The Never-Open Desert Diner, by James Anderson

desert diner
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Crown Publishing.)


James Anderson was born in Seattle and raised in the Pacific Northwest. He has worked in publishing, logging, and commercial fishing. The Never-Open Desert Diner is his debut novel.

Ben jones lives a simple life. He’s a truck driver, working Route 117 in a remote area of Utah, where most of the residents want to live off-grid and disappear from the world. Ben is barely scraping by, on the verge of losing his truck and his business, as well as the service he provides for the reclusive inhabitants of 117.

Then one day, Ben sees a woman named Claire playing the cello in an abandoned house off 117, and his entire world changes. Strangers appear on 117:  a woman who’s a little too polished for his neck of the woods, a reality television producer who wants to ride along with Ben. A friend of his turns up missing. Something is going on around Route 117, and Ben needs to find out what it is before someone gets hurt. Then there’s Walt Butterfield, owner of the Well-Known Desert Diner, which hasn’t opened in years. Walt knows more about what’s going on than he’s letting on, and Ben is determined to find out what it is, no matter what.

The Never-Open Desert Diner is a mystery novel, but the real focus is the quirky, unforgettable characters that live on the pages. Ben’s “boring” life merely serves as a foil for the vivid people that inhabit this desolate patch of desert.

(Galley provided by Crown Publishing via NetGalley.)

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