Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"The Guest Room:A Novel" by Chris Bohjalian

The Guest Room is the first book I have read by author Chris Bohjalian. Since finishing this book and browsing several author pages I have found several of his books I want to read. He has a wonderful way of writing that I really enjoyed. I am so glad I requested his latest novel, it is truly an engrossing, relevant story.

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.

This novel takes a very hard look at sex trafficking. The story is told from different points of view and really shows the reader the impact this horrific trade has on the lives of anyone who comes in contact with it. 

I was hooked from the first few pages of reading. Bohjalian did a superior job of story building. Once the murder happens you can't help but keep turning pages to find out what will happen and where the story will go.

This book is highly relevant, yet widely unknown in our modern times.  It starts out with an innocent bachelor party and takes it to the darkest scenario possible. So unbelievable yet at the same time completely possible.  The different perspectives are so well developed and engrossing, showing different sides of the same horrible situation and I feel that Bohjalian did an exceptional, straight forward job showing all sides of the sex traffic trade. He (Bohjalian) does not preach or tell his point of view on the topic and leaves the reader to make their own judgments and determinations.

With a plot like this it is easy to predict that the situation won't end well in one way or another. When I started reading I could clearly see that this wasn't going to be an all-around happy ending for all the characters involved. Alexandria, one of the strippers/sex slaves was the character I was rooting for. I wanted it to all work out for her. For her to find her freedom with a happy ending. Richard, the bachelor party host and family man, I was back and forth on liking. At times I sympathized with him and at other times I hated him. I also liked how his wife and daughter were also key characters, having to deal with the consequences of Richard's decision. 

There are so many morals to think over in this story. It shows how a seaming harmless situation can turn disastrous and life changing in an instant. How the aftermath can effect more than just those directly involved. It is a story of sex trafficking, murder, marital distress, violence, blackmail, and over all scandal. It is everything you want in an adult fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense book. Yet the author tells it in such a believable tale that it made me realize this isn't a far-off myth. This could happen to anyone, anywhere. 

The ending wasn't quite what I was expecting, or even one that I "liked". However, I think the author did a wonderful job ending it like he did. It made me ponder and wonder about the book long after I had read the last word. 

The Guest Room is due to be released on January 5, 2016. Go ahead and preorder it now. It doesn't disappoint! A 5 star read for me!

Thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for allowing me the ARC in exchange for honest review. 

Happy Reading! 

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