The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

Book Description:

Published: January 5, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

 When Richard Chapman offers to host his younger brother’s bachelor party, he expects a certain amount of debauchery. He sends his wife, Kristin, and young daughter off to his mother-in-law’s for the weekend, and he opens his Westchester home to his brother’s friends and their hired entertainment. What he does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, a dangerously intimate moment in his guest bedroom, and two naked women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night. In the aftermath, Richard’s life rapidly spirals into a nightmare. The police throw him out of his home, now a crime scene; his investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave; and his wife finds herself unable to forgive him for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.

Review –

Another FIVE STAR read by an author I’m coming to love!

The book starts with a bachelor party that goes horribly wrong. Not only do most of the guests have sex with the two girls who were the “entertainment”, but then two men end up dead and girls are nowhere to be found. Because, see, these strippers aren’t strippers at all, but Armenian sex slaves—and the cue-ball-headed, no-neck bodyguards are their Russian overseers.

Earlier, one of them, a beautiful Armenian girl named Alexandra, almost managed to seduce Richard before he changes his mind. In the aftermath of the murders, Richard is turned out of his house, which has become a crime scene with reporters camped outside, and forced to hire a lawyer. As the consequences of the night pile up, Richard becomes estranged from his wife, is banned from his office, and finds himself the target of a blackmailer from the party who has an incriminating cell phone video of him and Alexandra. And then there is Alexandra herself, who returns to the scene of the crime, tailed by her seriously scary Russian bosses. 

The point of view alternates, with Richard; his wife, Kristin; their daughter, Melissa; and an enslaved girl dubbed Alexandra by her captors, all get a chance to tell the story. Richard has no idea what to do with himself. Kristin is freaked out—not so much because people were slaughtered in her house, but because her husband almost had sex with a girl half their age. Melissa is frightened and bewildered, which is perfectly OK because she’s nine. This, the book says, is how people who thought they had it made come unmade.

The author makes Alexandra the conscience in this conscienceless world, a girl who manages to hold on to her innocence and compassion despite the horror of her life. Her voice, with its sometimes uncertain, quirky English, is rendered with such perfection that it’s easy to forget that the author is male. 

I gave the book five stars but I was disappointed that the author gives the reader/listener a forewarning of the ending and it took away, at least for me, the utter shock of the conclusion.

 

 

 

Burn by Nevada Barr

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Barr’s outstanding 16th Anna Pigeon novel (after Borderline) takes the National Park Service ranger to the urban wilderness of post-Katrina New Orleans, where the Jazz National Heritage Park preserves the Big Easy’s music. Anna comes to believe that a creepy neighbor, Jordan, one of the “gutter punks” who roam the city, is a pedophile. But Jordan turns out to have another side, and his link with Clare Sullivan, a Seattle actress whose family was murdered in a fire Clare is suspected of setting, is a linchpin of Barr’s skillful plot. Anna vividly maneuvers the lurid city jungle, from a Bourbon Street strip joint, where the women have formed a family, to a brothel specializing in children. Anna also learns that appearances can deceive even the most insightful of rangers. Anna’s complex personality continues to elevate the series, and the ranger’s sojourn to New Orleans further energizes this always reliable series. 150,000 first printing.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
 
 
Review –
 
This book is very much on the dark side, dealing with children as sex slaves for sleezy men in the post Katrina city of New Orleans.  New Orleans can be dark and creepy all by itself but add the subject matter and the slimy characters that are introduced and you have a very different Anna Pigeon novel.  It was very read written and I listened to it on my Kindle and don’t regret spending the credit.  Not all book are going to be sunshine and roses and  it’s the dark ones that round out a reading experience.  The new book,The Rope,will  be released in 2012 and I can’t wait.