Judith D Collins
The Guest House
Publisher: Poisoned Pen
Publication Date: 09/13/2022
My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)
In this locked-room psychological thriller Jamie and Victoria head to the English countryside for one last holiday before their first baby arrives where they are warmly welcomed to a charming guest house run by the elderly couple who run it. On the first morning of their trip, Victoria starts to feel contractions and as they rush to leave for the hospital they find their keys and phones to be missing and all the windows and doors to be locked from the outside while their hosts are nowhere to be found.
They have no way out and no way to call for help and the contractions are getting stronger.
Disturbing and irresistible, THE GUEST HOUSE is devilish, jaw-dropping, and completely unpredictable with twists perfect for fans of Riley Sager and Mary Kubica.
Robin made a splash with his debut thriller The Wreckage. It was nominated for a John Creasy New Blood CWA Dagger in 2020. The Guest House is his second book
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About the Author
Robin Morgan-Bentley was born and grew up in London. After studying Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University, he went on to work for Google before moving to Audible, where he has been working since 2014.
His debut thriller, The Wreckage, was nominated for the CWA Dagger John Creasey New Blood Award, the CrimeFest Specsavers Debut Crime Award and Capital Crime's Debut Book of the Year Award.
Robin lives in Buckinghamshire with his husband and son.
Connect with Robin:
"Disturbing and tons of fun." ―The Guardian
"Just take all those accolades used for thrillers―unputdownable, twisty, dark, chilling, vivid, explosive, intense―and heap them on. Because this book is that good. That credible. And that terrifying..."
―First Clue, Starred Review
"A gripping, must-read, tightly plotted thriller with dizzying twists and turns that will keep you on your toes."
—John Marrs, author of KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY
"A tense thriller with a killer twist! Morgan-Bentley has hit on a chilling scenario that kept me rapt and tearing through the pages. His writing is vivid and utterly engaging with shrewd character observations that really brought Victoria and Jamie's nightmare to life. The dual timelines ramped up the tension and intrigue, gradually revealing what had actually happened and setting the scene for a killer twist. Highly recommended!"
—KL Slater, author of THE EVIDENCE
"A dark and terrifying tale about every parent-to-be's worst nightmare. The action stars with a bang and never lets us. Superb writing, fast-paced, and full of cliffhangers and twists, The Guest House tugged at my emotions all the way through. Absolutely riveting!"
― Allie Reynolds, author of SHIVER
"I absolutely loved it - such a page-turner with the most excellent plot twist at the very end."
—Leah Hazard, author of HARD PUSHED
"Morgan-Bentley is becoming a master of the reader's comment of... "I didn't see that coming!!" A most unexpected twist at the end! I found myself thinking, I know it's late but I can't leave it here, I need to know more."
—Joy Ellis, author of the DI NIKKI GALENA SERIES
"Creepy and compelling from the off, it's an immersive read with a terrific twist. I raced through it!"
—Teresa Driscoll, author of HER PERFECT FAMILY
"You'll never guess where this twisty chiller of a book is going."
—Claire McGowan, author of I KNOW YOU
"The Guest House starts with a chilling premise that only gets more intense with every turn of the page. You won't know where Morgan-Bentley is taking you, but you will want to hang on for the ride."
—Joshua Moehling, author of AND THERE HE KEPT HER
"Ferocious and irresistible, THE GUEST HOUSE is a compelling story that explores just how much a parent is willing to sacrifice for their child. Morgan-Bentley is a master of the curveball, hitting us with thrill after thrill that this reader definitely did not see coming. The cherry on top was the blood-freezing epilogue. I'll be thinking about it for weeks!"
—Stephanie Wrobel, author of DARLING ROSE GOLD
"I loved this twisty and terrifying thriller. The sense of unfolding horror is utterly irresistible - it had me hooked from the very first page. I gobbled it up!"
—Katherine Faulkner, author of GREENWICH PARK
"Utterly Intriguing, page-turning and impossible to second guess."
—Rosamund Lupton, author of THREE HOURS
"Utterly gripping from the start with some stunning twists. Clever and tense. I loved it."
—Catherine Cooper, author of THE CHATEAU
Q&A Elevator Ride with
"Behind the Book"
The Guest House
Exceptional Authors. Standout Books. Elevator Talk.
