The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson// Review

Never-Open-Desert Diner3

The Never-Open Desert Diner by James Anderson

Published by Crown on February  22nd, 2016. 

Genre(s): An adult mystery.

My Format and Page Count: Hardcover// 293 Pages. 

Buy The Never-Open Desert Diner on Amazon!

“Maybe it was being orphaned and alone all my life, but I always steeled for the worst outcome I could envision. That way I could shrug and be almost happy with anything that fell short of the worst. It was a peculiar life skill and one I had gotten damn good at.”


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?

In this unforgettable story of love and loss, Ben learns the enduring truth that some violent crimes renew themselves across generations. At turns funny, heartbreaking and thrilling,The Never-Open Desert Diner powerfully evokes an unforgettable setting and introduces readers to a cast of characters who will linger long after the last page.

My Review:

When I received this book I was not expecting to like it as much as I did, so I was genuinely surprised by how good it was. I have never read anything like it before. I tend to stick to YA fiction, but this adult novel made me want more not only from James Anderson, but from the genre as a whole. 

I received a copy of The Never-Open Desert Diner from for review.


  • The Characters: My favorite part of this book was no doubt the characters. There was such an interesting array of characters, and not one of them were similar. Our main character, Ben, was put together beautifully, and I really enjoyed him. Claire was a puzzle you had to put together throughout the novel, and  loved it. I will have to say my favorite character was definitely Ginny. I loved the fact that Anderson took a pregnant teenager and made her actually try at life. I would enjoy a follow-up novel following her!
  • The Romance: The romance in this book was cute. There were mature scenes, so only read if you can handle it.
  • The Plot: I enjoyed that the book was not just one main plot, but it followed multiple throughout. It managed all plot lines excellently, and it never became too much. It is rare to find a book that can do that.
  • The Setting: I was weary about reading a book almost completely set in the desert, but the setting made it all the much better. All of the characters throughout the desert, and the places made it one of a kind. It would be amazing to visit the desert and route 117 again!


  • The Romance: Yes, I know I put this into pros. There was one aspect that i had to add down here, and that was the insta-love. Never a fan, and this was not an exception.
  • Plot PIECES: There was one aspect in the plot that I can not mention due to spoiler. It is the reason for my ranking, honestly.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars.

Reason For My Rating: The one aspect of the plot that I can not mention due to spoilers knocked it down .5 stars. Some people may enjoy it, but I thought it was not necessary, and impacted a major part of the book.

I do recommend this book to YA readers looking to start reading adult. It is a good start for your adult adventures! 

Once again, I received a review copy from

James Andersons Website!

Have you read The Never-Open Desert Diner? What were your thoughts?


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