The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson
Published by: Crown on March 22, 2016 (2nd edition)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
Ben Jones lives a quiet life, content as the delivery driver on Route 117, a remote highway in the middle of the Utah desert. There’s not much to see or do on the route. Though there is an old diner, a place that used to be bustling with activity but now sits empty. Owned by Walt, a resident recluse, it provides the main landmark and only real character on Ben’s route.
But everything changes when Ben stumbles across Claire, a beautiful woman who is squatting in a nearby home. She’s different and she’s intriguing. And it doesn’t take long for Ben to start falling for the mysterious Claire, even when he knows he shouldn’t.
A number of other strange things start happening not long after Claire’s arrival. Ben is followed by a woman he’s never seen before. He’s asked to take part in a reality television show. And he’s warned that the police might be looking into him. So much for Ben’s uneventful life…
As Ben learns more about Claire and her history, things slowly start to fall into place. But there just might be more to the story than he could ever piece together on his own.
Every once in a while, I feel the need to change up what I read. And that’s where this literary mystery comes in. It’s not quite crime fiction–which is where the mysteries I read tend to live–but there is a crime involved. There’s a strong narrative here, and a good arc for Ben and some of the other characters. It’s not one where you’ll feel compelled to keep guessing, but there are some twists and surprises that creep up along the way.
If you’re a fan of literary fiction with a dash of mystery, then this one is probably right up your alley.[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]