The Guest Room

By Chris Bohjalian

4 out of 5 stars

Richard Chapman agrees to let his brother’s friends throw him a bachelor party in his home. He expects there will be strippers but nothing can prepare him for what happens next. These are not ordinary strippers. They are young women who have been held captive as sex slaves by Russian mobsters. As the party progresses and things get crazy (various men having sex with the strippers and Richard almost as well), things go terribly wrong. One of the woman gets a knife and kills one of their guards, viciously attacking him in front of everyone. The other guard is shot, no one knowing which girl did it. His home now a crime scene, Richard has to deal with the aftermath, with his work, with his wife and daughter.

The story is also told by Alexandra, the young girl that Richard did not have sex with. Her  real name is Nevart and she talks of her young life, her dreams to be a dancer and how things change when she is taken away by the man that imprisons her and makes her life a living hell. The two girls go on the run after the murders and as the manhunt continues for them and their captors, we head into a climax that will be hard to forget.

This book was riveting. Your heart breaks for these girls who were really just babies when they started working. The matter-of-fact way that Nevart talks about what she does is so sad. And the men! There are some pretty sad cases of manhood in this novel. Richard seeming to be the only one with any decency and yet he has his moments. Can you imagine how it would be if all these things you’ve seen on television or read in the papers about the sex trafficking trade, happened in your own home? Well Chris Bohjalian just laid it out there for you.  I don’t think I have ever been disappointed in a Bohjalian novel yet and this book definitely keeps the streak going.

I happily received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


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