” A Book That Goes Bump In The Night” is one of the squares for the 2021 Book Warriors Bingo reading challenge that I am participating in. It has been a while since I read a ghost story. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James had such a positive vibe last year from other reviewers. Plus, the cover really piqued my curiosity. I decided to make it my challenge selection and I am so glad I did! I had forgotten how creepy and fun ghosts can be. Plus, I got my first Bingo on the board!
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.”
In 1982, Vivian Delaney decides to leave her Illinois hometown and head to New York to be an actress. She hitches a ride from a man who starts driving to upstate New York, instead of NYC. Viv is creeped out by him and asks to be let out in Fell, New York. There she comes across the Sun Down Motel. The owner offers her a free room in exchange for Viv agreeing to work the night shift that evening. She will head to New York City the next day. Something compels her to stay, so Viv finds a roommate and begins working full-time as the motel night clerk.
Soon it is clear that the hotel is haunted. There is a strange smoke that fills the office when no one around. Viv sees ghosts of a woman and a boy. The power will go off in a strange succession and doors will open and close by themselves. She learns from her roommate that Fell has several unsolved mysteries for the deaths of women. Viv becomes obsessed with finding out if the murders are related and if they have anything to do with the strange happenings at the hotel. When the police don’t take her seriously, she knows she must take matters into her own hands. Then Viv disappears and is never heard from again.
In 2017, Viv’s niece, Carly, decides she wants answers regarding the disappearance. She drops out of college and heads to Fell. In a very eerie fashion, Carly starts reliving Viv’s life. She moves in the exact same apartment Viv lived and she gets a job as the night shift clerk at the Sun Down Motel. Nothing has changed at the hotel since it was built in the 1970s. Carly also sees the ghosts, but yet she can’t make herself leave. Her roommate tells her about the other unsolved murders. Carly becomes obsessed with finding out about Viv’s disappearance, along with the other deaths.
4-plus stars. I loved St. James’s writing style and was quickly drawn into the paranormal story of this run-down motel. I am not giving it 5 stars since the dual timeline story tended to be repetitive at times.