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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Review: The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf #ATBR2022

The Overnight Guest
by Heather Gudenkauf 

A huge thanks to Park Row for this gifted book!

Publisher: Park Row
Publish Date: January 25, 2022
352 Pages
Genres: Suspense, Thriller

She thought she was alone

True crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. A cozy fire, complete silence. It would be perfect, if not for the fact that decades earlier, at this very house, two people were murdered in cold blood and a girl disappeared without a trace.

As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. After bringing the child inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.

My Review:

I was so stoked to get this book as Gudenkauf is one of my absolute favorite authors.  It all started with NOT A SOUND that I randomly picked up and read while I was visiting a friend overseas and completely fell in love with.  From that point on, I was a huge Gudenkauf fan.  This is my 5th book by her and while it may not have been *perfect*, I absolutely LOVED it and gave it all the stars because of how invested I became in the characters - mainly the kid, of course.  

This is the second book in a row that has been placed in Iowa and it makes me want to visit this state about 0%... but really, I live in NYC and SO SO many psychopaths live here so really I'm spitting nonsense.  But ANYWAYS.......... we basically have one past and two current day scenarios.  I knew they were all going to intersect at some point and make sense (because duh, that's what books do), but I was dying to try and figure out just exactly HOW.  I was so involved with the idiosyncrasies that when I figured it out RIGHT before it was revealed my mouth pretty much stayed in a perpetual 'O' shape... though I definitely get why I didn't see one particular part happen.  And I do feel it's because something else was thrown in that I'm not sure was necessary but did keep me on my toes. Sometimes epilogues can kill the entire book but this time I was happy to see it included as I really did want to know where the survivors may have ended up in life. (I recommend lots and lots of therapy!) 

One of the best things about this author's writing is just how atmospheric it is.  I could feel myself getting frostbite.  I felt the blood splatter.  There was VERY few mentions of corn (that I remember) and I appreciated that so much compared to the last book I read 😉 #ifyky.  I just couldn't put this one down and almost ran into walls in my apartment because of it.  And for that, I give you full stars.


Jessica's Review:

Ever since reading BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND, Heather Gudenkauf quickly became an autobuy author for me. I enjoyed THIS IS HOW I LIED and THESE HIDDEN THINGS, but unfortunately her newest one, THE OVERNIGHT GUEST just didn't quite hit the mark for me. This had all the hallmarks of a solid thriller - multiple story lines and timelines, an isolated setting, mysterious circumstances for taking in strangers during a storm, and plenty of suspense. However, I really found myself only engaged with one of the timelines (present day)

I just have to say that, as a Minnesotan, I can't believe how unprepared she was for this blizzard. But if you're not used to the weather conditions then I can give it a pass for the character. The questions surrounding Wylie's unexpected guest - a child she found in a snowbank near her cabin she was renting - kept the present day timeline tense as things slowly unraveled as the storm raged on outside. There were parts that were fairly predictable and I had some issues with the pacing in two of the timelines but it didn't take me out of it enough to not continue. I don't want to give away much more than the synopsis so I don't risk spoiling it, but I think if you go into it expecting more of slower paced thriller/suspense then I think you'll enjoy it a lot more! Not every book by a favorite author will be a hit, but I will continue to pick up whatever I can from Gudenkauf.

3 stars

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