Cover Image: The Overnight Guest

The Overnight Guest

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Member Reviews

This was a great little thriller.  Her books are just the right speed for me.  This was a tad on the predictable side but that didn't take away from the ride at all.  I really enjoyed it.
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Thank you so much to @harpercollinsca for the complimentary digital review copy of The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf in exchange for an honest review.  The Overnight Guest came out on  January 25, 2022 - available now!

Writer Wiley Lark is staying in what many think is an abandoned farmhouse to get through writing her true crime novel during a massive snow storm.  She finds a child laying in the snow just outside the farmhouse, and brings him outside, trying to get get some answers about how he got there but the child isn't giving anything up.

I don't want to give anything away about this fascinating, addictive thriller, but know that it has some of my favorite elements.  Creepy atmosphere, multiple timelines and kept me hooked.  I kept telling myself I should put this down and to go sleep, but ended up staying up into the wee hours of the morning to finish this one off.

I haven't read anything by Gudenkauf before but I will be looking our or her books in the future!

Pick this one up if your looking for a quick suspenseful thriller to bring forward every fear you have about being in an abandoned farmhouse in a massive winter storm.
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The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf
❄️ This is a great thriller with a locked-room element that I really enjoy. Confinement in thrillers makes the tension increase tenfold IMO. Throw in a terrible snowstorm and things get even more intriguing!

❄️ The story is revealed intricately and amazingly from three POVs and different timelines. At first, you will feel like you are reading completely different stories, and each are compelling separately, but when you get to that one little sentence that ties everything together it is a wow moment!

❄️ I thought the characters were realistic, the story was well-developed, and the ending was very satisfying. I can easily see this being a movie some day (but read the book first)!

❄️ There is some content that may be an issue for some readers. I won’t list content warnings here though, because I think they are spoilers for this particular story. 

❄️ This is the second book I’ve read by the author and it definitely won’t be my last! 
Thank you to @NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing - Park Row for providing a electronic copy for me to review, which I have done honestly and voluntarily.
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Took me a bit to settle into this one there was a lot going on but once I got comfortable it was great. This was an absorbing read with a complex plot.
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There's just something about a snowstorm with the power and phone lines cut out that makes for a chilling setting. And honestly, the setting for this book was everything! I was hooked from the beginning and definitely felt creeped out. I enjoyed the multiple POV, which created a nice anticipation to the story. The description of the scary scenes were so well done that I caught myself holding my breath a few times!

The Overnight Guest was a great, fast-paced thriller that I'd definitely recommend to others. This was my first read from this author, and I'm so happy to have a few backlist options to check out!
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(3.5 stars rounded up to 4)

A small-town murder in August of 2000; a mother and daughter enduring hardship; a lone woman escaping her family to research and write about crime in an abandoned farmhouse. At least, Wylie thinks it's abandoned, until an overnight guest is discovered and all three stories/timelines quickly become interwoven.

This novel started off with a gripping, entertaining pace. I was able to guess some of the connections from one storyline/POV to another, but there were plenty of other little twists and turns that took me by surprise. Unfortunately, the conclusion fizzled a little bit for me and felt kind of dragged out. But otherwise, this was a very fast, entertaining, highly readable thriller!
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I really enjoyed this mystery; it’s the first book I’ve read from the author but I need to check out more. The Overnight Guest follows true crime writer, Wylie Lark, in the present day. She’s working on a book about a murder that happened over 20 years ago. While we got Wylie’s current POV, we also get the story from 2000 when this particular murder happened. In between these sections, there is also the POV of a young girl who is locked up with her mom (her “chapters” if you will are all in italics).

All of the POV’s eventually overlap in the end. I had some guesses as to how certain things connected, and what happened in 2000, but I didn’t get everything right. I love being able to figure out some twists in a mystery, but it’s always nice to have surprises too, and that was The Overnight Guest for me.

