Richard Chapman is hosting a bachelor party for his younger brother, Philip, in his upscale Bronxeville home while his wife and young daughter spend the night in city with his mother-in-law. The bachelor party is as you would expect, full of drunken debauchery and of course strippers. The strippers arrived with two bodyguards and the reason why is obvious, they are protecting their investment. The young Eastern European women are flawless in every way and although they are very young in appearance, it is obvious that they are very old souls. The night takes a horrific twist when the strippers turn on their bodyguards and kill them and then take off into the dark night. Richard's storybook life is completely shattered. His home is deemed off limits by the cops, his company has suspended him indefinitely, and he has destroyed his wife's trust in him. In one night Richard is removed from his storybook life and thrust into the middle of a dark underworld full of Russian mobsters, and sex slaves. Will his wife ever forgive him or has he Richard destroyed his marriage? Will the police find the women from that night before the Russian mob does and what will happen if they are found?
The Guest Room starts with a perfectly innocuous bachelor party, but quickly devolves into a nightmare. Even though Philip is a giant asshole, Richard seems like a pretty upstanding kind of guy, likable even, and the way things go down is completely shocking. When he tells his story you find yourself liking, even envying, the life he has with his amazing wife. It only took one questionable decision to completely destroy his life. The chapters alternate perspectives and you get to meet Alexandra, one of the women from the party. For as charmed as Richard's life has been, her story is one that nightmares are made of and it will rock you to your core. So much that you may actually be able to forgive her actions from that night. She is just trying to survive and fears that she is in mortal danger for her part in what happened that night. Alexandra finds her way back to the scene of the crime and that is when the bad stuff really happens. I was so shocked by the last few pages that I am still thinking about what happened. Without giving anything away, you will be shocked.
Bottom line - Chris Bohjalian has written a gripping story about a dark truth that many of us are oblivious to - human trafficking. The Guest Room is a haunting tale that will haunt your mind and heart for quite some time.
- The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
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- Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
- Publication Date: 1/5/2016
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