The Guest Room

Finished The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

Chris Bohjalian is one of my absolute favorite novelists.  I love the fact that his books are consistently amazing, but  they’re also all different.

This is a thriller, of sorts.  We don’t know exactly what happened the night of the bachelor party, but we do know that two women are on the run and two men are dead.  And we know that Richard’s house is a crime scene and rooms are essentially covered in blood.

We learn that the women on the run were captives, victims of human trafficking.  From that, of course, we know that they’re not safe.  (And we don’t necessarily feel sorry for the people who are dead.)

This is a book that I know will stick with me for a long, long time.  It’s brutal but never gratuitous.  I learned a lot about human trafficking from this novel.  I knew what it was before, of course, and I knew how horrible it was, but I wasn’t entirely sure exactly how it happened or how women could essentially vanish.  This explained it very well.  Probably too well.

This is another excellent book by Chris Bohjalian, possibly my new favorite of his.

Highly recommended.



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