by Jennifer McMahon
Published by: Random House
Genres: Suspense thriller, Mystery
Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper's kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel's past, something that ruined their friendship forever. Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock's next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.
I have been in the mood for suspenseful reads and The Night Sister with its creepy vibe and paranormal elements/lores was just the perfect fix. Jennifer McMahon brings us to a rural town in Vermont and shares with us a dark, twisted tale after a horrific crime occurs. A suspenseful page-turner, The Night Sister hooked me from page one.
The Night Sister begins at the Tower Motel in a rural town in Vermont where we meet Amy. She is clearly disturbed about something and pulls the shotgun out of the hall closet. From page, one I am riveted, as Amy refers to old childhood friends. A phone call to the local police informs us that something horrific has occurred at the Tower Motel.
The story is told in multiple perspectives and shares events from the past and present.
- Present day: Amy is dead and accused of a horrific crime. In her hands, a photo was found with a short message on the back. Margot and Piper are shocked by the news and it reawakens memories of the summer they found the “suitcase.” Margot and Piper begin to investigate on their own.
- Childhood of Amy, Piper and Margot: We go to the summer Amy, Margot and Piper’s friendship ended. The three of them spent time together at the rundown motel. Skating in the now empty pool, and exploring the forbidden tower. Here they find a hidden suitcase that belonged to Amy’s aunt Sylvie. Amy was told Sylvia ran away to Hollywood and was never heard from again. What does this suitcase mean? McMahon weaves a fascinating story as the girls pepper Amy’s grandmother with questions and explore the motel and home for clues.
- 1950’s: We spend time with Rose, Amy’s mother and her sister Sylvia when the hotel was enjoying its glory days before the interstate cut the life flow to their town. The time spent with the sister’s was creepy. Never have two sisters been more different. We spend most of our time in Rose’s head but we also get to read letters addressed to Alfred Hitchcock from Sylvia.
McMahon beautiful intertwines all of these stories together creating suspense, as she introduced subtle paranormal elements in the form old lores. The story was riveting as I tried to solve the mysteries and did not truly see until the last moment. The multiple perspectives delivered insight while increasing the overall suspense as we the reader begin to weave things together. Chapters broke up the perspectives making the transitions easy for the reader.
The Night Sister was a suspenseful mystery that sinks its teeth into you and keeps the reader guessing. Perfect for fall and one to introduce your book club too.
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