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The Sun Down Motel
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The Sun Down Motel

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
6895924,579 (3.92)36
Upstate NY, 1982. Viv Delaney knows something isn't right at the Sun Down motel, where she works as a night clerk, and she's determined find out what. Upstate NY, 2017. Carly Kirk has always been fascinated by her aunt Viv who disappeared from the Sun Down before Carly was born. Using a small inheritance from when her mom dies, Carly leaves college to figure out what happened to her aunt thirty-five years ago. Soon, Carly is mirroring her aunt's life, working as the night clerk at the motel, where a haunting presence still lingers and a possible serial killer stalks the night desk.… (mere)
Medlem:Jack_Feser
Titel:The Sun Down Motel
Forfattere:
Info:Publisher Unknown
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:***
Nøgleord:Ingen

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The Sun Down Motel af Simone St. James

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» Se også 36 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 59 (næste | vis alle)
It’s 1982 and Vivian “Viv” Delaney leaves her confining home to find fame and fortune in New York City. By chance, Viv ends up in Fell, New York, where she finds a job as a night manager at the eponymous Sun Down Motel.
At the end of November 1982, Viv disappears.

35 years later, in 2017, her niece, Carly Kirk, follows in Viv’s footsteps after the death of Carly’s mother, Viv’s sister. Carly also flees her overbearing brother, her college courses and her life in general, in pursuit of Viv whose fate she’s determined to discover.

Consequently, Carly, too, goes to Fell and also gets a job at the Sun Down Motel - as the night manager. She even moves into Viv’s old flat and proceeds to not only discover but experience the past…

The book switches (mostly from chapter to chapter) between Viv’s story in 1982 and Carly’s in 2017. While this is currently an often-used storytelling device which would usually distract and, potentially, annoy me, in this instance, it actually adds to the atmosphere of this book.

Its dense, chilling atmosphere, the late night setting (and weary days) is, in fact, one of the major selling points: It has been a long time since I actually lost sleep over a book because I wanted to read just one more chapter...

The writing is (mostly) subtle and elaborate, be it about a “featherlight click sound” or “the perfect, silent hush of night”. Most of all, though, I enjoyed the two converging stories of Viv and Carly who both come to realise not all is as peaceful as it seems in Fell.

I worried for both young women pretty much all the time - a run-down motel, at night, strange noises, the only guests a man who can’t sleep anywhere else, cheating spouses and a strange travelling salesman…

For the most part I was guessing what had happened to Viv and what might yet happen to Carly, both of whom I found very likeable. “The Sun Down Motel” read like a mystery thriller with a supernatural touch (which was, actually, the only part I did not really enjoy, especially not the part at the end...).

For the thrills it gave me, the sleep it stole and its satisfying writing, “The Sun Down Motel” gets four very much deserved stars from me. ( )
  philantrop | May 14, 2021 |
Creepy? Yes. Scary? Yes. One of the creepiest and scariest books I’ve read in a long time? Yes. The whole experience felt very real and it was awesome. This one had me sitting on the edge of my seat alpmost the whole time.
The story takes place in 1982 and in 2017. After losing her mother, Carly decides to try to find out what happened to her mother’s sister, Vivian. Having disappeared in 1982 without a trace, it’s something Carly feels compelled to do, And this needs us to the craziness known as The Sun Down Motel.
There’s a small amount of the supernatural here but definitely not enough to make a big difference in the overall story. Actually seems to fit in just perfectly. any review is not going to do this book justice. This one really just must be read to understand, so go read it! ( )
  purple_pisces22 | Mar 14, 2021 |
I wanted to give this four stars, but the ending just ruined it for me. I felt that she could have done so much more with Carly, Aunt Viv and the motel. Felt like a total let down at the end. ( )
  BookLove80 | Mar 12, 2021 |



I was very impressed with what Simone St. James did with this book. She's written something that manages to be thought/anger-provoking, is driven by strong female characters and delivers a thriller/supernatural mystery that is tense and exciting.

The rhythm of the story is set by switching the narrative between two timelines, thirty-five years apart, but with the action in both taking place in the Sun Down Motel, at the edge of the small town of Fell, New York. The 1982 timeline is told from the point of view of Viv Delaney, a twenty-something woman who takes a casual job in a strange town to fund her travel to New York and finds herself entangled in something strange. The 2017 timeline is told from the point of view of Viv Delaney's niece, also twenty-something, who has taken a job at the motel to investigate her aunt's disappearance.

The two women differ in their attitudes, their motivation and the level of risk they're willing to take. They are linked by Viv's disappearance. Knowing Viv will disappear but not knowing why or how is a major driver of the tension in the book.