It’s hard to talk about this one without giving things away, so I’ll just say that I definitely recommend this for those interested! It was a pretty quick-moving mystery, and by the time you get to the middle of the book, you NEED the answers.
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This book had me hooked from the beginning!  The book has three storylines that quickly turn into an intricate dance that slowly reveal a tragic crime and the long lasting effects.  The foreboding atmosphere in the beginning leads to a tumultuous snowstorm where answers are finally revealed.  Great atmosphere and a wonderfully woven plot line have me wanting more by Heather Gudenkauf!  Thanks to NetGalley for a copy for an honest review.
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Such an interesting story. I love how the main story is interjected with "the girl's" perspective. The way the story winds through all the happenings kept me intrigued from page one. The ending had a couple of twists and turns that were not totally unexpected but interesting!
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This is definitely my least favorite from this author. I'm not sure if it was the dual timelines or the "locked door" type storyline in the present, but I just was not as impressed. The characters did not go deep enough to peak my interest and it just seemed like she was trying to do too much in this story. I will try again with the next one!
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Unpopular review:  You know that disclaimer at the beginning of all fiction novels that state such and such book is a work of fiction and purely coincidental ???  Well, that little disclaimer doesn’t apply here. The Overnight Guest is a very suspenseful and atmospheric book. I hadn’t felt the creeps like this since The Whisper Man!! I mean it would have been so amazing with its remote farm setting in the dead of winter during a blizzard and a possible killer on the loose. Unfortunately, I have a bone to pick. To know me is to know that this crime junky lover knows her true crime cases and there are some cases you just dont forget. This story basically pulled “inspiration” from 3 very disturbing criminal cases, mixed them up, slightly changed some events and names and called it fiction. Like what the hell? I think it’s a bit distasteful and super disrespectful to the survivors and family members of the ones who have passed on. The three cases you can google to compare are the Ariel Castro kidnappings, Jaycee Dugard, and Jaime Closs. Even the character’s name was Josie (too similar to Jayce and Jaime if you ask me) These are real people who had some terrible shit happen to them. I read fiction as for escapism not this right here. This one’s a hard pass for me and I hope the author does better next time ❤️
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I know I’m in the minority here but I just didn’t really enjoy this story. I mean it is a quick and captivating thriller, but it just wasn’t for me. 

It’s hard to enjoy many thrillers nowadays as I read more and more. 

The setting was eerie and chilly, which I do enjoy in stories. There definitely is a great plot line for some but for me personally it was just okay. 

I didn’t really care for any of the characters nor about what was going on. The ending was great but it did take me awhile to somewhat care about this book. 

I 100% can appreciate this author and story. Like I said, I’m in the minority so please take this review with a grain of salt.
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My first book by this author and definitely will not be my last, she did a fantastic job making me care deeply about all 3 of the alternating timeline/POVs which kept me listening at a super fast pace, and all of them tied together flawlessly in the end. 

The story is told from the perspective of a mother and daughter locked in a basement (CREEPY), an author writing in a secluded cabin when she finds unexpected guests out in the snowstorm, and a little girl who narrowly escaped after her parents were murdered in their home and her brother is now missing. The settings throughout the book were so atmospheric and this is the perfect thrilling and suspenseful read for a winter day! 

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for providing me with a copy!
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This is a gripping tale of dread and danger that I read at warp speed so as not to linger on the threatening details. Initially I thought I would have to abandon this book because of my anxiety level, but I was soon caught up in the drama and by reading quickly I managed to avoid nightmares. The story alternates among several time periods and locations, including the shooting murder of a family and the disappearance of a young girl in the summer of 2000, the psychological issues  of a writer of true crime stories caught in a blizzard in an isolated cabin in the present and the horror of a woman and her child imprisoned in a basement by a psychopath. The imprisonment story is reminiscent of the Emma Donoghue novel, Room, with the same claustrophobic atmosphere. 
Each story is riveting in its own way but it is not til the final third of the book that the three storylines come together for a powerful, edge-of-your-seat connection and conclusion.
The writing was clear and served the escalating tension of the story well. If you like gripping family drama, this may be the story for you.
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I enjoyed stories set in the winter in the midst of a snowstorm. But I struggled with the switching timelines and the focus on childhood abuse, so this book was not for me. It's me, not the book, so I will not be leaving a review on social media or retail sites.
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This was my first novel (even though I have her last one on my shelf, patiently waiting) by Heather Gudenkauf, and, I have to say, THE OVERNIGHT GUEST didn’t disappoint. I loved the way she set up the story, weaving together three different narratives, flashing back to the past and in the present. 
The journey through the narratives kept me engaged. There were twists I didn’t see coming, and I was kept guessing until the explosive climax. There was so much I enjoyed, and I can’t wait to read more of Gudenkauf’s novels. 
Thanks to the publisher for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book. All opinions are my own and freely given.
#TheOvernightGuest #HeatherGudenkauf #ParkRow
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Holy smokes! This is my favorite book of the year so far! I loved everything about it. I was trying to figure out how all the stories had to do with each other and that was fun. Highly recommend
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I enjoyed this book for the most part. I had figured out quite a few of the twists near the beginning and it almost ruined the book for me. Some were just too obvious and not surprising. I felt like I had to suspend my beliefs at some points in the book for me to read past the glaring plot holes. The writing is great as always for the author but the holes made it hard for me to follow and made it less believable.
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Trigger Warnings Abound!

