Midnight At Ripley Inn by Stephanie Beck

RIPLEY
Midnight At Ripley Inn by Stephanie Beck
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (159 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A family vacation becomes more than a mother’s worst nightmare.

Rene only wanted to temper her mommy guilt with a nice family vacation to the coast. Waking up to a room covered in blood and her youngest child biting herself never entered her plans. With her seven-year-old trying to hurt the ones around her and no way off the island, Rene and her husband rely on the help of the locals.

While storms rage on, both outside and inside the Ripley Inn, Rene must decide whether to trust the kind island pastor, or the ghost trapped inside the walls of the hotel. One claims to want to help them, the other wants them gone before what’s inside Rene’s daughter bursts free and kills them all.

It’s hard to trust someone you’ve just met, but that’s exactly what Rene must do to save her family.

The fast pace kept me glued to this novel from beginning to end. Ms. Beck knows how to pack quite a bit of action into a short period of time, and while I was able to anticipate many of the plot twists in advance I really enjoyed seeing how certain surprises were so tightly woven into what was already occurring.

This is a heavily plot-based novel and the consequences of that focus show up as the story progresses. It was a little difficult for me to get to know these characters as individuals because so much time was spent focusing on solving the mystery. I would have liked to spend a few more scenes exploring their personalities before all of the strange things that occur at the Ripley Inn start disrupting their lives.

I also some trouble determining when this story is supposed to be set. Due to lack of cell phones, computers, or other portable electronic devices I originally assume it happened before the late 1980s or early 1990s. The true time period is eventually revealed, but I still have questions about certain clues that showed up early on in this piece. What I learned was intriguing, and I would have really liked to see a more thorough exploration of this topic.

Slowly decaying buildings can’t help but to be a little gloomy. The descriptions of what it feels like to visit what was once a popular and well-maintained hotel add a subtle sense of dread to this story. Nowhere is this more true than in the opening scene of this tale, and I can’t imagine a more satisfying way to introduce the reader to this particular group of characters.

Midnight At Ripley Inn kept me on my toes. This is a good choice for anyone in the mood for a truly scary mystery.

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