October 2, 2016
The Guest Room
The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
2016 Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Read by Mozhan Marno and Grace Experience
Finished on April 25, 2016
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes the spellbinding tale of a party gone horribly wrong: two men lie dead in a suburban living room, two women are on the run from police, and a marriage is ripping apart at the seams.
When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother's bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.
In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard's life rapidly spirals into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, now a crime scene, Richard's investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave, and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband 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.
Chris Bohjalian's is one of those hit-or-miss authors, at least for me. I tend to enjoy his contemporary works better than his historical fiction and I'm happy to report that this one lived up to my expectations and didn't disappoint. In some ways, it reminded me of Jodi Picoult's novels, which almost always focuses on a current social issue. This particular novel deals with sex trafficking, which at times was pretty disturbing (and the language is not for those easily offended). I thought the plot was somewhat predictable, although the ending was not at all what I was expecting, so maybe not as predictable as I thought!
This is the first book I've read by Bohjalian in several years and I'm glad I didn't give up on him after a couple of disappointing reads. The Guest Room is a very compelling page turner and would make for a great book club selection. There's a lot to discuss in this one! Recommend with a cautionary note about the language.