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Monthly Book Discussion Library > An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena - Jan. 2019

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Sandra ~ ♥ Cross My Heart ♥ (sandrahoover) | 9318 comments Mod
Our January 2019 Book of the Month is An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena. It sounds like an intense, suspenseful mystery! We invite everyone to join our buddy read and discussion. We'll begin open discussion on the 15th.

Many thanks to Jonetta for another great nomination.

Synopsis:

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.


message 2: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hmatkins) | 55 comments Oh, this sounds really good! I placed a hold on it from the library, so I'm not sure I will get it in time for discussion. But I will definitely be reading this one!


message 3: by Jonetta (last edited Jan 15, 2019 05:00AM) (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
Yay! I'm definitely in:)

Setting
Mitchell’s Inn, New York

37 Chapters

Character List
(view spoiler)


message 4: by Charlene (new)

Charlene (charlenethestickler) | 579 comments My copy is waiting for me at the library -- so I'm in! :-)


message 5: by Paula (new)

Paula Adams (goodreadscompadams57) | 575 comments I'm in, I already have this book, I won it.


message 6: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann (jojog) | 258 comments Just got the ebook notification from my library this morning, so I'm in!!


message 7: by Christine (new)

Christine Hatfield  (christinesbookshelves) | 1223 comments I read that book


message 8: by Ladyhawke (new)

Ladyhawke | 44 comments I’m waiting til the last minute to read it...! Sounds like a great read


message 9: by Susan (new)

Susan (cruelshoes) | 408 comments finished and this one had me fooled for the whole book what a great read.


message 10: by Charlene (new)

Charlene (charlenethestickler) | 579 comments I'm aiming to have this one read by the 15th.


message 11: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann (jojog) | 258 comments Charlene wrote: "I'm aiming to have this one read by the 15th."

It's a quick/easy read! enjoy!


message 12: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hmatkins) | 55 comments Just got my library copy! Can't wait to read it. :)


message 13: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hmatkins) | 55 comments Susan wrote: "finished and this one had me fooled for the whole book what a great read."

Same here!! I just finished as well. I was totally shocked! Never guessed! Excited to hear ya'lls thoughts on this one. So many things to explore.


message 14: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
I’m just starting.


message 15: by Charlene (new)

Charlene (charlenethestickler) | 579 comments I read it in one evening/night and thought it was very good 4 stars.


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan (cruelshoes) | 408 comments Is this a non spoiler zone now?


message 17: by Paula (new)

Paula Adams (goodreadscompadams57) | 575 comments I'll be starting it soon.


message 18: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
Tomorrow the 15th (see message #1).


message 19: by Ladyhawke (new)

Ladyhawke | 44 comments Just finished ... !! Ready for the discussion


message 20: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
This is now a spoiler zone! Feel free to discuss the book openly.


message 21: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
I’ll be back after I finish (probably tomorrow).


message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan (cruelshoes) | 408 comments ok so a few points I like that we really don't know if David did kill his wife. the author writes so well that we want to believe David did not kill his wife but you never find out. so I was thinking that perhaps Lauren thinks that since David got away with the murder of his wife that she could do the same. even though they found her earring under Bradley really in any court of law can be debated. there is no other evidence to convict her of any of the other crimes or did I miss something. I really liked the twist with Beverly and Henry she will most likely get away with that killing as well. so in the end everyone gets away with murder. The only person I felt bad for was Gwen who looses Riley to PTSD.


message 23: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann (jojog) | 258 comments Did Lauren know about the death of David's wife beforehand? I don't think she did, so I'm not sure that was the reason she thought she could get away with murder. I think she's just a psycho! The person who really took advantage the the situation was Beverly!!

I also was sad for Gwen and Riley - that was tragic.


message 24: by Ladyhawke (new)

Ladyhawke | 44 comments Lol I liked how we can’t really tell if Lauren will get away with it or not. I did kinda feel that Bradley kinda knew what was going on. I just couldn’t fit Candace murder in there. Until we discover she did true crime books. I really felt like any of them could’ve done it. I loved that feeling !! The author could’ve gone either way. And Riley really was sad kinda uselessly sad. I know crap like that happens but somebody could’ve found her... if a softy maybe. I kinda felt her friend was kinda crappy for ditching her to be with that dude

.... I don’t under stand how Bradley got the earring under him tho


message 25: by Ladyhawke (new)

Ladyhawke | 44 comments I also liked how the author made you wonder if it might have been a mysterious extra person there.


message 26: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
We were given David’s point of view where he shared with us his thoughts about his wife’s murder. He didn’t kill her.

Bradley obviously saw what Lauren did and was comfortable blackmailing her until Candace was killed. Then I think he got scared.

