Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

A ghostly thriller with secrets? There isn't much more I need than those things!

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Published February 2020

Dark Fiction  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon 

Source: Library Borrow
Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

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 2 Cents For Free!

I listened to this as an unabridged audiobook for the Ladies of Horror Fiction August 2020 Group Readalong. You can read all the comments and always add your own right here:

I did not take very good notes at all because my brain is fried and I am exhausted so this is another dreadful review based on my terrible memory that isn’t really a review at all. I sucketh. Sorry I’m like this lately.

This was an engrossing read. It’s more of a secret filled thriller type book (and I LOVE those) with some ghosties rounding things out. If you like dark fiction and long-buried secrets I think you’ll find a lot to enjoy here.

A young woman whose life has sort of imploded decides to take a road trip to learn more about her aunt who disappeared in the 80’s while working the night shift at a shady motel. Apparently no one cared enough to dig. She wants answers and she’s going to get them even if she has to nearly step into the same shoes as her aunt and put herself in harm’s way.

This story is told in two timelines. The current day and the 80’s but both are set in the town of Fell which seems to be a town stuck in time. Both timelines were fascinating because both of these women are obsessive types who do everything in their power to ferret out the secrets. I loved that. They won’t rest easy, just like the spirits that may or may not inhabit the motel, until justice is served.

The audiobook version is read by two very different narrators which helped me discern which timeline I was in. There may have been a bit of confusion on my end had it been read by only one person because, honestly, I am easily confused. 

I was going to give this book a full five stars but there’s a turn of events at the very end that just didn’t sit right with me after everything that was revealed and for that, I’m knocking off half a star. I can’t say more without spoiling things. I’ll only say that I wish what happened hadn’t happened because it did not feel okay and it was shit just like real life is sometimes shit but it happened so there’s nothing I can do about it but it’s my review and knocking off half a star is what I’m doing!



  1. I read this book earlier this year and I liked it enough to give it 4 stars. There was something at the end with Viv that kind of bugged me, but I don't know if it's the same thing that bugged you. Still, it was a fun ghostly read. :)

  2. I hope to read this one soon. One of the challenges I'm doing on Facebook has it as a group read this month. Hope I can get to it now!

    1. I hope you get to read it soon. I really enjoyed it.

  3. Looks like you enjoyed it for the most part!

    1. Besides the little fumble at the end, I really did!

  4. Even if the ending wasn't great it sounds good.


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