Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A group of strangers find themselves trapped in a remote hotel during a snowstorm, where tension and suspicion rise as one of them turns up dead.


In "An Unwanted Guest" by Shari Lapena, readers are taken on a chilling journey to the secluded Mitchell's Inn, located deep in the Catskill Mountains. As a blizzard rages outside, a group of strangers find themselves trapped in the inn, cut off from the outside world. With no means of communication and a killer among them, tension and suspicion quickly escalate. Lapena weaves a gripping tale of suspense, where everyone is a suspect and trust becomes a precious commodity.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in the winter season at Mitchell's Inn, a remote and luxurious hotel nestled in the mountains. The inn is known for its old-world charm and cozy atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway. However, the tranquility is shattered when a blizzard descends upon the area, leaving the guests and staff stranded.

Among the guests are a diverse group of individuals, each with their own secrets and hidden agendas. There is a married couple, David and Dana, who are trying to mend their struggling relationship. There is also Gwen, a successful author seeking inspiration, and Riley, a young woman who seems to have something to hide. Other characters include a lawyer, a doctor, a former soldier, and the inn's owner and staff.

As the snow piles up and the temperature drops, the tension within the inn rises. Strange occurrences and unexplained deaths begin to plague the guests, leading to a sense of paranoia and fear. With no way to escape and no one to trust, the guests must uncover the identity of the killer before they become the next victim.

Main Events

1-4Introduction of the characters and setting at Mitchell's Inn. The blizzard hits, trapping everyone inside.
5-8The first death occurs, raising suspicion among the guests. The power outage adds to the sense of isolation and fear.
9-12Tensions escalate as secrets are revealed and accusations fly. The guests struggle to determine who they can trust.
13-16More deaths occur, increasing the urgency to find the killer. The remaining guests become more desperate to survive.
17-20The killer's identity is revealed, shocking both the characters and readers. A final confrontation ensues, leading to a deadly showdown.

Main Characters

  1. David and Dana - A married couple trying to work through their marital issues.
  2. Gwen - A successful author seeking inspiration for her next book.
  3. Riley - A mysterious young woman with a secretive past.
  4. Bradley - A lawyer with a penchant for manipulation.
  5. Lauren - A doctor with a calm demeanor and hidden motives.
  6. James and Julia - A former soldier and his wife, struggling with the aftermath of their past.

Themes and Insights

Trust and Deception

Throughout the book, the theme of trust and deception is prominent. As the guests find themselves trapped in the inn, they must navigate a web of lies and hidden agendas. The story explores how trust can be both fragile and easily manipulated, causing suspicion to arise even among those who have known each other for years.

Isolation and Paranoia

The isolated setting of the inn amplifies the sense of paranoia and fear among the characters. Cut off from the outside world, they are forced to confront their own demons and question the motives of those around them. The book delves into the psychological toll of isolation and the ways it can drive people to their breaking point.

Redemption and Forgiveness

Within the backdrop of murder and suspense, "An Unwanted Guest" also explores themes of redemption and forgiveness. As the characters confront their past mistakes and face the consequences of their actions, they are given the opportunity for redemption. The book highlights the power of forgiveness and the potential for growth and change.

Reader's Takeaway

"An Unwanted Guest" is a gripping and suspenseful thriller that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Lapena skillfully weaves a web of intrigue, leaving no character untouched by suspicion. The isolated setting, complex characters, and fast-paced plot make for an engaging read that will leave readers guessing until the very end.


"An Unwanted Guest" is a must-read for fans of psychological thrillers and suspense novels. Shari Lapena masterfully crafts a chilling story that explores the depths of human nature when faced with fear and isolation. With its unpredictable twists and well-developed characters, this book will leave readers captivated and eager for more from this talented author.

An Unwanted Guest FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'An Unwanted Guest'?

    The genre of 'An Unwanted Guest' is a thriller/mystery.

  2. Who is the author of 'An Unwanted Guest'?

    The author of 'An Unwanted Guest' is Shari Lapena.

  3. What is the plot of 'An Unwanted Guest'?

    The plot of 'An Unwanted Guest' revolves around a group of people who become trapped in a secluded mountain hotel during a snowstorm. As they try to survive the harsh weather conditions, they also have to deal with a series of mysterious deaths.

  4. When was 'An Unwanted Guest' published?

    'An Unwanted Guest' was published in August 2018.

  5. Is 'An Unwanted Guest' a standalone novel or part of a series?

    'An Unwanted Guest' is a standalone novel.

  6. Are there any twists or surprises in 'An Unwanted Guest'?

    Yes, 'An Unwanted Guest' is known for its unexpected twists and surprises that keep readers guessing until the end.

  7. What are some similar books to 'An Unwanted Guest'?

    If you enjoyed 'An Unwanted Guest', you might also like 'The Girl on the Train' by Paula Hawkins, 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn, or 'The Woman in Cabin 10' by Ruth Ware.

  8. What is the target audience for 'An Unwanted Guest'?

    'An Unwanted Guest' is targeted towards fans of psychological thrillers and mystery novels.

  9. How long is 'An Unwanted Guest'?

    'An Unwanted Guest' has approximately 320 pages.

  10. Can I find an audiobook version of 'An Unwanted Guest'?

    Yes, 'An Unwanted Guest' is available in audiobook format.