An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena #BookReview #BlogTour

We can’t choose the strangers we meet.

As the guests arrive at beautiful, remote Mitchell’s Inn, they’re all looking forward to a relaxing weekend deep in the forest, miles from anywhere. They watch their fellow guests with interest, from a polite distance.

Usually we can avoid the people who make us nervous, make us afraid.

With a violent storm raging, the group finds itself completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody can get in – or out. And then the first body is found . . . and the horrifying truth comes to light. There’s a killer among them – and nowhere to run.

Until we find ourselves in a situation we can’t escape. Trapped.

I'm thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena today. My grateful thanks to the author, publishers and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.
An Unwanted Guest is a locked room mystery set in a hotel and so comparisons to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None are inevitable. However, the remote setting of Mitchell's Inn, the harsh, snowy weather and the problems in communicating with the outside world also reminded me of The Shining. This isn't a horror novel but the terrifying tension is enough to have a catastrophic effect on at least one of the trapped characters.
The drama is set up beautifully, with the guests arriving separately and making awkward conversation with one another and with the owner of Mitchell's Inn and his son. The isolated position of the small hotel means there is no mobile phone or WiFi signal but when an ice storm takes out the phone lines and makes the roads impassable they have no way to send for help or to escape. The old fashioned inn initially seems quaint but when the first body is discovered it very quickly becomes a far more oppressive situation, particularly as a power cut also means the residents have to rely on oil lamps to cast their flickering light on proceedings.
Though the first death could be the result of a tragic accident, one of the other guests immediately suspects foul play. This engenders a growing sense of suspicion between the group as they begin to realise that there really is a killer on the loose and any of them could be the next victim - or the murderer. Unable to contact the authorities, they are forced to leave the body in place as evidence and it serves as a sinister reminder of  how quickly the peace and solitude of the inn became repressive instead of restive. As the body count rises, secrets are exposed and histories revealed and their collective fear becomes nearly as dangerous as the killer. The group form an uneasy alliance as they search the hotel for clues and the tension here is almost palpable. The point of view switches between the characters which gives the reader the opportunity to try and determine who might be the guilty party but though I had my theories I was completely wrong.
Each of the distinct characters could be the perpetrator but equally there are nerve-wracking moments when it seems inevitable that they will become the next victim. There's a cinematic feel to An Unwanted Guest thanks to this ensemble cast and to the vivid descriptions of both Mitchell's Inn and its snowy surroundings. Towards the end of the novel the pace increases relentlessly as the group grows ever more afraid, their desperation driving them to take ever greater risks. The narrative switches become more frequent, sometimes changing from paragraph to paragraph and as a result the sense of trepidation becomes almost breathtaking. I read the whole book in a day with these last few chapters late at night and I must admit to finally going to bed feeling very jumpy!
Despite being no good for my nerves I loved An Unwanted Guest. It's a compelling, unsettling read which plays exquisitely on the fear of being trapped and not knowing who to trust. The sense of place is so well realised that it's hard to believe that Mitchell's Inn is a fictional hotel and the plot throughout is brilliantly devised with a thrillingly dark conclusion. I thoroughly recommend this compulsive mystery and though it may have been my first book by Shari Lapena, it definitely won't be my last!

An Unwanted Guest is published in the UK by Bantam Press - Transworld on 26th July 2018 and can be purchased here. Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, each stop can be found in this fabulous gif which has to be my favourite ever blog tour banner!

About the Author
Shari worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before writing fiction. Her debut thriller, The Couple Next Door, was a global bestseller. Her second thriller, A Stranger in the House, has been a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller.


  1. Thanks for the amazing Blog Tour support Karen x


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