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An Unwanted Guest
Cover of An Unwanted Guest
An Unwanted Guest
A Novel
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AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Another thrilling domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door and Not a Happy Family

“A gripping mystery perfect for fans of Agatha Christie.” –Good Housekeeping

“Another nail-biter perfect for an all-nighter.” –Entertainment Weekly

A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away
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.
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
Another thrilling domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door and Not a Happy Family

“A gripping mystery perfect for fans of Agatha Christie.” –Good Housekeeping

“Another nail-biter perfect for an all-nighter.” –Entertainment Weekly

A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away
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.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Saturday, 5:45 a.m.
     
    Morning comes slowly, the sun obscured by thick cloud. Overnight, the falling snow, so peaceful, has turned to sleet, coating everything in brittle ice, making the landscape even more dangerous to navigate. It seems everything is about to snap. Inside the inn, there’s a distinct chill in the air.

    Lauren rises early, freezing, even with the warmth of Ian pressed up beside her. Her neck is stiff. She gets out of bed, shivering, and hurries to put warm clothes on, wondering why it’s so damn cold. She slips on jeans, a T‑shirt, a heavy sweater, warm socks. They hadn’t closed the drapes before they went to bed, and now she glances out the front window to the landscape below. Everything is covered in sparkling ice. It’s beautiful, as if the world is coated in diamonds. The branches of the huge tree in the front yard are bent, weighted down with ice. She sees where one of them has broken off; there’s a large, pale gash where it has been ripped from the trunk. The heavy limb lies broken in three separate pieces on the ground below.

    She walks quietly into the bathroom, leaving the door open. She doesn’t want to turn on the  light—she doesn’t want to wake Ian. It’s damn cold. She brushes her hair quickly. Her illuminated watch face says it’s just before six. She wonders what time the staff gets up and starts their day.

    She glances back at Ian snoring in their bed, only his head showing above the covers. He won’t be up for a while. She opens the door quietly. It’s dark in the corridor; the lights in the wall sconces are out. She slips out and walks down the third‑floor hall to the main stairs in her thick socks. She doesn’t want to wake anyone. She turns toward the staircase to the lobby, wondering how long it will be before she can get a cup of coffee.
     
    Saturday, 6:03 a.m.
     
    Riley wakens suddenly, sitting up abruptly in bed, eyes wide open. She thinks she’s heard a scream—loud and piercing. Her heart is pounding, and she can feel the familiar adrenaline surging through her body. She glances quickly around the dim hotel room and remembers where she is. She turns to the other bed beside her, throwing aside the bedcovers, and is immediately accosted by the cold. Gwen is awake, too, and alert.

    “What’s going on?” Gwen says. “I thought I heard something.”

    “I don’t know. I heard it, too.”

    For a moment they remain perfectly still, listening. They hear a woman’s voice, shouting.

    Riley throws her legs over the bed and pulls on her robe against the chill, while Gwen scrambles to do the same, saying, “Wait for me.”

    Riley grabs the key as the two of them slip out the door. The third‑floor corridor is unexpectedly dark, and they stop suddenly, disoriented. Riley remembers that she needs to talk to Gwen about last night, but now is not the time. She’s just grateful to have Gwen here with her. She doesn’t know what she would do if anything happened to Gwen.

    “The power must be out,” Gwen says.

    Riley and Gwen make their way to the grand staircase, barefoot. Holding on to the polished rail, they race down the stairs, as other footsteps can be heard running in the darkened hotel.

    Then Riley stops abruptly. The dull light coming in through the front windows illuminates a ghastly sight below her. Dana lies sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, perfectly still, her limbs in an unnatural position beneath her navy satin robe. Her...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 25, 2018
    This disappointing thriller from bestseller Lapena (A Stranger in the House) riffs on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. A small group of people arrive for the weekend at Mitchell’s Inn, deep in the snowy Catskills, where they hope to enjoy the seclusion and natural beauty of the mountains. The first evening, a young woman, Dana Hart, is found dead at the bottom of the stairs. To lawyer David Paley, it doesn’t look like an accident, and he suspects Dana’s fiancé, Matthew Hutchinson. The problem is that there’s a winter storm raging, and the inn is without power and a generator. Since they can’t contact the police, the guests settle in for a long wait, and the presence of a dead body only exacerbates the mounting tensions. Each guest is hiding a dark secret, and as the secrets are revealed and accusations are hurled, the body count rises, and it seems that no one is safe. The pace picks up in the third act, but it’s not enough to save a narrative populated with emotionally distant characters and paint-by-the-numbers murders. Agent: Helen Heller, Helen Heller Agency (Canada).

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2018
    It's murder o'clock at a secluded, snowed-in Catskills resort.Winter in the Catskills is just the time and place for a woodsy mountain getaway, at least for this ensemble cast. When the Mitchell's Inn's weekend guests arrive, "all is covered in a pure, muffling white snow," and they are ready to relax. It's not to be. The first evening, Dana Hart tumbles down the grand staircase to her death. It seems to be an accident, but David Paley's lawyerly instincts lead him to suspect murder. Unfortunately, phone lines are down because of the ice storm raging outside, and the police can't be called. Even worse, there's no power and no generator backup. They're stuck with a dead body, and of course, they really shouldn't move it to preserve evidence. As the group attempts to make the best of the situation, they begin to realize that nasty secrets aren't the exception among them but rather the rule, and as those secrets are revealed, paranoia takes hold. When more guests begin to die in suspicious ways, panic spreads, and any good sense that remained among the group blows away in the frigid winter wind. Readers who prefer likable characters won't find many here, except perhaps Candace White, an author who was hoping for a quiet place to write her new book. Lapena's (A Stranger in the House, 2017) very loose take on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None further suffers from choppy, repetitive prose and an uninspiring reveal.Dame Agatha did it much, much better.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2018

    Best friends Gwen and Riley are on their way to Mitchell's Lodge in New York's Catskills for a much-needed weekend escape. Fortunately for them, Lauren and Ian are also headed to the lodge and rescue the pair when their car gets stuck in the ditch. Meanwhile, six other guests have arrived at the lodge, including two couples, a writer traveling alone, and an unaccompanied attorney looking for rest and relaxation. Soon the guests' weekend plans are dashed. When the first body is discovered there's hope that it could be an accident, but after the second death, it's obvious that someone is murdering the guests and it's one of them. Everyone has a secret to hide and no one is above suspicion. VERDICT Lapena (The Couple Next Door) has written a great whodunit, with a delicious Christie-like vibe. Fans of the author's first novel will want this, and anyone who savors a well-crafted murder mystery will gobble it up!--Cynthia Price, Francis Marion Univ. Lib., Florence, SC

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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An Unwanted Guest
An Unwanted Guest
A Novel
Shari Lapena
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