Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Bookish suspense...



Winter in the Catskills.
A charming inn.
Ten guests.
One perfect weekend.
Until....
One of the ten is murdered.
And the rest get snowed in.
And their dream weekend turns into a nightmare.



In An Unwanted Guest, Shari Lapena has written a suspenseful mystery reminiscent of Agatha Christie. The fact that her characters are all snowed in by an ice storm made me like this book even more. The narrative switches between the twelve main characters, which should have been confusing, but somehow never was. What it did do was keep the story moving at a very fast pace. And I liked most of the characters. There's James, the inn's owner, and his son, Bradley; David, the criminal defense attorney (and my favorite), Gwen and her best friend, Riley, who's suffering from PTSD; Beverly and her cheating husband, Henry (who I didn't like); Matthew, who's rich, and his too-beautiful fiancee, Dana; Candace, the aloof writer; and dating couple Lauren and Ian. 

As for the mystery itself, while I didn't guess the murderer, I did enjoy the various turns and twists along the way. But what really made reading this book fun was sharing the suspense with Melody. This was our most recent 'buddy read'. She did a better job at guessing whodunnit, so be sure to check out her review of this entertaining mystery, as well as the questions she asked me about it when we were done.

Happy Reading!

Melody's questions (and my answers):

Q.  This story fits perfectly as a "locked room" mystery, given the setting and the events that happened. Do you think this 'claustrophobia' feeling will evoke a change in a person's mentality and drive him/her into doing something unbelievable?
A.   Absolutely. And you could see it in the way the characters started to get a little paranoid, and point fingers and accuse each other of these horrible crimes. Some even went farther, acting on thoughts that they never would have acted on if they hadn't been trapped in this stressful situation.

Q. Would you stay in a remote inn like Catskills and Mitchell's for a relaxing getaway during the winter? 
A.  I think it would be fun to be in such a quiet, peaceful setting with all that snow...just as long as no one got murdered.  😉

Q. And finally, who do you think you'd be friends with among the characters in the book?
A.  Truthfully, I'm not sure I'd be friends with any of them--certainly NOT Beverly or Henry, or even Matthew and Dana. I'd probably get along best with David, and maybe with Gwen. But I'm not sure we'd ever really be friends. We're just too different. But out of all the characters, I liked David best. 



31 comments:

  1. This is on my buy list already. I've got something else by the author already waiting to be read too.

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    1. I haven't read anything else by this author, but I want to! I like the way she writes.

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  2. A cabin in the mountains in winter and a group of paranoid guests sounds like a good mystery setting, especially as I tend to love winter mysteries. :)

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    1. Then this would be a perfect read for you.

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  3. I am already planning on some snowy atmospheric reads for January after Halloween and the holidays have passed and this one sounds perfect!

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    1. I loved all the setting with all the snow and ice. It really added to the mystery.

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  4. Sounds like a great book to read on a dreary day. I'll have to look at my library.

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  5. I like these locked room mysteries. This one sounds fun but the characters don’t sound so great.

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    1. The only character I really hated was Henry. The others I mostly liked. Or at least could empathize with. And you're never in one character's POV long enough to get tired of them.

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  6. This looks like a great read. I love the setting. I just finished reading And Then There Were None, and An Unwanted Guest sounds like it has a bit of Agatha Christie in it. I'll be adding An Unwanted Guest to my list!

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    1. It has a definite Christie vibe to it. :)

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  7. Great review, Lark! Henry is a real unlikeable character among all, isn't it? Although not all of them are unlikeable, I don't really have a favourite character either. Have you read her first book, The Couple Next Door?

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    1. I haven't read it. Did you like that one as much as this one?

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    2. I remember the book has received lots of attention when it was released. It's a domestic thriller and I enjoyed reading it. It's totally a different read from "An Unwanted Guest", that's for sure.

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  8. I've been hearing such great things about this book and your review makes me want to read it even more! I love these types of mysteries.

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  9. I enjoy locked-room puzzles, though I sometimes have trouble keeping that many characters straight (I've been known to draw up charts). Luckily our libraries have this, and a couple of her other books as well.

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    1. I was afraid I'd have trouble keeping all the different characters straight, too, because there are so many, but I actually didn't have any trouble at all. (And I was even tired when I read it.)

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  10. I love these type of mysteries - like Clue and And Then There Were None. I'm glad all the perspectives didn't become confusing. I need to check this one out.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Lapena does a good job keeping her narrative moving while never confusing the reader. Thanks for commenting! :)

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  11. It does sound very Christie-ish; the parallel that springs to my mind is The Mousetrap, because of the trapped-by-the-snow device. I had the fun of directing my high school students in a production back when I taught English and drama (about 25 years ago, I realize; where DOES the time go!?)

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    1. I liked that Christie feel this book captures. (And I know what you mean about time going by much too fast!) :D

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  12. Always so fun to read your buddy reviews. I'm glad this was a good one to read and it's going on my wish list!

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  13. Ooh I liked this one. :) Loved the Q&A too. It is fun to think about what people will do when placed under those kind of circumstances. And yeah some of these characters weren't super likable. :)

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  14. I can't wait to read this one! It sounds like something I would really like.

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  15. This sounds like my kind of book! I've heard lots of good things about it, so I'm not surprised you enjoyed it.

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    1. That whole snowed-in aspect gets me every time. :)

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