Lauren’s earring came off as she struck Bradley and hit the ground before he did, thereby ending up underneath him.

I thought Gwen was a crappy friend, too, but clearly tried to find her. I believe she knew about the PTSD but she was unaware Riley had been held captive.


message 27: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
Yes, Riley was found. She froze to death.


message 28: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
MsG wrote: "About David-so he says. The charges were dropped for lack of evidence and no murder weapon. ..."

Actually, these were his inner thoughts, not what he was telling anyone else. He didn’t kill his wife.


message 29: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
Ladyhawke wrote: "Lol I liked how we can’t really tell if Lauren will get away with it or not. I did kinda feel that Bradley kinda knew what was going on. I just couldn’t fit Candace murder in there. Until we discov..."

I think they’ll be able to charge her with Bradley’s murder. If they dig deep enough, they may find her connection to Dana. If they don’t, I think it will be impossible to charge her with Dana and Candace’s death. That means Beverly gets away with murder, especially since she used Lauren’s medication.

How ironic that Henry came close to killing Beverly and she ends up getting away with killing him.


message 30: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
Jo Ann wrote: "Did Lauren know about the death of David's wife beforehand? I don't think she did, so I'm not sure that was the reason she thought she could get away with murder. I think she's just a psycho! The p..."

I don’t think Lauren knew anything about David until Riley told the group.

I really felt terrible for Riley. Her death was tragic.

I had a hard time sympathizing with Gwen. I thought her refusal to identify that girl’s rapist was unconscionable.


message 31: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
How did everyone do in guessing the identity of the killer? Did you think Henry was killed by someone else?


message 32: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
MsG wrote: "I don’t know if he did ir didn’t. Just because he said he didn’t do it doesn’t mean he didn’t. I think this is one of many incidents that the author let us draw conclusion...."

I realize David told the group he didn’t do it. My point...when an author gives you a character’s point of view where he’s thinking to himself, that’s her way of giving you the truth. Since David went over what happened that night in his own thoughts, we got the truth. He didn’t kill his wife. That’s not left up to speculation.

The other characters, Henry and Riley, believed David killed his wife and that gave us insight into their personalities. Henry used it as a justification of his own desire to kill Beverly and poor Riley ended up hating and distrusting everyone in the Inn. It’s part of the reason why she died.


message 33: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann (jojog) | 258 comments Jonetta wrote: "How did everyone do in guessing the identity of the killer? Did you think Henry was killed by someone else?"

Every time I was "sure" I knew who the killer was, something would happen to change my mind. Love a story that keeps me guessing!

Beverly killing Henry was the only murder that was easy to guess - there was too much animosity between them for it to be anyone else. Figured either Henry or Beverly would be killed...she beat him to the punch.


message 34: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 11690 comments Mod
Jo Ann wrote: "Jonetta wrote: "How did everyone do in guessing the identity of the killer? Did you think Henry was killed by someone else?"

Every time I was "sure" I knew who the killer was, something would happ..."


I agree, Beverly was kind of easy and I just assumed she killed him. Sort of poetic justice....

You know what pointed me in Lauren’s direction? She and Ian were the only two characters where we knew nothing about them. So, I knew it was one of the two. I eliminated Ian when they accused him. He didn’t fit.


message 35: by Susan (new)

Susan (cruelshoes) | 408 comments Jonetta wrote: "How did everyone do in guessing the identity of the killer? Did you think Henry was killed by someone else?"

I did not quess the killer at all. I knew Beverly killed Henry because she knew she was not going to get him back and to think of him with someone younger would make her blood boil so he had the perfect opportunity and alibi. I really believe she will get away with that.


message 36: by Charlene (new)

Charlene (charlenethestickler) | 579 comments It was a toss-up to me whether Beverly killed Henry or whether he happened to have a heart attack. Of course, he had the fire poker over her head when other guests were coming in; did she know that?

I knew David was innocent of his wife's death; I would have been more forgiving of Gwen if she had confessed her sin of omission. I'm not sure Riley could have been saved at any point on this winter weekend, sad to say.

I remembered (at end of story) that Lauren and Dana {Dani} had immediate negative reactions to each other. I still didn't figure out that first murder, at least until nearer the end.


message 37: by Christine (new)

Christine Hatfield  (christinesbookshelves) | 1223 comments The book reminded me of that horror movie called Identity


message 38: by Ladyhawke (new)

Ladyhawke | 44 comments I didn’t guess... I had no idea til the author told me. I didn’t care for the many povs. I not very bright and I’m cornfused easily. At first I thought this was gonna be one of those books with 50 main characters and only one survive to be locked up in a loony bin. But it was pretty decent. Is it just me ? That have issues with that??


message 39: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hmatkins) | 55 comments You guys! This book! I could not put it down. I read it in one night at work (in my defense, I had an orientee and was only supposed to be available for questions --- I do work at work, promise!). So intense. I never guessed who the killer was (I definitely thought it was Ian, until he was accused). And so many twists at the end.

