An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
We can’t choose the strangers we meet.
As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.
Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.
With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.
Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.
An Unwanted Guest centres around a weekend at the Mitchells Inn. A weekend that should be one filled with relaxation, peace and quiet. But turns out to be a weekend of murder, mystery and suspicion. During a violent storm, the guests finds themselves cut off from the outside work. In a remote location where no one can get in or out!
With a killer in their midst.
The novel is told in almost a diary style, with the dates/times listed. So we read on, as each of the guests arrive and come to know there individual personalities. They are an unusual bunch and none of them really trusts one another, when the murders begin. . .
Gwen Delaney and Riley Shuter are best friends on a weekend escape from life. Riley is distant; and we learn that it is due to her PTSD and recovery from time as a war correspondent for national news. There is also top NY criminal defence attorney David Paley, a widower seeking a break from the daily grind of work.
There are three couples Lauren Day and Ian Beeton. Beverley and Henry Sullivan, an older couple with a marriage in trouble. Dana Hart and Matthew Hutchinson, a newly engaged couple that are the gossip of the guests.
There is also a resident writer on retreat Candice White, whom spends most of her time alone and away from the other guests.
Six of the twelve rooms are occupied this weekend. With the weather the hotel is short staffed. As it is a family owned business, father and son James and Bradley Harwood, find themselves managing all the tasks needed to keep the hotel running. The father James is the hotel’s chef and the son Bradley the bartender. The guests settle in and unpack for their first night at the hotel. In the morning, they are awoken by the sounds of screams. . . .
At the bottom of the stairs lays a body. There is a power-cut and the hotel is plummeted into darkness. Did the victim fall? Or were they pushed? Is this an accident or murder?
Throughout the novel, the guest’s dark secrets are slowly revealed. I was gripped by the individual storylines. Beverley and Henry’s unhappy marriage goes from bad to worse. The friendship between Gwen and riley is truly tested, when Gwen makes choices Riley disapproves of.
The characterisation is brilliant; and I loved how the secrets are slowly revealed.
They felt like little bits of gossip and really added to my feelings regarding different characters.
Upon the discovery of the body, fear sets in and accusations begin to fly. With the guests turning on each other, will the killer ever be revealed? David with his experience of criminal court, takes centre stage making decisions for the group. But even David has secrets. Secrets he doesn’t want revealed.
The novel has a clever whodunit style. Like a modern-day Agatha Christie novel. It has a brilliant ending that doesn’t disappoint.
Murder, mystery and suspicion 4*