In both timelines, all the main characters are women. The men are almost all either threats or obstacles. Viv and Carly both find their perceptions altered by working the nightshift at the Sun Down Motel. I loved the descriptions of the detachment from reality that comes from working nights. I recognise that feeling of being surrounded by the world but not being in it because the rhythm of your life is different. Here's a description of the impact on Viv who is away from home for the first time:

'Night people were not the same as day people. The good people of Fell, whoever they were, were sound asleep at three A.M. Those people never saw the people Viv saw: the cheating couples having affairs, the truckers strung out on whatever they took to stay awake, the women with blackened eyes who checked out at five A.M. to futilely go home again. These weren't people suburban Viv Delaney would ever have seen in a hundred years. They weren't people she would ever have talked to. There was an edge to them. A hard collision with life that she hadn't known was possible in her soft cocoon. It wasn't romantic but something about it fascinated her. She didn't want to look away.'

The 'didn't want to look away' statement turns out to be key to understanding Viv's character and the intent of the book.

I started off preferring Carly's segments because I found them harder to classify. They had menace but I didn't know what the menace was. Viv seemed more like a character in Steven King's Castle Rock. By the half-way point that had changed. Viv had become a force: clever, brave, increasingly angry, a combatant with empathy for the losses suffered by others. Carly remained an amateur sleuth, too convinced of her own safety, too distant from the people around her. Viv was a warrior powered by rage. Carly was a true-crime buff driven by curiosity.

'The Sun Down Motel' is original enough to be hard to classify. It's not a ghost story. It is a thriller with ghosts in it but its essence is something different. For me, the heart of this story isn't about seeing ghosts but about seeing the violence that men do to women and refusing to look away. It's a book that is powered by rage at how we accept the murder of women, how we try to attribute the violence done to them to some flaw in their character or something inappropriate in their behaviour or simply a failure to be 'sensible'.

In the same way that this is a story with ghosts in it but is not a ghost story, this is a story with a serial killer in it but it's not a serial-killer story. This a book that deals with a man who hunts and kills women and gets away with it. It's not the get-inside-the-complex-mind-of-the-killer fall-in-love-with-Hannibal-Lector kind of serial killer book, that glamourises the serial killer and works off the premise that to catch the killer, you have to become him. Simone St. James keeps the focus on the women who were killed. They are always named. The life that was taken away from them is always shown. The indifference of the world to catching men who kill women is a thread that connects the two timelines.

This is a book where the violence of the men and their sense of entitlement to that violence, is damning not just because of what the men do but because it's taken for granted. A man killing women, while not being seen as acceptable, is not unexpected. A man threatening and hurting a woman is seen as so commonplace that it's not worth reporting. This institutionalised blindness isn't specific to 1982, it continues today. In the UK, three women a week are killed by their male partners yet there is no special initiative to deal with this. This kind of institutionalised blindness isn't achieved through poor eyesight. It can only be sustained by persistently looking away.

In my view, 'The Sun Down Motel' is a story about what happens when women refuse to look away; when they listen to each other; when they hold the men accountable. I think this is why all the main actors in the story are women. They don't need to get into the mind of the serial killer; they need to get into the minds of the women who were killed. The first indication of this is the conversation between Viv and a woman PI were they talk about how an attack on a woman called Bettie made the women of Fell afraid. The Pi says:

'Because we were all Bettie, for a few weeks at least, y'know?'

Viv's reaction is key:

Viv swallowed and nodded. 'We're all still Betty,' she said. 'At least I am.'

Later, after Viv finds out more about what has been going on, she finds herself speaking into silence on a phone at the motel in the middle of the night, wondering if she's talking to the spirit of a dead woman. She says:

'I'm so sorry. I don't think anyone has been as sorry for you as I am. I looked at your picture and you could be me. You could be any of us. You didn't deserve it. None of us do. It's wrong. I don't know what else to do except try to make it right.'

I don't want to give the plot away. The book has a couple of good twists in it. They're the kind you almost see coming but don't really and which then change your whole understanding of the story. I thought all of that was handled skillfully.

I was less pleased with the ending. Its content seemed a little mismatched to the tone of the rest of the book. It was less stark and less daring. Still, I wasn't the one writing the book and this ending definitely worked.

I strongly recommend the audiobook version of 'The Sun Down Motel'. Kirsten Potter and Brittany Pressley take a timeline each and both of them do an excellent job. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.


https://soundcloud.com/penguin-audio/the-sun-down-motel-by-simone

( )
1 stem MikeFinnFiction | Mar 6, 2021 |
Usually books surrounded by a lot of hype are disappointing, but not this one! I kept seeing rave reviews for this on Litsy, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon - and I'm so glad I did! Suspenseful and well written, this mystery interwoven with a ghost story had all the creeps and chills! A fun escape full of tension and atmosphere! ( )
  ShannonHollinger | Feb 15, 2021 |
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Upstate NY, 1982. Viv Delaney knows something isn't right at the Sun Down motel, where she works as a night clerk, and she's determined find out what. Upstate NY, 2017. Carly Kirk has always been fascinated by her aunt Viv who disappeared from the Sun Down before Carly was born. Using a small inheritance from when her mom dies, Carly leaves college to figure out what happened to her aunt thirty-five years ago. Soon, Carly is mirroring her aunt's life, working as the night clerk at the motel, where a haunting presence still lingers and a possible serial killer stalks the night desk.

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