Wednesday, January 6, 2016

THE GUEST ROOM by Chris Bohjalian Audio Edition

    Chris Bohjalian is deft at turning out topnotch novels, New York Times best sellers, Oprah’s Book Club selections, and he does it again with The Guest Room.  Adding luster to this riveting tale are two sterling narrators - Mozhan Marno and Grace Experience.  Light a fire, pour a toddy and sit back for a surprising crime thriller.

    With The Guest Room we’re reminded of how easily what began as an evening of revelry can turn into a dark night of terror.  A middle-aged banker with a Manhattan firm, Richard Chapman, decides to host a bachelor party at his Bronxville home for his younger brother, Philip, who manages a boutique hotel in Chelsea.  Expecting there may be a bit of rowdiness Richard has dispatched his wife, Kristin, and their 9-year-old daughter to his mother-in-law’s for the weekend.  Understanding as always Kristin is glad to be out of the way of the impending shenanigans.
    While Richard did anticipate free flowing liquor and a stripper, he never dreamed that Philip’s friends would have arranged for two very young Russian girls and their thug-like body guards.  When the men begin taking turns with one of the girls, Sonja, the other girl, Alexandra, takes Richard to the guest room where we learn in alternating narratives the story of Richard’s family and the horrific chronicle of Alexandra’s enslavement.  She was a talented dancer and after her mother died a trusted friend arranged for her to go to Moscow ostensibly for a ballet audition - not so.  Once there she is raped and trafficked until she, Sonja, and another girl, Crystal, are moved to New York.  Once there Crystal is murdered by the body guards.  Sonja knows this, so when the opportunity arises she takes one of Kristin’s knives and stabs one of the bodyguards while the other is shot in the ensuing melee.  The girls escape.

    And, what is to become of our erstwhile host?  His once lovely home is now a crime scene, his firm placed him on indefinite leave and Kristin doesn’t take at all kindly to the time he spent with a young girl in their guest room.  Hold on, there’s more to come - Alexandra is in great danger as she hides from the police who she believes will arrest her and the gangsters she knows will kill her.

    Bohjalian leaves nothing out in this riveting story of love and violence.

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