INQUIRING READERS WANT TO KNOW.
We are super excited and honored to have you join us today for our featured September #AuthorElevatorSeries ride and your latest highly anticipated locked-room psychological thriller everyone is buzzing about —THE GUEST HOUSE. Let’s dive in!
Q. Give us your BEST Elevator Pitch for THE GUEST HOUSE.
RMB: A psychological thriller about something unusual and terrifying that happens to new parents in a remote AirB&B and how they deal with the aftermath.
Q. Describe THE GUEST HOUSE in three words or less?
RMB: Don’t stay there
Q. INSPIRATION: The spark that ignited the novel? Where were you when the idea came to you?
RMB: My husband and I stayed in a remote guesthouse in The Cotswolds nearby the venue for a friend’s wedding. The woman who ran the guesthouse made us breakfast the morning of the wedding, and asked us some very strange questions. It got me thinking about how much trust we put in strangers when we stay in a hotel, guest house or AirBnb…
Q. PLOT: There are plot twists throughout the novel, shocking the reader with new surprises with every turn. Without any spoilers, which one was the most fun for you to create?
RMB: I had a lot of fun writing the epilogue, and in particular the very last line of the book. I love to leave readers with a final little sting…
Q. PROTAGONIST: Your protagonist, Jamie was a hit with his disability and appears to be drawn from your own experience with cerebral palsy. We hope to see more of this in future books! Would like you like to share a little with our readers?
RMB: I’d love to. I have had cerebral palsy since birth, and I wrote Jamie partly because I’d never seen a protagonist with a disability like mine in crime fiction before. I’d really like to see more nuanced disability representation in books and on our screens. Often when we meet disabled characters in fiction they are the villains, they are painted as people to be pitied, or we are invited to be inspired by them. In real life, people with disabilities are everywhere, and they are not caricatures to be feared, pitied, or admired. I also found the process of writing Jamie to be cathartic, in that it was an opportunity for me to express through fiction some of the frustrations I have with the way people view me and my disability.
Q. WRITING: Do you have a favorite chapter or scene in the novel you enjoyed writing the most?
RMB: There’s a dinner party scene about midway through the book that I really enjoyed writing. I love writing party scenes – it’s always a good opportunity for some zingy dialogue and a bit of confrontation between characters.
Q. UPCOMING: Can you share what you are currently working, on or what is next in ten words or less or less?
RMB: Another really dark thriller about people doing things they regret!
"Behind the Author"
Up close and personal with Robin
London, United Kingdom
FAVORITE KITCHEN/COOKING/HOME/GARDEN PRODUCT OR TIP?
Take pasta off the heat before you think it’s ready FAVORITE FOOD/DRINK?
Watching and listening to musical theatre
YOUR FAVORITE LIFE LESSON QUOTE?
Be the person you needed growing up
DESCRIBE A PERFECT DAY.
Walking and eating delicious pub food with my husband and son, a movie in the evening
YOUR SECRET TALENT?
MOST MEMORABLE PLACE YOU HAVE TRAVELED TO?
Andaman Islands for honeymoon
IF YOU WERE GRANTED 3 MONTHS OF UNINTERRUPTED WRITING TIME—WHERE WOULD IT BE? A charming, quaint historic Bed and Breakfast Inn
YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO WRITE?
A bustling café
WHAT BOOK IS CURRENTLY ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND OR READING LIST OR BOOK YOU WOULD RECOMMEND?
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
DESCRIBE ONE THING ON YOUR DESK, CURRENTLY.
A massive box of raisins
DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE WRITING?
HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN?
2, and working on a 3rd
NAME SOMETHING YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE VERY GOOD AT.
NAME ONE THING YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TO BE BAD AT.
Focusing on one task at a time
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HORROR MOVIE (OR LOVE STORY)?
Silence of the Lambs
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
British dark comedy
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU CAN NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR PARTNER?
His kindness towards strangers
THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY?
Getting into bed to read for 5 minutes before falling asleep
WHAT ARE YOU LOVING RIGHT NOW?
Dopesick on Disney+
YOUR FAVORITE SANDWICH?
Tuna melt – I could eat it every day forever
ONE THING YOU OWN YOU SHOULD THROW OUT?
