By: Shari Lapena
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: August 2018
Reviewed by: Jennifer Rearick
Review Date: August 22, 2018
Mitchell’s Inn in the mountains of New York is a luxury hotel. On a Friday night, with a snowstorm coming in, it is turning out to be a great place for a relaxing getaway - for a lot of people.
Gwen and Riley are two friends who attended the same journalism school. After graduating, the two went into completely separate careers. Gwen became a communications person for a corporation while Riley decided to be a journalist in war zones. Since Riley’s work has drastically changed her, Gwen is hoping this weekend will help get Riley back to her old self.
David, a well-known defense attorney, is hoping to get away from his crazy life. This weekend away, being cut off from all communication, will hopefully give him some much needed alone time to deal with his hectic life.
Beverly, who is at the inn with her husband Henry, has a more romantic idea for this weekend. Between their children and full-time jobs, they haven’t been able to have any "alone time." Beverly hopes that this weekend will be just what they need to get their marriage back on track.
Dana and Matthew are the engaged couple. With their wedding coming up, the planning has taken a toll on Dana. Matthew hopes the weekend will refresh them so they can make it through the last stage of the planning.
Candice White, the one who mostly keeps to herself, is the writer. With a book that needs to be finished, Candice has decided to take the weekend off from caring for her mother, and come to the inn to get some needed quiet time to finish her book.
Finally, there is Lauren and Ian, the new couple. Ian, looking to spice up the new relationship plans a nice romantic weekend getaway.
As the guests begin arriving, the winter storm starts to take a turn for the worst. With only two staff members, James and his son Bradley, guest services may suffer just a bit. During the night, the storm turns into an ice storm, and the hotel loses power. Not only does the hotel lose power, but with the roads still covered, they are all completely shut in until the roads get clear and power gets restored.
When Lauren wakes up on Saturday morning and feels how cold it is, she realizes they must have lost power. Wondering if anyone else is up, she heads downstairs. As she is walking down the steps, she notices Dana laying at the bottom. As she checks to see if Dana is still alive, her surprised scream alerts everyone and they come running to see what happened. Most people guess that she must have fallen down the stairs, but David isn’t convinced. He suspects murder. Without power, there is no way to contact the police. David instructs everyone to leave Dana there and advises Matthew to stay in his room until they can contact the police. With a sheet covering Dana, everyone tries to get on with their Saturday.
As the day goes on, people realize they haven’t seen Candice in a while. When the guests go to check on her in her room, they find her laying in the middle of the floor - strangled. Panic starts to set in on whether there might be a stranger at the inn, or a killer amongst them. At this point the guests decide that it would be best for them to all stay together. After searching the hotel and finding no signs of forced entry, they realize that there is a killer amongst them. When another person ends up dead...
An Unwanted Guest was an amazing book that was truly hard to put down. It was very detailed and made me feel as if I was right there with the guests at the inn. The book is set up to test the reader's detective skills. You do not know the "why" until the very end, but you have your list of suspects and their alibis to help you figure out who the murderer is. But will you? The plot kept me guessing and will definitely keep you guessing too.
Quill says: If you want a great who-done-it story that will test your detective skills, this is the one for you!