could get pretty intense. It was intense at times but like a “race to the finish” intense. All of the horror elements were appropriately creepy but I didn’t feel that Hill tossed anything in there for shock value alone. I really enjoyed it.

I read this for the R.I.P Challenge.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.