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All booksHorrorThe Sun Down Motel
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

The Sun Down Motel

Repeat author
Simone St. James is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include The Broken Girls.
Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Simone St. James

Quick take

A creep-tastic ghost story where a woman finds the run-down motel her aunt was last seen in. And it's def haunted.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Supernatural


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Scary


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Movieish


Why I love it

Siobhan Jones
BOTM Editorial Team

I try not to make grandiose predictions, but if The Sun Down Motel is any indication of the quality of thrillers we can look forward to in 2020, then we are on the cusp of a very, very good year for reading. Simone St. James has crafted a winning recipe: start with a nod to the Stephen King small-town setting, add a pinch of domestic suspense, throw in a dash of amateur sleuthing, and stir until the spirits slither out.

Carly is a young woman on the hunt for her aunt, who went missing a few decades ago. Her detective work takes her to the sleepy backwater town of Fell, New York, where she tries to retrace her aunt’s steps by taking the same night clerk job that the woman occupied at a decrepit old motel called The Sun Down. Yes, this is the part in the book where you’ll be screaming at the main character to pack her bags and get the hell out of there; naturally, she does no such thing. Instead, she starts putting her nose where it doesn’t belong and getting acquainted with the motel’s ultra-creepy history, as well as a few of its unwanted, supernatural guests…

This is one of my favorite reads of the last few months: a propulsive mystery with some freaky elements that is also a proper spookfest. For a uniquely scary tale that is the very definition of fun, look no further than The Sun Down Motel.

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Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Sun Down Motel.

Member thoughts

All (26680)
All (26680)
Love (15838)
Like (9829)
Dislike (1013)
26913 ratings
  • 59% Love
  • 37% Like
  • 4% Dislike

    Loved, loved this book! Stayed up all night with my eyes glued to each letter. Great attention to detail ending with a suspenseful twist. Looking forward to read more from this author. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Midland, TX

    LOVED this mystery. The alsternating timelines was super interesting, especially with all the parallels of the two main characters. I did figure out the ending pretty easy but it didnt take away from myinterest

  • Libertyville, IL

    So good! I loved the way the timelines were woven together, and I was still guessing with Carly as she investigated. Creepy, atmosphere, and totally engrossing. I think I could be a Fell girl ????????‍♀️

  • Chillicothe, OH

    Didn’t think I’d like this ‘cause it’s not typically my go-to genre- I was afraid it would be silly and cheesy- but kept me hooked the whole time and had some great twists! Would definitely recommend!

  • New Orleans, LA

    This is my kind of story!!! I’m just sad it’s over because I literally can’t find a better way to entertain myself. I need more like this. Bravo Simone St. James! Cannot wait to read your other novels

  • Plainfield, IL

    Simone really makes you feel! She is one of the only authers that makes me sleep with a night light. Not only becayse I’m scared but because I say, “just one more chapter” constantly! Excellent story!

  • Plattsburgh, NY

    I loved it! The author does a great job letting us experience Viv, and Carley’s “ experience” of their time spent in this sleepy, creepy town and the motel. The ghosts are believable!!!! A great read!

  • Kansas City, MO

    “Get some sleep. Take it easy until the sun comes up again. And if you see someone sitting at the end of your bed, pay them no mind. That’s just one of my secrets.” What fun; I couldn’t put it down!

  • Alexandria, VA

    I actually really liked the “ghost” storyline. My only complaint is I didn’t really understand the purpose of the grandson character - it felt like an unfinished afterthought. Other than that, loved!

  • Ben Wheeler , TX

    I wasn’t sure about this book at first, it took a couple chapters to “get into” it. But once i did, i was hooked. Great story, great read with just the right amount of mystery to make you want more.

  • Dallas, TX

    St. James pulls ghosts, romance, mysteries, thrills, & chills into a ‘how does this end?’ page turner with solid closure. The college heroine’s driven quest coats upstate NY with a shivering shimmer.

  • Baraga , MI

    I haven’t read a good ghost story in a long time and this one fit the bill. The description of the strange occurrences around the motel were excellent. I wasn’t ready for the story to end when it did.

  • Wellington, CO

    A great 1st read of 2020. This thriller/ghost story instantly grabbed my attention and didn’t let go until the end. Simone St. James is an expert storyteller, & I can’t wait to see what she does next

  • Valdosta , GA

    This novel is set in #upstatenewyork but I’ve seen hotels like this in the south too. I’ve never stayed in one, and after this read, I certainly would not! Carly goes to Fell, NY, in 2017 to check on

  • New York Mills, NY

    This book was a perfect blend of murder mystery/ghost story that’s right up my alley. The blended narrative really helped the reader to fill in the blanks and see the truth behind this “evil” motel.


    A spooky motel; a girl tracing her aunt’s steps 35 yrs after she disappears. The story unfolds over 2 POV’s and it is riveting- a well-constructed story and absolute page-turner. Tops for my 1st BOTM.

  • Corona , CA

    This was a super easy read, nonstop suspense, and very well written to keep you hooked – – hard to put down! I was disappointed with some errors that an editor should have caught; the story was great!

  • Arlington , VA

    I love thrillers and horror, and this book was right up my alley! One of my favorite books I’ve read this year. Loved the suspense of finding out the motel’s backstory through the 2 parallel timelines

  • Austin, TX

    This book was one of my favorites that I’ve read this year, and I’m dying to find more books like this one. The process that the characters go through, the small details that are portrayed are amazing

  • Rochester Hills, MI

    What to even say about this book? I was HOOKED. I let my mother in law borrow it just so someone else would be scared with me. Absolutely loved the atmosphere and constant feelings of “what’s next?”

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