Book Review: “An Unwanted Guest” by Shari Lapena

Cover of "An Unwanted Guest" by Shari Lapena.
Cover of “An Unwanted Guest” by Shari Lapena.

Happy August, everyone!

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “An Unwanted Guest” by Shari Lapena to kick off August! It’s been a while since I reviewed a murder mystery, so this is the perfect timing to pick one up. Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:

“It’s winter in the Catskills and Mitchell’s Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing–maybe even romantic–weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

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 and try to make the best of it.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead–it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, they start to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something–or someone–is picking off the guests one by one. And there’s nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm–and one another.”

Content Warning:

Other than actual murder happening in this book, some of it in explicit detail, there is also discussion of rape, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, and domestic abuse. If you are uncomfortable with any of this content, you may want to skip reading this book.

Character Development: 4 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading Lauren, David and Matthew the most out of everyone involved. I felt that these three had the most overall development throughout the story, through the story sharing their backstories prior to the current events of the book. I’m also glad that all three of them stayed alive, as I found them the most likeable out of the cast (especially Matthew). On the flipside, I didn’t care much for Bradley, nor much for Dana (though this is partially due to plot reasons I can’t spoil here).

Plot Development: 4 out of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed the little twist at the end of the book. I won’t say here what it was or else it’ll ruin part of the main plot for anyone who hasn’t read this book yet. I thought it made sense, considering the killer and victim’s previous tumultuous history with each other.

As for the rest of the main plot, I love how it incorporated the characters’ varying relationships with each other and how that affected the tensions shared between the characters later on. I loved how the increasing number of murders and other revealed secrets added to the tension as well.

Overall, I’m rating this book 4 out of 5 stars!

This was a solid murder mystery book to read, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested in locked-room (or in this case, snowed-in cabin) mysteries.


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