The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson Review

Never-Open-Desert Diner3

Plot According to Goodreads: 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 really happened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner?

My Thoughts: After reading mostly thrillers (which are usually my favorite types of books) I was in the mood for something a bit different. This book was definitely unique. It possessed a literary feel with some mystery as well as a bit of romance. Set in the isolated desert in Utah, the author was gifted at transporting the reader to another place.

The characters in this book were extremely well developed. They each had many facets and felt very real. The reader rides with Ben, an independent truck driver, who delivers to people on Route 117, in the desert of Utah. The people who live on this stretch of road are colorful, eccentric characters.

The plot was a bit muddy. If I were to describe this book to someone, it would take a while to explain what it’s about. The story started out strong but seemed to weaken over time. The romance was extremely rushed and felt like insta-love. I wasn’t convinced by the romance, it didn’t feel genuine. The characters that were “so in love” didn’t seem to have chemistry other than the sexual variety. I think this book would have been better, had the story focused on some of the side characters, who were more interesting to me than the characters that were the main focus.

The book was good, I enjoyed the setting and characters as well as the uniqueness, but I didn’t love the plot.

My rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


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