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10 thoughts on “The Sun Down Motel

  1. Nilufer Ozmekik Nilufer Ozmekik says:

    Twilight zone’s intro music blasting out in my mind: nananana!!!! I’m in the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition and I’m at the dimension of imagination….Nanana!!!

    I cannot sleep! I cannot move! I cannot breathe! When I was younger so much younger than today I never needed anybody’s help in anyway but even all ghost members of Beatles cannot save me! I’m numb, terrified! I’m speechless! I’m about to do something in my pants but I don’t! I barely hold myself! Thankfully, I wore diapers before reading something sooooo scary! So I’m giving my 5 gaazzzzzillion ssstaaarss (I cannot even speak or properly write, this book is so horrifying! I wish I hold my childhood Teddy bear to gather my wits but I already ripped its head when I was nine, reading Salem’s Lot! Dammit!)

    It’s midnight in LA, even my 24/7 partying neighbor is sleeping. My husband is still making entire Jurassic World’s sound effects by snoring loudly. But I’m alert! Eyes shut open! Already all lights in the house are turned on! I’m at the verge of hysterical breakdown, waiting to see Sun Down Motel’s ghosts banging on the door.

    Is this smoke I smell right now? Is this a salesman walking toward me? Who keeps knock, knock my heavenly house’s doors? Eric Clapton! Daattt! Freddy Mercury! Nope! He will rock not knock! Okay, I can’t stand anymore, dear lovely occupants of Sun Down Motel, I’m not night clerk, I’m just regular reader who loves your stories (I’m not talking about one of your friendly one named “Casper”, I actually find it overrated!) and Simone St. James did an amazing job because I didn’t eat for 8 hours, I didn’t move an inch and now my legs turned into jellies that I couldn’t move them, they’re useless right now. And of course I had limited booze service from my husband (you can imagine drinking and empty stomach could be definition of living dangerously!) I didn’t blink and I think my face is also paralyzed! I’m just looking like a survivor after over botox injections. I didn’t even visit to bathroom so my bladder already performing “Under Pressure” as a tribute to Bowie and Mercury.

    As a summary: This book is mind blowing, horrifying and so much better than entire horror movies I’ve watched lately. It’s better than Bad Times at the El Royale (I wish salesman Simon could dance like Chris Hemsworth but you cannot get what you want all the time!), entertaining as Bates Motel (this time night clerks are women and innocent, but we cannot say the same for the deceased occupants of the place whose souls stayed there for their unfinished businesses!) and they’re as creepy, spooky, disturbing as Overlook occupants.

    So we have an amazing gem is an impressive combination of Vacancy, Inkeepers and Poltergeist.
    In 1982 Viv Delaney, night clerk of Sun Down hotel, vanishes into thin air. They never find her corpse. Nobody knows her whereabouts. Till in the present time her niece Carly, arrives at the hotel, getting the same job her missing aunt had performed decades ago. After her mom’s sudden death because of big C, Carly is so adamant to find out what has happened to her aunt. By getting rid of the burden of the past, she feels like she may designate her own path for her own future steps.

    As soon as Carly arrives to Fell and starts her new gig, she’s going to find out, she’s living ten times worse experience of Paranormal Activity movie sequels and she knows who she is gonna call (of course Ghostbusters!) but there is bad reception at the hotel.

    The story is narrated by two people and two timelines. We move back and forth between 1982 and today. We have Viv and her niece Carly as narrators. They’re so interestingly similar each other, only their zones are different but both of them brave, smart, risk taker, loner, introverted, happy with their own terms and small things kind of ladies. ( I thought too many times, Carly could be daughter of Viv. Their instincts and approaches to the events, their actions are so similar.)

    Carly is too determined to find the secrets about the hotel and what happened to her aunt which puts her life in danger because she literally has to deal with the supernatural entities who could help her show the truth!!!!

    There are so many amazing characters such as Helen ( I visualized as Billie Lourd, only Carrie Fisher’s talented daughter could handle this creepy, weird but also loveable character.) And of course nobody knows what is like to be the sad man behind blue eyes Nick is also memorable character, hiding from his traumatic past, a great partner of crime to help Carly to solve the puzzle.

    I had great, terrifying time and I truly enjoyed every second of it by reading this book.

    Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group to share this best ARC COPY and give me early Christmas gift in exchange my honest review. And honestly guys, PLEASE READ IT, READ IT, READ IT!

    And special thanks to Simone St. James for creating this amazing, memorable, stunning, mind blowing masterpiece!


