Horror and suspense stories thrive in rundown, isolated motels. A protagonist’s mind is filled with dread while a foreboding soundtrack of floorboard creaks and hallway whispers plays in the background. The phrase “Do Not Disturb” fits perfectly into these categories.
“Do Not Disturb,” by Freida McFadden, is a psychological thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Bestseller author James McFadden excels at writing solo suspense novels like this one.
Quinn Alexander, afraid of being caught and spending the rest of her life behind bars, runs for the Canadian border before the authorities can figure out what crime she did. Snow delays her plans, so she stays at the rundown, lonely Baxter Motel. Nick Baxter, the proprietor, immediately offers her shelter from the storm, unaware of the history that precedes Alexander.
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The Baxter Motel, however, has its own sinister history. There are only three rooms available, and one of them is occupied by an elderly fortune teller who has posted a “do not disturb” notice on the doorway. Behind the welcoming motel is an abandoned house where Baxter’s wife can be seen lurking through the window.
In order to get out of the motel in the morning, Alexander needs to make it through the night. She has to figure out if she has found a safe haven or has gone straight into her own death.
This novel jumps right into the action. Even as I neared the finish of this fast-paced work, there were still plot twists I didn’t see coming. I was blown away by the creativity of this novel and its ability to maintain its “whodunit” mystery element.
The mystery of the Baxter Motel and Alexander’s family provided just the right amount of tension to complement the story’s intriguing idea and set the stage for the multifaceted characters. McFadden crafted narrators who the reader had to decide whether or not they could trust.
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Alexander’s sister Claudia, Baxter, and Baxter’s wife all contribute to the book’s narrative at various points. This was a great addition to the novel, and I’m glad it was included. It shed light on the characters and the circumstances that led them to where they are now.
The story’s alternating points of view keep readers guessing about the circumstances that led Alexander to commit her crime and begin her life on the run.
McFadden’s writing style was straightforward without being simplistic. The authors’ predictable and simplistic style is typical of short works. McFadden has written a page-turner that is both a fun story and a genuine suspense story.
Although I haven’t seen the show “Bates Motel,” I’ve heard that this book is similar. From what I can tell, both the program and this book are based on the notion of a murder occurring at a motel, with the reader left in suspense as to who committed the crime and why.
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These elements, along with “The Woman in the Window” conceit, give this book the makings of a fantastic suspense story. The constant suspense and mystery added by Baxter’s wife peering through the window heightens the horror of the story.
This is the first book I’ve ever read on a Kindle instead of a paper copy. Without a paper copy, I worried it would be difficult to remember what I read. This book, however, did not present that difficulty, and I quite liked reading it in this medium. This, in my opinion, is one of the reasons why the book is so simple to read and can be enjoyed virtually anywhere.
Four out of five stars from me for this one. I enjoyed McFadden’s writing style, and this book helped me break the thriller reading binge I’d gotten myself into. I plan to read more by this author, and I hope to like her future works as much as I enjoyed this one.
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