I rarely write reviews that aren't at least a little complimentary. Mostly because I've been a reader for over 35 years and have really honed in on what I know I will enjoy. However, the initial description of "The Overnight Guest" threw me for a loop, I guess.

First of all, I almost DNF'd this book after reading the first 1/4 of it. The murders were described in more gory detail than I usually can stomach. They weren't lengthy about the descriptions - I didn't have to read about it for long, however, Heather Gundenkauf wrote with such specificity that I could not get the images out of my head. (So, well done there!) However, what almost pushed me over the edge were the parts that spoke of child abuse. Again, excellent descriptions since they tore me up emotionally, however, I wished I'd known just how much would be discussed. 

At this point, I'm about halfway through and I decide that I've probably gotten past the worst bits and can finish - mostly because I feel like I'll sleep better if I know what happened. Plus, I figured since Gudenkauf had done such a great job of making me feel WAY too many emotions that she would show me a fantastic and redemptive ending.

Oh, how wrong I was...

Seriously, if you don't want to know who the murderer is, do NOT keep reading!
As I said before, I was impressed (if not ill) by what the author had written thus far, but then suddenly the story went off the rails and my star rating started going down faster and faster. It started falling for me when suddenly the "odd" neighbor "with a past" who lived with his mother into adulthood shows up at the cabin and suddenly our protagonist, Wylie, KNOWS for certain that HE was the killer and now needs to lock him in the barn.

Wait...WHAT? While he was always looked at as a possible suspect, it was NEVER revealed that he was The MAIN suspect! And out of nowhere he just happens to show up at her door after it's revealed that this lost woman was actually her friend Becky that had never been found after the shootings? (I mean, I enjoyed THAT particular twist, though I'd figured it out early on...) 

So, yeah. He's not the killer...I mean, it would have been way too obvious. And, low and behold, look who shows up a few minutes later...The Actual Killer and Kidnapper! Except it's Cutter - and not young Cutter, the teen who was also a suspect and whose storyline of speeding off in the middle of the night near the scene of the crime is never actually explained. No, instead, it's Mr. Cutter. The Father. But, like...why? 

We see little of him throughout the book with only a mention of some land dispute and once in the family's barn for no apparent reason. When he was named as the killer, it almost felt like one of those storylines where the writer reveals, "Welp. It wasn't anyone we know, but instead a random stranger passing through town and killing people for fun with no rhyme or reason behind it." Again I say - But, like...why?

But even all of that I could get over and probably would have given the book 3 stars. However, when Mr. Cutter is trying to kill Wylie in the present day timeline, he's screaming about that it was supposed to be her that he stole and kept in the basement. It was "all because of her." And, again - But, like...why? 

There is literally nothing from the previous storylines that makes this make sense. NOTHING.

How did the editors not notice these enormous plot holes before going to print?

I am shocked that this book has so many 4 & 5 star reviews. To be honest, I'm only giving this 2 stars (instead of 1) because of Gudenkauf's writing skills. 

And one final note, because this irked the Mom and Teacher in me to no end... Instead of reading my Kindle copy, I needed to listen to the audiobook because #NoTimeToReadPhysicalBooks. I was APPALLED by the way our main character spoke to this child that she had found frozen to the middle of the road in the midst of a full blown snowstorm. She gets him/her inside and while trying to get them warm, gets irritated that the child is scared and won't cooperate with her. At first, I thought maybe it was just the way that the voice actor was portraying it, however, the wording in the story itself proved it to be that she was actually irritated. 

And, one final time - But, like...why???

I was really trying to give this book a chance, even though it is definitely not my cup of tea. I will happily give books that I don't like high ratings if it was written and thought out well. But, unfortunately, Gudenkauf's "The Overnight Guest" just couldn't hold up under scrutiny.  

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin/Park Row Books for giving me this advanced reader's copy to read and review.
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At first there appeared to be 3 different stories and it was hard to find the connection. After a short while two of the stories linked together, but it was harder to find out where the third story tied in. Lots of suspense, and interesting characters, even a dog.  The ending, though exciting, was improbable. Most of the story took place overnight during a snow storm, but no one seemed to get tired.
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