I really like Shari Lapena’s writing. She’s very good at building tense and atmospheric settings in her books and her third thriller, An Unwanted Guest is no exception.
Mitchell’s Inn is the remote, perfect get away hotel; there is no wi-fi, no phone signal, it’s just in the middle of wilderness and comfort in luxurious rooms. The story starts when our strangers gather in this hotel for a weekend break, they’re unaware that a storm will cut them off from the world. Snow and ice traps them. Then one of the guests found dead on the landing. On the surface it looks like a very unfortunate accident. But is it, really?
A long-time married loveless couple,
‘We haven’t been happy, Beverly, for a long time.’
She doesn’t know how to respond to that. Of course they haven’t been happy. Her friends – with big mortgages , demanding jobs, problem teenagers, and ageing parents – aren’t happy, either. It’s impossible at this stage of their lives, with all the demands and stresses they face. He’s simply being childish, she thinks, looking back at him in disbelief.
a lonely attorney,
He will try not to think about work for an entire forty eight hours. Everyone, no matter how busy, needs to recharge once in a while, even – perhaps especially – a top criminal attorney. It’s rare for him to be able to fit in any downtime at all, much less an entire weekend.
two female friends haunted by different pasts,
She’s in a strange place. Hell isn’t imaginary; it’s real. It’s a real place and it’s also a state of mind. And she can feel herself slipping into the pit,
a newly engaged glamorous couple,
Dana is in another class altogether. It’s not just her beauty, which is hard to ignore. It’s her glamour. Her awareness of her own gorgeousness.
another charming couple who are trying to know each other better,
Lauren Day glances at the man next to her, Ian Beeton. He’s driving his car expertly in rather challenging conditions, and making it all look easy. He has a disarming smile, and he turns it on her now. She smiles back. He’s nice-looking, too, tall and spare, but it’s the smile that first attracted her to him, his laidback charm that makes him so appealing.
and the hotel owner, with his son…
Bradley cocks one eyebrow. ‘Don’t worry. My dad’s the chef. It’s a family-owned hotel. We live on-site – in an apartment at the end of the hall, past the bar.’
These strangers don’t know each other and everyone doubts the others are up to something.
It’s impossible not to think of And Then There Were None, and Lapena waves to Agatha Christie on one of the pages:
Matthew has noticed bookcases around the hotel, filled with books of all sorts.
“I found an old Agatha Christie on my bedside table” Lauran volunteeers.
I loved this reference.
I loved this book. The only thing that made this a 4 star read was the ending. I was hoping for something more glamorous, more Agatha-Christie style, but it wasn’t that dramatic. Still this was an excellent, well written book and I would be looking forward for Shari Lapena’s fourth book!