  2. Danielle Danielle says:

    O.M.G. 😱😱😱!!!! This was a GREAT book! I’m not one to hand out 5 star ratings. But I loved this creepy story!! ❤️

    For me a 5 star equals:
    Great characters
    Great setting
    Great story
    Plus: I don’t want to put it down and I think about the story even when not reading it, because it’s just that great!!

    This was told on two time lines:
    Viv in the early 80’s
    Carly (Viv’s niece) in present day

    They both worked the night shift at a very haunted motel. But obviously there’s even more to this mysterious story. It really sucked me in... I just loved it!!

    I listened to this very creepy audiobook, which was narrated very well, btw. Anyway, I was finishing it up well past bedtime last night and I had to keep pausing it because every sound in the house was creeping me out!!

    Highly recommend this one, if you like ghost stories/mysteries! ❤️📚

  3. chai ♡ chai ♡ says:

    find this review & others on my blog

    There is a video I came across on Twitter a couple months ago, of a woman giving other women tips on how to protect themselves and stay safe if they have to venture outside at night (complete with where to best hide a pepper spray, how to wield your keys like you would a knife, and how many clothes to layer on your body). There was urgency and fear in the woman’s voice, and a haunted, fatalistic quality in her eyes that struck such a fundamental chord with me. The women in the replies were empathetic, understanding, grateful. The men—who, by all appearances, had never been acquainted with true fear in all their days—were skeptical at best, deriding at worst. “Isn’t she exaggerating?” They scoffed. “It can’t really be that bad,” they decided.

    But this is the lesson of every woman’s life: that there are no safe places. You will be defenseless. You will be as soft sands before the waves of a man who decided you were to die.

    20-year-old Carly Kirk, the protagonist of Simone St. James’ horrifying but beguiling novel, is well-versed in the language of fear, native to every woman.

    Carly’s aunt—Viv Delaney—vanished into thin air from the seedy upstate New York motel she worked the night shifts at, and her disappearance remained deeply seared on Carly’s mind, a permanent mental hangnail.

    Though all Carly has to remember her aunt by was a newspaper clipping from 1982 and the grief in her heart, she sets out from her Illinois hometown to Fell, N.Y., searching on only the thinnest, most unlikely thread of hope, the need to find answers to her questions burning through her as though she were a candlewick. In Fell, Carly tries to piece together an aunt who is gone from a few clues, scattered across a small town where secrets collected inside like black soot. Carly’s quest gives her meek, unwelcome fear time to fuse into something cold, and when she blows the closet open, the skeletons spill out like blood at her feet.

    What follows is a twisty flashback/flashforward narrative that balances two central and interlinked mysteries, shifting in ways that no decent reviewer should disclose. Although they don't exist simultaneously, Carly and Viv’s stories run in eerie parallels. This illuminates the terrible gulf of years between twenty and fifty, but it also reminds us that this story has happened for generations, is happening right now, and will most certainly happen again. New grievances seem to always have a way of following old fault lines.

    The Sun Down Motel is the kind of novel that begs to be read at one in the morning, under the covers, with a flashlight in your hand. Sleep is a thing I couldn’t remember while reading this book—the face and smell and texture of it all forgotten. The novel’s breakneck pacing is backed up by a sensation of constant dread which creates a keep-you-guessing air that’s simply magnetic. I watched, the way a fisherman watches a darkening cloud on the horizon, as the pieces of a pattern drifted closer together, until every part of the puzzle yielded its secrets. The motel not only plays a character in The Sun Down Motel, as many settings in good novels do, but it acts as part of the plot itself. The unsettling energy that buzzes throughout the motel is magnified by the rapid dissolving of the boundaries between the real and the supernatural, and soon, every shadow grows ripe with meaning, every detail crying out for the reader’s attention.

    Both Carly and Delaney are engaging characters. Brave and confident that their course would throw up no obstacles so large that they could not be plowed over with sheer force of momentum, Carly and Delaney fly headlong into danger, like a loosed hound, seeking vengeance. Their stifled awe in the face of encroaching strangeness speaks, however, profoundly to our own numbness in a world where real wonders and horrors crop up every day. Still, it’s hard not to feel, in the baser part of yourself, a savage snarl of rage, while reading this novel. That sudden swoop of the stomach, the all-too-familiar coursing anger—at the men, monsters, who grew weary of desire and developed a taste for causing pain and the gratuitous, unavenged deaths of so many young women. I stepped out of this book feeling sick with that feeling, poisoned, turned inside out. I still do, to be honest.

