Title: The Never-Opened Desert Diner
Author: James Anderson
Published Date: March 22, 2016 (First published February 15, 2015)
Genre: Mystery, Literary Fiction, Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
I would like to thank Blogging For Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (From Goodreads)
A singularly compelling debut novel, about a desert where people go to escape their past, and a truck driver who finds himself at risk when he falls in love with a mysterious woman.
Ben Jones lives a quiet, hardscrabble life, working as a trucker on Route 117, a little-traveled road in a remote region of the Utah desert which serves as a haven for fugitives and others looking to hide from the world. For many of the desert’s inhabitants, Ben’s visits are their only contact with the outside world, and the only landmark worth noting is a once-famous roadside diner that hasn’t opened in years.
Ben’s routine is turned upside down when he stumbles across a beautiful woman named Claire playing a cello in an abandoned housing development. He can tell that she’s fleeing something in her past — a dark secret that pushed her to the end of the earth — but despite his better judgment he is inexorably drawn to her.
As Ben and Claire fall in love, specters from her past begin to resurface, with serious and life-threatening consequences not only for them both, but for others who have made this desert their sanctuary. Dangerous men come looking for her, and as they turn Route 117 upside down in their search, the long-buried secrets of those who’ve laid claim to this desert come to light, bringing Ben and the other locals into deadly conflict with Claire’s pursuers. Ultimately, the answers they all seek are connected to the desert’s greatest mystery — what reallyhappened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner?
In this unforgettable story of love and loss, Ben learns the enduring truth that some violent crimes renew themselves across generations. At turns funny, heartbreaking and thrilling,The Never-Open Desert Diner powerfully evokes an unforgettable setting and introduces readers to a cast of characters who will linger long after the last page.
When I read the blurb for The Never-Open Desert Diner, I knew it would be something I would enjoy. Quirky, mysterious, thrilling; it was none of these and all of these descriptions.
I am totally and unashamedly in love with this novel. It has been 6 minutes since I finished the book and I STILL have goosebumps, a broken heart, and dried tear tracks.
The story was incredibly intriguing and slow burning. It took a while to really come to the point of the mystery, but that was okay because I was absolutely invested in Ben Jones and his cast of odd customers along the 117 highway. The romance was slightly insta-love but tender and beautiful. The whole mystery was just a bit anticlimactic but that was okay as well, because the story wasn’t about the mystery; it was about Ben and Claire, but mostly Ben and his ragtag of Utah ‘neighbors’ living off the grid.
This is going to down as a classic in my book. I am enamored completely; in fact I kind of want to read it again!
Oh and Whelper is a piece of shit! I needed to get that out!