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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 Book of Cold Cases and 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 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



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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Free sample

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

Why I love it

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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Member ratings (32,485)

  • Ali C.

    Lakeland , FL

    Shocked! Shocked x 2. Shocked x 3. Shocked x 4. Shocked x 5. Shocked x 6. Shocked x 7. Shocked x 8. SHOCKED! sHoCkEd! ShOcKeD! shocked! Thrilled! SHOCKED… SHOCKED!?!?!? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????



    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. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Jessica G.

    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

  • Natali M.

    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 ????????‍♀️

  • Caitlin M.

    south milwaukee, WI

    This is the perfect combination of ghost story and true crime cold case. I was enthralled the entire read never guessing what would come next. Read it in one sitting, absolutely loved it. ????????????????????