    If I have to point out a flaw in this novel, it would be the ending. On the one hand, The Sun Down Motel closes with a jarring reveal that fully justifies the obscuring of truth and arrangement of clues that leads up to it, but on the other hand, the conclusion feels lean and abrupt to the point of coming across rushed. The predictability of it has a flattening effect too, making singularly boring what should have been a defining moment, and I felt somewhat cheated of a more dramatic showdown that would resonate more deeply.

    That said, don’t let that discourage you from picking up this book. Solid and smartly told, The Sun Down Motel is quite the remarkable achievement.


  4. Chelsea Humphrey Chelsea Humphrey says:

    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.

    Obviously flashy psychological thrillers are still trendy, but have you ever picked up a mystery that is simply well-written, to the point where you can just bask in that book's quiet glory and subtle power? That's precisely how I felt regarding The Sun Down Motel. It's receiving copious amounts of hype, and rightly so, due to it's gorgeous cover art being splashed across social media, it's feature as a January 2020 pick for Book of the Month, and the many lists that it has been featured on prior to publication. Did I mention it's a BOTM pick for January? The tricky part is convincing those readers who typically steer clear of any mention of the supernatural to pick up this book, and I truly believe some of you will love it regardless of this inclusion, because the paranormal aspect plays a rather small role in the overarching story.


    In my humble opinion, the feature that makes The Sun Down Motel a stand out novel is the incredibly eerie atmosphere. The upstate New York setting was a character of its own, and the ability to fully immerse myself in this oppressive motel that was off the beaten path is what kept my mind constantly circling around the story, even when I wasn't reading it. The intentionally claustrophobic writing was key to keeping both the past and the present storylines married to one another, and I'll be a monkey's uncle if it wasn't one of the most brilliant tactics I've seen recently. While this could be considered a slow burning mystery, due to the heavy emphasis on the amateur detective work playing a large part of the narrative, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened next.


    There were two reasons why this book wasn't a 5 star read for me: the repetitive nature of the past and present chapters, and the underwhelming, rushed climax of the book. While I wholly appreciate and understand the need for establishing plot progression in both tenses, many passages read almost word for word as the same conversations, which slowed the pacing down. I feel like maybe some fade to black moments, or implied info dumps off page would have kept the accuracy in tact while saving the reader from experiencing the same dialogue twice, and perhaps exchanging information reveals in an alternating style between tenses would have been helpful. Once the ending came, the last 50 pages felt so rushed as such a slow and steady build up, and while I was pleased with the way all the stories tied up, I could have used a bit more extension in that portion. Overall, a fabulous read and one that makes me look forward to future books from the author.


    *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  5. Miranda Reads Miranda Reads says:

    Another Booktube video - this time all about the Top 10 Books of 2020 (so far) .

    Now that you know this fabulous book made the list, check out the video to see the rest!

    Sun Down Motel, can I help you?
    Nothing. Just the faint sound of breathing.
    There's a terrible secret hidden within the walls of the run down motel just outside of Fell, New York.

    Thirty-five years ago, Viv Delaney began experiencing...disturbances during the night shift at the Sun Down Motel.

    Ones that had her questioning everything she's ever known and reality itself.
    What if everything I've seen, everything I think, is true?
    And just like that...she disappeared.
    She felt like crying. She felt like screaming. She felt sick.
    In modern-day, Carly spent her life watching how that disappearance affected her mother. And when Carly's mother dies, Carly is drawn to Fell - the last known location of her Aunt Viv.

    At first Carly tells herself that she wants to do just a little bit of exploration - perhaps even find out what happened to her aunt.

    But...what started out as an innocent curiosity quickly became something much more.
    Some of us like the dark. It's what we know.
    And almost without realizing it, Carly finds herself drawn to the location of Viv's disappearance... only realizing too late that there was something else drawing her there.
    ...all she could hear was her own breath sawing in and out of her lungs.
    Oh man.

    Ohhhh man.

    This was a wild one.

    First and foremost - the Sun Down Motel provided just the perfect backdrop for a truly spine-chilling tale. It had so many creepy little things and really set up the entire book.

    I loved the alternating view points (and this is something I don't say too often!). They were so well balanced and really gave the story that extra pop.

    Viv's perspective had so much mystery and played out beautifully. And I truly had no idea where Carly's view point was going - which just made me absolutely addicted to this story.

    The way Simone St. James interwove ghost stories and the other terrifying elements definitely brought everything together.

    All in all - this was a FABULOUS buddy read with Tucker the Reader!

    With thanks to the author and Berkley Publishing for a free copy in exchange for an honest review

    YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads

  6. Mary Beth Mary Beth says:

    4.5 Creepy Spooky Stars

    Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

    I loved this book. I did love The Broken Girls by this author and this one is just as good. I loved the atmosphere and the spooky creepy vibe. The motel really had the creep factor going on. The Sun Down Motel is haunted and it has very creepy customers. The whole town of Fell is so spooky. This is the perfect Halloween book.

