Short Take: “The Sleep Tight Motel,” Lisa Unger

Pros: Vivid, melancholy, and beautiful
Rating: 5 out of 5

Lisa Unger’s novella The Sleep Tight Motel (Dark Corners collection) is hauntingly beautiful. Eve is on the run from her abusive boyfriend Erik after unwillingly helping him to rob her place of business. She pulls over at the Sleep Tight Motel, where the sweet proprietor, Drew, makes her a lovely breakfast, offers to talk, and gently encourages her to stop and rest. When she tries to run–both from the police and from Erik–her car refuses to start, and Drew’s unable to get it to run. She knows Erik isn’t far behind her, but she’s just so tired…

The other Dark Corners collection novellas I’ve been reading are mostly horror; this volume is more of a melancholy paranormal with a vein of horror running through it. It’s absolutely lovely and sad. It explores all of the different emotions that can make a certain kind of bad relationship seem so difficult to leave. It doesn’t make things simple or easy. The story of Eve and the odd little motel is vivid and clearly drawn, and I was riveted to the page. The characters have so much depth in just a small space. This is a rather short tale and I don’t want to ruin anything for you, so I’ll just say that I think this is a lovely tale that’s well worth reading.

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