Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Narrator: Brittany Pressley, Kirsten Potter
Published by Penguin Audio on February 2020
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Length: 11 hours
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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.
I’ve been wanting to read this author and finally grabbed this audio and did. It’s easier with non series to jump into the work but it’s also a whole new world and story and characters.
The Sun Down Motel is a told in two alternating points of view. One is Viv who worked at the motel in the 1980s and disappeared. The other is her niece, Carly, who comes to Fell, NY to try to figure out what happened to her aunt. Fell is a smallish town in upstate NY where a development was planned and didn’t happen, so the motel has stayed in its original state with landline phones, actual keys for the doors and in continuing deterioration.
I really enjoyed the world. There’s a touch of paranormal. Mostly, it’s just people with their hopes, dreams, schemes and secrets. Viv and Carly are both problem solvers and seek the truth. However, I like Viv more.
Viv has to find things out by physical research at the library, calling people and watching people. In the end, she makes choices with compassion to help others, regardless of any personal cost to herself. She is out in the world alone, without funds or family support of any kind. Viv hasn’t always made perfect decisions but she lives with her consequences.
Carly comes to town and follows in her aunt’s footsteps, living in her old apartment and working at the motel. But she has family support and money, so she can afford to be an idealist without regard for others. She quickly has a friend in her roommate, Heather and a guy staying at the hotel, Nick. Carly also uses the library for physical research, but she has the Internet for even more information. Heather helps her with this research. So Carly has financial support and is not alone with family and friends to help her.
I enjoyed the contrast of the time and technology as each woman investigates and tries to solve the mystery of missing women. They are both smart, capable women. It’s interesting how the difference in time affects the attitudes in the community and the police.
Each section is told by either Carly or Viv and there is a separate narrator for each. The voices seemed appropriate and I was comfortable with them, both male and female in the story. Carly sounded younger though, even though they would both be about 20. Viv sounded older or at least huskier, maybe like she was a cigarette smoker, which did add to the feel of her sections being historical, from the 1980s. I slowed this down a bit from my usual 1.5x to 1.25x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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