The Guest Room; Chris Bohjalian
Doubleday - 2016
The Guest Room is a story about how bad designs can turn the lives of people upside down.
Richard Chapman is a family man from a lovely NYC suburb. He's an investment banker with a lovely wife (Kristin) and a nine-year-old daughter, Melissa. When Richard's brother, Phillip, decides to get married, Richard convinces his wife to let him use their Westchester home for the bachelor party. While Kristin and Melissa head to her mother's for the evening, the party is about to begin.
Strippers with bodyguards are not what Richard was expecting and before the evening is over (2) people are dead. The strippers turn out to be sex slaves from Armenia and are now on the run while Richard and his family are left to deal with the mayhem which ensued. Richard's career and family life have fallen apart at the seams. How could things have gone so wrong so fast? Can the Chapman's marriage be saved?
The story is told from alternating POV by Richard, Kristin, Alexandra (one of the sex-slaves) and occasionally by Phillip and daughter Melissa. All of the action happens in the first few pages with the remainder of the novel dealing with the aftermath of what has occurred. Alexandria's story is very compelling and at times heart-wrenching. She comes across as a victim and a very sympathetic character. The characters are well-developed with a few coming across as quite despicable. The nine-year-old daughter came across as a bit too mature at times (but in fairness, it's been many years since I've raised a nine-year-old). The story is a fast-paced romp on the darker side of life.Another winner by a favorite author of mine.