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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Overnight Guest

ISBN: 978-0778333166

Publisher: Park Row

Publication Date: 01/25/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +++ (ARC)

Worthy of 10 STARS!

A woman receives an unexpected visitor during a deadly snowstorm in this chilling thriller from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf

She thought she was alone…

True crime writer Wylie Lark doesn’t mind being snowed in at the isolated farmhouse where she’s retreated to write her new book. A cozy fire, complete silence. It would be perfect, if not for the fact that decades earlier, at this very house, two people were murdered in cold blood and a girl disappeared without a trace.

As the storm worsens, Wylie finds herself trapped inside the house, haunted by the secrets contained within its walls—haunted by secrets of her own. Then she discovers a small child in the snow just outside. Bringing the child inside for warmth and safety, she begins to search for answers. But soon it becomes clear that the farmhouse isn’t as isolated as she thought, and someone is willing to do anything to find them.


"Masterful, terrible, and absolutely addicting...Tense, taut, and terrifying.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Riveting…This twisty tale builds to a satisfying conclusion.” –Publishers Weekly

"An isolated farmhouse, a deadly snowstorm, and a small child found in the snow—those are the ingredients for Gudenkauf’s latest up-all-night thriller. Scrupulously plotted and layered with multiple narratives that culminate in some explosive surprises, The Overnight Guest is Gudenkauf at her best. A chilling and heart-stopping stunner."

—Kimberly Belle, international bestselling author of My Darling Husband

"Heather Gudenkauf is a master of suspense. Weaving together three narratives in an explosive and shocking denouement, The Overnight Guest will have you glued to the page and leave you wanting more."

—Liv Constantine, international bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish

“The Overnight Guest is not only compelling, it’s addictive. Flawlessly plotted, the story unfolds in layers, each one more shocking than the last. I’ll be thinking about this book for a long time.”

—Samantha Downing, bestselling author of My Lovely Wife and For Your Own Good

“Heather Gudenkauf’s The Overnight Guest is a tightly woven braid of a novel guaranteed to raise the hairs on the back of your neck and keep you turning the pages deep into the night. Set inside a storm that you will feel beating against your windows, the present and the past will collide in an ending you won’t see coming. Atmospheric, fast-paced and perfectly plotted, I devoured this and you will too.”

—Catherine McKenzie, USA Today bestselling author of I’ll Never Tell and Please Join Us

“With The Overnight Guest Heather Gudenkauf once again demonstrates she’s a true master of suspense. Atmospheric and claustrophobic, tense and twisted, this chiller will make you hold your breath as you turn the pages. Cancel your plans when you start reading this one because you won’t be able to put it down.”

—Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author of Sister Dear and You Will Remember Me

"Chilling, gripping, and gaspingly surprising. The oh-so-talented Heather Gudenkauf has created a modern day In Cold Blood. Her unforgettable characters reveal a devastating story that will chill you to the bone, and then break your heart. With a brilliant structure, an authentic sense of place, and gorgeous storytelling, Gudenkauf proves she is the queen of the rural thriller."

—Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author of Her Perfect Life

My Review

Worthy of 10 Stars!

Heather Gudenkauf is at the TOP of Her Game! This compelling psychological suspense crime thriller— THE OVERNIGHT GUEST, is @harlancoben quality and hooked me from the first page to the last. It checks all the boxes in everything I look for in a killer suspense thriller (and I read a ton - this one is "stand-out" above the crowd). Look no further.


From the isolated rural farmhouse setting, no power, no phone, a true-crime thriller author, a blizzard snowstorm, the child, the well-developed characters that draw you in immediately, the intensity, lyrical writing, and plot twists – it has it ALL!

Oh, and did mention a murder-cold case? Missing persons and brutal murder of a family from 20 years earlier on a rural farm (hot summer, cornfield, barn - lots of extremes here, metaphors, and symbols), more than one overnight guest, and a young girl (who loves books) and her mom held hostage by a monster.

I am in awe of Heather's talent. The way she merged the three storylines was seamless. She has been a long-time favorite author of mine, and I have read all her books. But this . . . Hard to put into words. It is heart-pounding, atmospheric, and intense! Still thinking about it.

"Her best yet! #1 Suspense Thriller of 2022. Movie-worthy."


Name: Wylie Lark

Occupation: Novelist

  • True-crime writer | "The Overnight Guest"


  • Burden, Iowa

  • Isolated cabin. Snowstorm.


  • Present: 2020 Winter Blizzard | Rural

  • Past: 2000 Summer Heat | Rural

Three Narratives:

  • Past: Josie Doyle (age 12) shot, fleeing a killer, Parents brutally murdered. Brother and best friend, Becky, missing.

  • Unknown: young girl and mother held hostage and abused in a dark basement.

  • Present: Wylie Lark, author, stuck in an isolated farmhouse in the woods, during a snowstorm, with no power or cell reception.

Burning Questions:

  • Past: Who murdered Josie's family, and what happened to Becky and her brother?

  • Present: Where did the five-year-old abandoned child left in the snow come from? Where are the parents?

  • How do the three narratives connect?

"THE NOVEL" to read during a snowstorm or a pandemic lockdown.

In this case, you better buy this now! Thank me later.

I loved the girl! The story's heroine and also a fan of Wylie. I enjoyed everything about this novel. It has emotion, heart, and non-stop action. I plowed through it in record time (one sitting) and utterly addictive and unputdownable.

The scene in the cornfield (past), the basement, and the farmhouse (present) during the snowstorm with the man at door and the barn —put me into super tachycardia! SO good. Some strong women and survivors. You never know when monsters are among us, hiding behind a façade.

Thriller fans, this is for YOU! I want desperately to see this played out on the big screen. No one deserves it more, and the author is the "queen" of rural suspense thrillers. Highly recommend.

For fans of authors: Harlan Coben, Mary Kubica, Kimberly Belle, Michael Robotham, and Lisa Gardner with HG's winning signature style.

A special thank you to @parkrowbooks #bookclubbish and @NetGalley for an ARC. Best Christmas gift ever!

I also ordered the hardcover for my home library collection and the audiobook narrated by Brittany Pressley (fab & favorite)!

@JudithDCollins #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (+++)

Pub Date: Jan 25, 2022

About the Author

Heather Gudenkauf is the Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence, These Things Hidden and Not A Sound.

Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. At one month of age, her family returned to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota where her father was employed as a guidance counselor and her mother as a school nurse. At the age of three, her family moved to Iowa, where she grew up. Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing loss (there were many evenings when Heather and her father made a trip to the bus barn to look around the school bus for her hearing aids that she often conveniently would forget on the seat beside her), Heather tended to use books as a retreat, would climb into the toy box that her father’s students from Rosebud made for the family with a pillow, blanket, and flashlight, close the lid, and escape the world around her. Heather became a voracious reader and the seed of becoming a writer was planted.

Heather Gudenkauf graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and continues to work in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator.

Heather lives in Iowa with her family and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading and hiking. She is currently working on her next novel. WEBSITE

Check out my #AuthorElevatorSeries Interview with Heather where we go behind the scenes of BEFORE SHE WAS FOUND and some fun facts about this extraordinary author (and one of my favorites)!







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