All my old theatre programmes / Playbills but I never will
THE LAST BOOK YOU RAVED ABOUT?
Vladimir by Julia May Jones
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR SON (or DAUGHTER)?
Don’t push yourself too hard
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT YOUR READERS MAY NOT KNOW.
I once stood on Angelica Houston’s foot (by accident)
IF YOU COULD CURE ONE DISEASE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
ONE BIT OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE AN INSPIRING AUTHOR?
Stop talking about it, just start writing
ICE CREAM: CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA?
Neither – you can have my ice cream if I can have your potato chips?
YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A CHILD?
Watch the same movies over and over again (and I still do that now!)
HOW OFTEN DO YOU LOOK AT YOUR PHONE EVERY DAY?
Way too often
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
My 2-year-old son
WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY?
My 2-year-old son
DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE USING ONE WORD.
ONE OF THE EVILEST CHARACTERS FROM YOUR BOOK?
ONE THING YOU HAVE LEARNED SINCE YOUR DEBUT NOVEL?
Focus on the writing and the other stuff can take care of itself
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO SPEND A RAINY AFTERNOON?
THE ONE FOOD YOU COULD NEVER GIVE UP?
YOUR BIGGEST CHEERLEADER?
WHAT VILLAIN DO YOU FEEL FOR?
Fagin from Oliver Twist
Thank you, Robin, for spending time with us today!
Readers: Check out my glowing 5-star review (Top Books of 2022) and all the advance praise. Be sure and pick up a copy of THE GUEST HOUSE, and post your review on your favorite social media platform. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!
Robin Morgan-Bentley ramps up the tension ten-fold in this highly atmospheric, chilling psychological thriller with an unexpected flip/twist, THE GUEST HOUSE —when one couple's weekend remote getaway turns into a deadly locked-room nightmare.
The author cleverly leads readers down a dark, twisty path brimming with secrets, lies, betrayal, and MURDER. Be prepared for your JAW TO DROP.
Driving from London to the North Pennies, a seven-hour drive to Choristers' Lodge, Jamie and Victoria are expecting their first child and decide to take a last-minute babymoon getaway trip before their baby is due.
It is supposed to be relaxing in a remote countryside location at a quaint guest house run by an older couple, Barry (retired police chief superintendent) and Fiona (retired midwife).
There are several strange things about this house and the owners. CREEPY.
The following morning, they realize the couple has locked up the entire house, windows, and doors, and there is no way out! Their phones and car keys are gone. They are in the middle of nowhere.
Not a great thing since this is a B&B Inn. Where's breakfast?
And . . . The worst possible timing. Victoria is going into LABOR!
They have no way out and no way to call for help, and the contractions are getting stronger. The landline is dead! Then they see the chilling note from the owners.
Frantic, Jamie is BEYOND panicked. He must break windows and travel on foot, do anything to get help for his wife and unborn child. He must get her to a hospital.
Disturbing and unsettling, the unthinkable happens! The sinister factor is off the charts.
From the POVs of Jamie/Victoria, the shocking backstory is slowly unraveled. The past deceit, lies, betrayal, and more about best friends Andy, Lauren, and Victoria/Jamie.
Who is the mastermind behind the crimes of conspiracy, kidnapping, manipulation, and manslaughter?
The first book I have read by the author and was highly impressed.
TERRIFYING AND CHILLING! The creepy vivid setting, the sinister/atmospheric/claustrophobic mood, the complex characters, and the unexpected twists make this one an unputdownable locked-room psychological suspense thriller.
The epilogue and letters were heartbreaking (did not like Victoria's character); however, I loved Jamie's character! He has cerebral palsy and enjoyed the author's note about drawing from his own experience and disability. My first thriller with a disability, and hope we will meet more protagonists with disabilities in the future.
For fans of authors Mary Kubica and Wendy Walker.
INTERVIEW: Stay tuned for my upcoming #AuthorElevarorSeries Interview with Robyn on pub day (9/13), where we will go behind the scenes of the books and this talented author.
Thank you #PoisonedPenPress and #NetGalley for an ARC to read, review, and enjoy.
@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks
My Rating: 5 Stars ✨✨✨✨✨
Pub Date: Sept 13, 2022