I did a search looking for haunted house books because I was in the mood for some ghosties. The Sun Down Motel popped up right away. I was intrigued because I also have a thing for old motels, abandoned motor courts, and the like. Also, the book is set in upstate New York, the area in which I live. I also happened to live in upstate NY in 1982, which is the year the protagonist’s aunt vanished.
I wasn’t expecting another The Shining (the only book I’ve ever read that scared the daylights out of me in broad daylight), but based on the hype I expected a lot more than was delivered.
First of all, the book switched back and forth between 1982 and “the present”, muddling the story. The characters were interchangeable. Only the names changed. I kept having to stop and figure out in whose point of view/which year I was reading. The only distinct and memorable character was the motel itself. Needless to say, the motel was the only character even approaching likability.
I was also highly offended by the constant litany that 1982 was a different time and young women didn’t need to be as careful as “in the present.” I was a young single woman in 1982 in upstate New York. The time wasn’t that different. At least, not enough to use it as a justification for carelessness.
The story is billed as a mystery. Nope. Suspenseful. What? I put the book down for days at a time because I simply didn’t care about the story.
My take? Don’t bother.