The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James ★★★★★ #BookReview #BookBlog

Primary Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Fiction
Published: 18 Feb 2020 by Berkley
Page count: 327 (print length)
My Format: eBook via Overdrive/Libby
Cover: Nostalgic
Pacing: Good
Ending: Good  
Do I Recommend: Yes
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy The Sun Down Motel

My rating: ★★★★★

Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

My Thoughts
I’m always up for a good mystery/thriller! Here are my pros and cons for The Sun Down Motel:


  1. I do not often love parallel storylines because they can be repetitive, but in this case it was done pretty well. Viv (1982) and Carly’s (2017) stories matched each other so closely that they were almost identical in some aspects, albeit 35 years apart. This method of storytelling was particularly impactful in this case because as I learned about things that happened to Viv, I began to feel concerned the same things were going to happen to Carly. The author created a sense of foreshadowing from Viv’s story that made Carly’s story all that even more compelling.
  2. I was extremely engaged in the story. Many times I just wanted to grab Carly by the shoulders and tell her to get the heck out of there!
  3. Very complete characterizations in my opinion. I empathized and sympathized with the characters, and I was definitely scared with them! Viv, in particular, was smart, very perceptive, intuitive, and rational and I liked her a lot.
  4. The town (Fell, NY) was a character itself. The author created an amazing atmosphere with a town that was essentially lost in time, and wouldn’t or couldn’t keep up with the rest of the world.
  5. I liked that the “horror” aspect was subtle. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t scary! As a matter of fact, subtle scary can be the scariest of all in my opinion!
  6. I liked the ending. I appreciated the resolution.


  1. I have one pet peeve. The hotel sign is a prominent part of the story, and in at least a couple of places in the book it is described as blue and yellow in classic old-style letters. But the sign on the book cover depicts it in red and yellow!! The inconsistency doesn’t impact the story at all, but it drove me nuts!

I really appreciate a good subtle horror/mystery/thriller novel and this one ticked all the boxes for me. I loved it more than I thought I would because I read Broken Girls by this author back in 2018 and I gave it three stars. Considering how much I loved The Sun Down Motel, I’m now wondering if I missed something in Broken Girls? Should I re-read Broken Girls?

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Sun Down Motel. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

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4 thoughts on “The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James ★★★★★ #BookReview #BookBlog

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