The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian [in Library Journal]
Richard Chapman – husband, father, businessman – hosts a bachelor party in his Westchester, NY, home for his younger brother. Two strippers are hired to provide the expected entertainment, until the debauchery ends abruptly when the girls murder their bodyguards and flee. Richard must not only tell his wife about the violence, but what he himself did in the titular ‘guest room’ with Alexandra, one of the girls now on the run.
While Richard’s respectable, stalwart life collapses, Alexandra’s heinous existence as a sex slave is revealed. “Tell me, who’s worse?” she demands. “Someone who sells a young girl or someone who buys her?” Chris Bohjalian’s 18th title eschews easy judgments.
The narration alternates between Mozhan Marno’s rich, mature voice and Grace Experience’s youthful, breathy one. Experience, who is Bohjalian’s daughter, imbues Alexandra’s not-quite-fluent English with a vague, not-quite-definable Eastern European accent that underscores her desperate, drifting situation.
Verdict: Loyal listeners who have already made Bohjalian (The Sandcastle Girls) a mega-best-selling author will doubtless flock to his Guest Room.