Review: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

This was a book that I originally passed on but then changed my mind. I have been seeing this book all over my Instagram and I caved under the peer pressure!

When I passed on it, it was mostly because my review schedule was really tight for August, but I had also been reading a ton of thrillers and I was kind of ready for a break. But as I said, I have zero self control sometimes so I caved and decided to review this one and fit it in when I could.

As luck would have it, I finished one of my August books suer early so I was able to fit it in sooner than expected, and I was happy that I could because the more I saw it on Instagram the more I wanted to read it! 

It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off the electricity–and all contact with the outside world–the guests settle in for the long haul.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm (summary from Goodreads).

I feel like I’ve read a lot of these ‘house party turned murder spree’ novels lately but yet they never seem to get old to me. I grew up playing Clue the board game and of course I was obsessed with Clue the movie (hello cult classic!) so books with a ‘house party turned murder spree’ are kind of a staple for me when it come to reading. No matter how many of them I read and how different the characters are from Clue, I always seems to find myself asking things like……was it Mrs Scarlett in the library with the rope? Or Colonel Mustard in the study with the knife?

This book captured that Clue vibe that I love so much. While it was a little underwhelming when it comes to plot (not your dark twisted thriller that’s so popular these days) but it had all the fun little nuances that make Clue such an iconic board game/film. There were a lot of characters that seems to be random but then are they really? It reminded me of an Agatha Christie novel, I’ve seen a lot of other reviewers note the same thing and I completely agree…..dead on with it comes to Christie similarities.

This book was actually a pretty quick read. It had about 300 pages which really isn’t a lot of pages by today’s thriller standards, but I felt for the length that it was, it was fast paced and had decent character development—-especially considering how many people there were. As I said before, the plot wasn’t terribly original and at times obvious, but that was just fine by me. I still loved reading it and discovering who the murderer was and what their motives were.

Lapena is an experienced mystery writer and it shows in this book. She knows exactly how to hook her readers and how to keep the story moving along. I would probably put this one in the mystery/suspense category rather than the thriller category as it read more like a mystery than the twisted darkness and uncertainty of a thriller. I love classic style mystery/suspense novels and thats exactly what this one was for me. A quick read full of interesting characters and a very readable murder mystery!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: An unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena 

  • Hardcover, 304 pages
  • Published August 7th 2018 by Pamela Dorman Books (first published July 2018)
  • ISBN 0525557628 (ISBN13: 9780525557623)
  • Review copy provided by: publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

Recommendation: 4 out of 5

Genre: mystery, suspense, thriller

Memorable lines/quotes: 

7 thoughts on “Review: An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

  1. I am amazed that no one mentioned the fact that everyone at the Inn had cell phones which could easily have been recharged in the guests cars. They would have been able to record conversations, take picture of all the evidence, even videos. Not to mention the flashlight.

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