The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

September 4th, 2015 Kimberly Review 32 Comments

4th Sep
The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon
The Night Sister
by Jennifer McMahon
Genres: Suspense Thriller, Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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.

Photo of kimbacaffeinate
About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

32 Responses to “The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon”

  1. Heather B

    I have this audiobook on hold on my library. I just finished listening to her book The Winter People, which was so creepy and atmospheric. She’s such a great writer.

  2. laura thomas

    I always enjoy it when the story is shared in different time periods. This sounds like a thrilling suspense and I’m all over that genre. Love that cover too. I wonder who she’s running from and if that scene is depicted in the book. Great review, as always:)

  3. Rita

    I read this awhile back and really enjoyed it; it turned out to be totally different than I had thought it to be, and if I had known more maybe wouldn’t have picked it up and thus not got the pleasure of reading it. I’ve read most of the author’s books and they are all over the map for me ratings-wise, based on the actual plots, not her writing skill. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Christine

    I LOVED The Winter People and can’t wait to read this one! I even have a copy already — I definitely need to pick it up soon 🙂

  5. Sophia

    I’m a little peeved on the whole multiple perspectives part, but I do love how this one kept you guessing, Kimba (I sometimes swear I’m too good at guessing)! ^_^

  6. Debbie Haupt

    Great review Kim. I’ve heard a lot about this author. I love how you said she intertwined all the stories together. That always makes the read more enjoyable to me when there’s more than one string to a novel theme.
    I want this one too!

  7. Heidi

    Oh this sounds like one I could sink my teeth into. I have been on a bit of a suspenseful kick this summer. I will add this to my wish list.

  8. Amber Elise

    Ooo so the book doesn’t start present day? I must say, that opening definitely has me wanting to know more! Thanks Kim! I’m trying to get my Halloween queue up, and this one definitely made the cut!

  9. Ramona

    Oh, I must absolutely read this one. It sounds wonderfully atmospheric and unusual and definitely worth my time. You always pick the most interesting books, Kimba 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!

  10. Stormi

    This sounds right up my alley. I have this one on my wishlist after hearing it was good from another blogger, now I really want it. 🙂

  11. Braine Talk Supe

    I like the past-present format. Adds to the puzzle and suspense. Also, Vermont is a good backdrop for this, to me anyways.

    Enjoy the long weekend!

  12. kindlemom1

    I have been devouring these type of reads lately. It seems like I can’t get enough of them. I think I would really love this and I definitely need to go check Amazon for it now. 🙂

  13. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I do love the sound of this one…I have only read one book by this author, and it wasn’t a favorite read for me (Dismantled), but I’m willing to give her another try. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Jenny

    This sounds a little tricky with all the different POVs and jumps in time, but it’s obviously handled really well or you wouldn’t have given it such a high rating! I love a book that starts out strong and never lets up, it’s sometimes fun to have no real lead in and instead just hit the ground running with the characters:)

  15. Nick

    Ooh a historical mystery book? This sounds fantastic. I like that it was so suspenseful for you.

  16. Lisa

    This cover is so creepy! I love reading great mysteries in the Fall around Halloween, so maybe I’ll have to add this one to my list. 🙂 Great review!

  17. Kristin

    Creepy! But Amy is dead!!!! What is up with that?!?! Fantastic point about the chapter breaks making the multiple perspectives and time shifts easier to read. Usually those types of books are very daunting!!!!

    And this does sound like a fabulous book club read – perfect middle of the road choice for next month 🙂

  18. Rosa

    I love suspense and horror novels, so this sounds like a great read for me. And the cover is awesome!

  19. Jeann

    Oooh the suspenseful twists in this one definitely sound like they kept you guessing Kimba! Lovely review!

  20. Melliane

    I always love that when we have different periods in a book like that. Plus it’s great to have a creepy book and this one looks also very interesting. It’s the first time I hear about it so thank you.