Audiobook Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 5 of 5 stars

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Penguin Audio (February 18, 2020)

Length: 11 hrs

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrators: Brittany Pressley, Kirsten Potter

I’ve had a really good run of thriller audiobooks lately, and the most recent one to blow my mind is the highly anticipated The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James, which I can tell you right now is worth all the hype. This book robbed me of a good night’s sleep because I stayed up late to finish it, and then I spent more time lying awake thinking about it some more. It had that way of getting under your skin.

Thirty-five years ago, a young woman named Viv Delaney went missing from the small, dwindling town of Fell, New York. She was a night clerk working at the local Sun Down Motel, a seedy establishment where somehow persisted while other businesses closed down or moved away, when one day she failed to show up for work. Her disappearance was widely reported in the news at the time, as she was not the first woman to have vanished or met a tragic end in Fell. In spite of this, no trace of Viv was ever found, and with the town’s reluctance to talk about its missing girls, her case was soon forgotten. Until now.

Fast forward to today, college student Carly Kirk has put her studies on hold because she wanted to know the truth about Viv Delaney—her aunt. Desperate to find out more about the tragedy that so affected her mother’s life, Carly moves to Fell and, surprising even herself, decides to answer a job posting for a night shift position at the Sun Down Motel. As ghoulish as it may seem, the chance to have this one connection with her aunt was too hard to resist, and Carly also hopes that being in the place where Viv worked before she disappeared would help shake loose some answers. Soon enough though, it’s clear there’s something not quite right with the motel. For one thing, not all its guests are alive.

Told via two timelines, the story alternate between Viv and Carly’s perspectives, gradually filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle. I know that descriptions like “page-turner” have been repeated to death, but in this case, it is very true and appropriate. I’m not always a fan of multiple timelines as you might know, so I was surprised how quickly I took to The Sun Down Motel. All credit goes to the author, who was able to create such an intense, dynamic atmosphere that wouldn’t let up. It was the perfect blend of mystery and spoooooooky…

I won’t say much more about the plot because that would be spoiling the fun, but I will talk a bit about the two POV characters, who are both so well written. Viv especially surprised me. Introduced at the start of the book as the young woman who goes missing, even as the horrible scenarios started swirling around my brain about what might have happened, Viv’s chapters swiftly showed me my mistake of assuming she’s just another unfortunate victim. Both she and Carly are truth seekers trying to find answers, and while their goals are very different and separated by more than three decades, in the end, each thread leads to a stunning finale. Usually when a book has duo perspectives like this, I tend to gravitate towards one, preferring it over the other. But in this case, I really can’t decide whose timeline I enjoyed reading more, they were both fantastic.

Finally, if you like a touch of the paranormal in your mystery-thrillers, then this one’s for you! On the flip side, if you prefer them to be more realistic and grounded, then you might not take as well to the fantastical aspects and ghostly business, though I personally loved how these added a horror element to the story.

So yeah, in case you can’t tell, I loved this book. it. It always kills me to write reviews for thrillers I really enjoyed, because most of the time I can’t talk about the things in it that I liked without ruining the plot. But just take it from me, this was a great read and I would highly recommend it. And also, this gets the full five starsbecause I listened to the audio, which was absolutely brilliant, with fantastic performances by narrators Brittany Pressley and Kirsten Potter. I’ll be keeping my eye out for audiobooks narrated by them in the future, and also for more books by Simone St. James.

28 Comments on “Audiobook Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James”

  1. Ooh nice! I still have Simone’s first book or last year’s book that I still need to read! That one sounded like a good thriller but I haven’t gotten to it yet! This one sounded equally promising but I wanted to read what I had from the author before adding another book to my TBR pile! Definitely going to note this one for later though because it sounds like my kind of read! I love when a touch of paranormal is added to a mystery or thriller! Great review!


  2. A five star rating for a thriller instantly turns it into a must-read! And for me the paranormal angle adds a little spice to what already promises to be an intriguing story: for some reason the cover image makes me think of Stephen King, which reinforces my desire to see for myself what this book is about. Thank you so much for sharing this! 👍


  3. Surprisingly I haven’t read that many reviews for this book, so it’s on my TBR but not in a serious way. I’m definitely going to have to consider it now!


  4. Same here Mogsy! Exact same feelings and thoughts! And me too I’ll be eyeing their audiobooks (let’s hope I can get them in my country as some are not available like …Crescent City (sigh))


  5. This author wasn’t even on my radar, so thanks for the introduction. And regarding the paranormal, I think I tend to prefer thrillers with just a touch over those that fully embrace it, so I suspect this one would work just fine for me.


  6. Your 5/5 rating has me thrilled about this one. I love a touch of supernatural and am excited to hear this contains some. I’ve been having great luck with the thrillers I’ve been picking up this year as well. Great review!


  7. This sounds so familiar to me and yet I know I haven’t heard of it before LOL. Maybe it’s a sign that I should pick this one up. I think this is one I’ll add to my list. 🙂


  8. Pingback: Bookshelf Roundup 03/28/20: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

  9. This sounds fantastic!! I love the idea of a thriller with a bit of supernatural involvement. Plus I’ve got to admit that the motel descriptions kind of makes me think of Bates Motel 😂


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