I've been a huge fan of Chris Bohjalian's work since I first read Midwives, an Oprah Book Club pick. I have recommended that book to countless people, and have read everything Bohjalian has published since. His work is always something I am anxious to read, and although I enjoy some books more than others, am always happy I have taken the time to read everything by this author.
Guest Room is Bohjalian's newest book, released earlier this week. When I first read the description, I was a little skeptical. A book about an Armenian girl working as a sex slave? It's not like I'm not aware that this type of thing occurs, but I wasn't sure how this was going to work in the story.
The answer is, it worked very well. Despite a premise that I wasn't sure I could believe, I was totally engaged and drawn into this story.
Richard's brother Phillip is getting married, and as a good older brother, he has agreed to hold the bachelor party, hosting it at his house. Phillip's friend, Spencer has arranged the entertainment - some strippers will be coming to the party.
In what is a bizarre turn of events, the two strippers (who do a lot more than stripping) manage to escape from the two men that bring them (and have been holding them captive) and kill them.
Now Richard and his wife Kristin are left dealing with the aftermath of these events. A murder has occurred in their home, leaving them unable to live there while investigators try to determine what occurred. Richard's employers put him on administrative leave. Kristin is left to determine what her husband has done in a moment of bad judgement.
Bohjalian allows readers into Richard's life and also manages to develop Alexandra, the Armenian girl whose life was turned upside down after the deaths of her parents, and who was taken from her small village and forced into a life as a sex slave.
As these two stories unfold and intersect, it is easy to see that what lies ahead is not going to end happily.
Guest Room is Bohjalian at his best. Well developed characters, an interesting premise, and some suspense made it nearly impossible to put this book down.