Review Blog

Jan 06 2020

An unwanted guest by Shari Lapena

cover image

Transworld, 2019. ISBN: 9780552174879. 320pp.
(Age: Adult) Recommended. What a thrill to try and work out 'who dunnit' in this nod to the locked room mystery genre. Instead of a room, Lapena has put a group of guests who don't know each other into a luxurious boutique hotel in a remote forested area. Then a blizzard causes all roads into the hotel to be closed and the electricity is cut off, and it becomes totally isolated from the outside world. Suspense and tension grows as the guests begin to be murdered, one by one, suspicion falling in turn on each one of the guests, leaving the reader desperately trying to figure out who has committed the crimes among a myriad of red herrings and alarming back stories of the guests.
Easy to read in one or two sittings, Lapena has developed her guests so well that the reader feels that they know them and their fears and feelings. It is very difficult to work out just who could be the murderer as each character has strengths and flaws which Lapena skilfully describes as the body count grows. Each murder has different characteristics - a fall down the stairs, a drug overdose, and a bashed head, all of which makes it hard to know if there is more than one person on a killing spree or a stranger lurking in the hotel picking off the guests. And that twist at the end! What a well-constructed and satisfying finale to a great read.
I really enjoyed this book and will be sure to pick up other books by this best-selling author. Fans of Adrian McKinty and Ruth Ware may enjoy this book.
Pat Pledger

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Nebula Awards
Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards 2020
2020 Teens' Top Ten Nominees
Hugo Award Finalists 2020
Book explaining the coronavirus
Feel good and uplifting books for primary children
Humour for teens fiction list

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Feel good and uplifting books for staff
Online Children's Storytime Websites List
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Children's Laureate's charter