Book Review: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

Guest 2   Guest

Publish Date: August 7, 2018

“Uninvited guests are often most welcome when they leave.” – Aesop

Guest 3

It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing—maybe even romantic—weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity—and all contact with the outside world—the guests settle in for the long haul.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead—it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something—or someone—is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm.

Guest 4

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”

<Record Scratch>

<Cue Psycho Shower Music>

“Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” – Benjamin Franklin

Especially the dead ones. I started this book knowing that people were going to be stuck in a cold, dark inn with a serial murderer. I reminded myself not to get too attached to anyone, because they might end up deader than a doornail.

First of all, it is a terrifying thought that these characters without electricity, which translates to the lack of essentials: light and heat, according to me; phone coverage and especially WiFi, according to my children.

I read the entire book in one plane ride and it was highly entertaining. It is a great book to read on a plane (and NOT while you’re alone in a big, dark house) because it’s deliciously creepy. It’s a well written, perfect murder mystery and I loved it.

The characters are well developed, with plenty of backstory given to understand everyone’s needs and motivations.  There were a lot of characters, about 14, but they are easily distinguishable and I didn’t have any trouble keeping them straight. It has a lot of tension and plenty of creepy moments, because I had NO idea when someone was going to end up dead next. I had NO clue who the murderer was, and it was so fun to guess and then have that person end up dead.

I love how the story started with an idyllic picturesque drive through the beautiful Catskills mountains. It makes me want to travel to the Catskills to check out this place for myself. Shari LaPena was very descriptive in her settings and I felt like I was right there with these people traveling to Mitchell’s Inn. The tale begins with a sunny and light outlook, with each person anticipating a fun, relaxing weekend. It gradually gets darker and darker in mood and in the outdoor environment, and stays that way until the end.

There were characters that I liked and disliked, which made me like this story even more. I was sad when some of my favorite characters were offed, and indifferent when some of the nastier characters ended up dead. Sorry, Not Sorry!

Shari LaPena left me guessing the entire time about the killer’s identity. The killer was a surprise and not someone that I suspected at all. This book was fun, suspenseful, takes place in a very beautiful iconic setting, and thrilling all at the same time, with lots of secrets revealed at the end and ties all of the clues together, which left me very satisfied.

This is my favorite Shari LaPena book to date, and I can definitely picture this as a movie.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 5 Stars

Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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