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A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Jennifer McMahon returns following The Winter People, withTHE NIGHT SISTER, a combination of a gripping scary crime mystery thriller, dark secrets, and a twist of ghost, horror and supernatural.
Moving from past to present, we learn of a crime surrounding at the rural mysterious Tower Motel, in London, Vermont.
Amy Piper and Piper’s kid sister Margot played at the motel growing up, stumbling upon a terrible secret. Now Margot and Piper dig into the motel’s past, as they still do not believe Amy was capable of murder. Of course, motels are always scary and a good setting for a book of this nature. (keep thinking Bates Motel).
As the book opens we hear from Amy (2013), she is trying not to think about the thing in the tower; if only she could travel back to talk to the two girls (Rose and Sylvie) and warn them what was coming. Now Amy is alone and out of options. Amy has to make a choice. She thinks back to when she was twelve. Of Piper and Margot, and the day they found the suitcase; and after that nothing was the same. She is out of time. She is preparing to kill herself.
Next we hear from Jason with gunshots and screams from the old Tower Motel. Only 28 rooms. A place where he used to hide out as a child. Three victims. An old photograph of two little girls and across it “29 rooms”. He recalls Amy telling him recently, she is going crazy.
A rather slow even paced tale, an intense puzzle to solve; centered around the three girls. The motel was built by Amy’s grandfather who was from London, England. The motel at one time was nice; however, now run down. Years ago during the summer, the girls discover a suitcase, which led them to dark family secrets.
Now Amy is married with two children and resides at her childhood home with aging grandmother, Charlotte. Piper has her own business in LA, and younger sister Margot is married and expecting her first child with policeman husband Jason (who used to date Amy).
From the 1961 to 1989, to 2013 to a time back in the fifties at the quaint Tower Motel, owned by Charlotte and Clarence Slater in its hey-day. They had two children, Sylvie and Rose. Years later, Rose’s daughter Amy is married and mother of two. There is something fearful – going back to 1989 when Amy becomes friends with the sisters, Piper and Margot. What was the shocking discovery which changed their lives? In 2013 Piper returns to Vermont to help Margot with her pregnancy.
A nice character study of different characters, from childhood dreams, and aspirations; Sylvie who wants to move to Hollywood, and Rose, the younger sister who wants to get away from her older sister, and continues to say her old sister is disappearing in the middle of the night, dark and scary.
As always, McMahon knows how to write creepy,monsters, scary, and mysterious; Crafting a multi-layered, complex emotional family tragedy --giving you just enough to keep you pulled in, as she slowly fills in the gaps. From tangled relationships, to financial hardships, and pressures delving into the dark side from the fifties to 2013, with some Hollywood Hitchcock movie themes, fans will enjoy.