    It hooked me straight from the beginning and didn't let go until the end. I loved the ghost story and how it then turned into a thriller and mystery. The suspense kept me turning the pages and kept me reading into the early hours of the morning. There are several twists and turns that have me surprises. I loved the plot. I was intrigued and couldnt wait to find out what was going to happen next. I loved the two timelines and loved Viv's the best.
    The characters were so well developed and it was very well written. I felt so sorry for Viv.
    I loved Carly, she made a great investigator. Also loved Alma the cop too. The Traveling Salesman freaked me out as much as the ghosts did and then when Callum came into the story, he was scary too.
    I loved the ending and I highly recommend this book to those that love a spooky thriller.

    This was a Traveling Sister Read.

    I want to thank Berkley, Edelweiss and the author for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill says:

    OMG I am speechless! Well not really..but can I give this book 10 stars??!!! Adding this to my list of all time favorite thrillers. Yes, it was that good. So many good things about this book, where do I even start?

    I think what made this book so special was the feelings it gave me. The creepy, chills down my spine- feelings I had the entire book! I am not sure how an author can manage to spin such an atmospheric feel with words that you are entirely caught up in the whole vibe. How is this really possible? It is me. I was at the Sun Down Motel..yep I was. I could hear the ice maker rattling down the hallway, I could smell the musty smell of years of neglect. I could feel myself gearing up for fight or flight as I knew something really bad was going to happen. I could visualize the dirty carpet and thin, stained bedspreads....Eww....

    That is just one of the many factors that made this book absolutely fantastic. The story line was so interesting that I was captivated the whole time. With a dual time line of an aunt that had gone missing in 1982 and her niece who wanted answers to questions in 2017, it constantly kept you are your toes. Especially when Carly decides to work at the Sun Down Motel doing the exact same job as her aunt Viv did twenty years prior. Did I mention Viv went to work one night and never came home? Not much has changed at The Sun Down Motel. No flipping way would I last one single night there.....hells to the NO!

    As you guessed it, I loved this book. Perhaps going to be my favorite book of the year? Okay I hear you, it is only January 15th but I guarantee we will be having this same conversation at the end of the year. This book is that good.

  8. Meredith Meredith says:

    Dark, Ghostly, & So Good!

    Something strange is going on at The Sun Down Motel.

    In 1982, 20-year-old Vivian Delaney stumbles upon a job opening as the night shift clerk at The Sun Down Motel, located in eerie Fell, New York. During her shifts, Vivian begins to notice some inexplicable occurrences at the rundown motel: doors randomly opening and closing, strange phone calls, the smell of cigarette smoke when no one is present. It seems that the Sun Down is haunted. Making things even more dramatic are the creepy customers who come to stay. At the same time, young women in Fell are being murdered. Vivian plays investigator and when she comes up with a lead, she vanishes without a trace.

    Fast forward to 2017, Vivian’s 20-year-old niece, Carly, arrives in Fell seeking answers about her aunt Vivian’s disappearance. Carly finds herself doing Vivian’s old job at the Sun Down and also begins to notice the strange happenings at the motel. As she investigates her aunt’s disappearance, she finds herself in extreme danger.

    There are so many things I loved about this book. Simone St. James transported me to Fell, NY. The atmosphere is rife with eeriness. The whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking that it would make for the perfect Halloween read. The supernatural plays a large role--I am not the most tolerant when it comes to the supernatural, but it works in this book. The ghosts serve a purpose--not to scare, but to remind of events from the past. Vivian and Carly share some of the same characteristics, but their voices are distinct. The mystery is intriguing and while the plot is not the most complex, I was riveted and could not put this book down.

    It was a little rocky in the beginning and felt like a cheesy tv movie, but the more the better it got. I was wholly entertained by The Sun Down Motel and I highly recommend to those who enjoy creepy, atmospheric mysteries.

    I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  9. Debra Debra says:

    I ain't afraid of no Ghost

    I don't know why upon finishing this book, I could not get Ray Parker Jr.'s theme song for Ghostbusters out of my head. If there is something weird and it don't look good... Thank you Simon St. James for that earworm and of course, for writing such an engrossing, creepy, haunting and riveting book.

