An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

An Unwanted Gust

A remote lodge in upstate New York is the perfect getaway. . . until the bodies start piling up.It’s winter in the Catskills and the weather outside is frightful. But Mitchell’s Inn is so delightful! The cozy lodge nestled deep in the woods is perfect for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. The Inn boasts spacious old rooms with huge wood-burning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a book and someone you love.

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. The power’s down but they’ve got candles, blankets, and wood–a genuine rustic experience! Soon, though, a body turns up–surely an accident. When a second body appears, they start to panic. Then they find a third body. Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. They can’t leave, and with no cell service, there’s no prospect of getting the police in until the weather loosens its icy grip. The weekend getaway has turned deadly. For some couples, it’s their first time away. For others, it will be their last. And there’s nothing they can do about it but huddle down and hope they can survive the storm.

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I read this at the beginning of September, but I wish I had waited until December or January when there was a snow storm. This book is perfect for cuddling up on the couch with the fire on and with a cup of tea.

An Unwanted Guest just screams spookiness. A remote cabin. Massive snow and ice storm. No power. No cell service or wifi. Oh and people keep getting murdered. I love novels that have a limited amount of suspects, which keeps me guessing on what will happen and who is the murderer. I was wrong a couple times, even with some of my suspects ending up dead.

I wasn’t particularly fond of the ending. I think it wrapped up too simply and I was still left with questions relating to some of the characters’ backstories.

4 calculators out of a potential 5. A big improvement from The Couple Next Door and I’m super excited to check out Someone We Know and Lapena’s future novels.

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The couple next door

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

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I think this is a perfect airplane or beach novel that doesn’t need to be taken too seriously. Around the 100 page mark, the novel falls away from being relatable and you start thinking – this would never happen in real life.

The novel starts relatable – a couple can’t find a baby sitter for their dinner party, so they decide to leave the baby at home, next door, and check on her every 30 mins. Maybe not the world’s best parents, but ok, you can kind of see it. Until, of course, the baby goes missing.

This novel has a ton of layers, where (of course) each character is not how they seem. The husband and wife are keeping secrets from each other, the wife’s parents have secrets and of course the other couple from the dinner party have secrets.

Some other reviewers complained about the final twist of the novel, but I wasn’t too upset with it. By this point, the novel had gone way past realistic, so any plot twists that I didn’t see coming were just a bonus.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. An entertaining read that probably goes a bit too far from reality.

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