Friday, January 8, 2016

The Guest Room

Chris Bohjalian

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(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Richard agrees to host his young brother’s bachelor party. He knows there will be strippers and admits up front that something other than just stripping might take place. While not comfortable with this, he decides to go along with it because - hey - what could go wrong? Unfortunately for Richard, the answer to that question is A LOT and none of it good. As we find out later, the girls are not simple strippers, but sex slaves. One of them decides to kill their Russian handlers at the party and this is the beginning of the end for Richard.

This story takes off running from the beginning and doesn’t stop until the very end. The author lets us inside Richard head as he tries to come to grips with what happened and we see his desperation as his good life slowly unravels. In alternate chapters, we also learn the story of one of the young girls and the circumstances that lead her to being a sex slave.

This story is a true testimony to how life can turn on a dime. I think more importantly was the story behind sex trafficking - how young girls can end up in this kind of life. I thought this was a good mix of action and suspense, while bringing attention to a topic not many of us know anything about.

My thanks to Doubleday, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this is exchange for an unbiased review.

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