    The Sun Down Motel - an old Motel with secrets, ghosts and a dark tale to tell. Some get a room to sell drugs, some to drink themselves into oblivion, some to have a torrid affair, some to sleep for the night after a long day of driving, some for prostitution. But the Motel has a history, a history those in the town of Fell know about but aren't always so willing to talk about. A Motel where things really do go bump in the night.

    Viv Delaney worked as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel and soon begins to notice things - that that aren't quite right. Things that are creepy, scary and strange. Intrigued, she begins to investigate the Motel's history, because that is what you do right, when doors open and close on their own (I'd be so out of there...just sayin'). But then one day, Viv isn't there anymore....

    Carly arrives in the town of Fell, with questions. Her aunt Viv (Vivian) went missing after working as the Night Clerk at the Sun Down Motel. Her mother died never knowing what happened to her sister. Carly wants to know as well and as luck would have it, the Sun Down Motel needs a nigh clerk, so Carly accepts the position. As she begins to ask questions and look up the Motel's history, she too begins to hear, smell and see that things which go bump in the night.

    Oh, how I love a good haunting! Simone St. James who knocked my socks off with The Haunting of Maddy Clare has done it again. This book played out like a movie in my mind. I could imagine everything happening. This book is eerie, atmospheric and chilling. She has created intriguing characters who can't quite help but to put themselves in intense situations because of their curiosity. Apparently, no one warned them about what curiosity did to the cat!

    Initially, I did struggle keeping track of which young woman's storyline/timeline was being told, but I found my stride and had no problems after that. I found this to be an engaging, delightfully creepy haunting which delivered. I loved how everything came together in the end! This is the perfect book to read on a chilly October night as Halloween approaches.

    Plus, how about that cover!

  10. Dorie - Cats&Books :) Dorie - Cats&Books :) says:


    My first introduction to Simone St. James was reading her previous novel The Broken Girls, it was one of my top 10 books last year. I went into this with a crazy amount of anticipation and hoping been another 5* read.

    The novel revolves around a young woman, Carly, searching for the answer for why her long dead aunt Vivian disappeared. The family never felt any kind of closure because her body was never found. She just vanished one night during her late night shift working at reception in The Sun Down Motel. In order to understand Carly’s point of view we must be taken back in time to when her aunt disappeared. Meanwhile Carly will get a job at the Sun Down herself in order to try and find an answer.

    Here begin some of my problems with this book. Lots of situations happened around the same time in the women’s timelines. I also found situations were just too repetitive having to weave the two stories together. At first I was just a little confused about whose story I was reading. As I got into the story I did enjoy the ride but it wasn’t a page turner for me.

    Ms. St. James’s writing here is top notch and the story is a good one. I found the characters to be well described but I did have trouble with believability. I asked myself so many times, why didn’t she just quit? Why would they intentionally put themselves in such danger? Who can anyone trust? In each storyline there is a good friend and a boyfriend.

    This novel has Ms. St.Jame’s signature creation of a ghostly vibe and it’s a good mystery. There were lots of lights going on and off, doors opening and shutting on their own, “smoke scent in the air” and apparitions. Both Vivian and her niece Carly are looking for answers as to what is going on and putting themselves in grave danger.

    The ending moved my rating up to a solid 4 and I can definitely recommend it. Ms. St. Jame’s followers won’t be disappointed.

    I would recommend this as a “long sit” read in order to keep the timelines straight and to ratchet up the tension and vibe. This is a great Fall and Halloween read.

    Publication is set for February 18, 2020.

    I received a ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.

    This was a Traveling Sisters read :)

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The Sun Down Motel The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirtyfive years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and awardwinning author of The Broken GirlsUpstate NY,Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden… ❮EPUB❯ ✻ Poltergeist (Greywalker, ✶ Author Kat Richardson – just as they did her aunt thirtyfive years before [BOOKS] ✬ OBaby Author Geoffrey Johnson – in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and awardwinning author of The Broken GirlsUpstate NY,Every small town like Fell [Epub] ➟ Defiant (MacKinnons Rangers, By Pamela Clare – New York ✅ [PDF / Epub] ☉ 21 Divisiones de Los Misterios Sanses By Ernesto Bravo Estrada ⚣ – has a place like the Sun Down Motel Some customers are from out of town ➨ Nightfall (Dark Age Dawning, Ebook ➮ Author Ellen Connor – passing through on their way to someplace better Some are locals ❮Reading❯ ➺ The Good Daughter ➲ Author Karin Slaughter – trying to hide their secrets Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City But something isn't right at the Sun Down ✑ Crysis pdf ✓ Author Peter Watts – and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

About the Author: Simone St. James

Simone St James is the award winning author of The Broken Girls and The Haunting of Maddy Clare, which won two RITA awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full time