The book itself: Ladyhawke, I completely agree that I had trouble with the different povs. I almost had to make myself a list of the characters. Once the book was going, it worked ok, but I had a hard time keeping everyone straight at the beginning. I had to flip back and forth a few times.

I thought the author did very well with the writing, the timeline, the suspense, the twists. However, I wanted more from the ending! Maybe I'm just a softy, but I wanted more - Gwen and David getting together, Beverly going mad with the guilt, Lauren's conviction, etc. I get why the author did it - the whole story took place over the course of one weekend with one setting. But, as is often the cause with me, I wanted more.

Riley: how heartbreaking! I might have cried a little bit that she froze to death. :( I so wanted a happy ending for her. She went through so much and had so many hardships. In my head, I wanted Gwen and David to become good friends and supportive of Riley for her to overcome her PTSD. I did not like that Gwen chose David over Riley, though I can understand it (I've had friends with struggles, and sometimes I'm overwhelmed with their problems and need some normalcy for a while). I understand it, but I do not excuse it. She should have done better for her friend. I hate that their friendship ended on sour notes. I don't know that Gwen will be able to overcome such a lose easily.

Gwen: Like I said above, I wanted more from Gwen at times. I thought it was a bit reaching for her and David to sleep together the first night. (But I do tend to be skeptical of such instant connections... maybe I am just a tad prudish :-/) But I wanted her and David to be together. It's just the romantic in me. :) I wanted good things for them both. The trauma of her past: OMG how terrible!!! I cannot imagine living with such a terrible event. I have thought a lot about what I would have done in such a situation. I don't know that I could have attempted to stop such an event. I'm small and often afraid of men (especially aggressive men) in a large group. However, Jonetta, I agree with you, I judged her greatly for not even attempting to name the attackers. (Perhaps it's my exposure to the In Death series), but I felt like she could have at least offered to help. Work with a police artist? Give a general description? I understand being afraid as well as unsure in identifying them. But I felt that if she would have even started the ID process, perhaps the police could have interrogated suspects? I think that any attempt at closure could have helped the victim cope, and she perhaps wouldn't have committed suicide. Such a sad and terrible experience. I especially know that I couldn't have lived with myself if I was involved and the victim committed suicide.

Maybe Gwen's sins would make some of you feel that Gwen didn't deserve a happy ending. Maybe you are right. Perhaps, after all these years, Gwen could attempt to help. I don't know, it is my nature to desire for closure and good endings - so perhaps I am reaching. But I want happiness for David, and if Gwen gains personal growth through it, all the better. lol

David: I definitely did not think he killed his wife. Susan, I think I disagree with you on this point. Jonetta, I agree in that I take the first person pov and inner thoughts as truth. The only loophole in this thought process is if David convinced himself that he did not kill her (even though he did - as in he blacked out). But I don't assume such loopholes, and I took it as fact that he didn't kill her. I thought it was sweet his connection with Gwen. Because of his pain with his wife, I wanted something good to happen for him.

Why is it that we, as humans, are more disturbed by events that happen to someone we have a problem with? Do you think that David felt his wife's death more because they were estranged? I think he feels guilty because he didn't grieve her as he "should," therefore he ends up more disturbed because of it. If that makes sense. I do this myself - if I don't like somebody (at work, for example), I spend more time stressing over being nice and professional to that person because I don't like her than I worry about being nice/professional to those I like. Maybe that's just me.

Beverly: I was so disappointed in her! I cannot believe she killed Henry. (I also took this as fact -- did I miss something that Henry could have died from a heart attack?) I hate the fact that she could get away with it. Though, in the interest of her children, how terrible is it that their mother killed their father?! If she went to prison, then where would they go?

Lauren: I totally did not see her as the killer. I also didn't pick up on her sociopathic nature. Jonetta, how perspective you are to have noticed that we didn't have much of a background on Lauren and Ian. I did not pick up on that. I hope that they can convict her on the charges.

As usual, I've rambled on. But so many thoughts on this book! I quite enjoyed it!


message 40: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (hmatkins) | 55 comments Oh, that was terribly long! So sorry guys! :)


message 41: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann (jojog) | 258 comments Hannah wrote: "Oh, that was terribly long! So sorry guys! :)"

Not too long! Enjoyed reading your thoughts!


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